It was one of those days that we expected to be like many others at our children’s hospital. We went to do a few routine procedures that required anesthesia. A few days before the procedures, our doctor decided to throw in a hearing test just to be sure my daughter’s hearing was normal. I was so nervous about the other things that the hearing test wasn’t even on my mind.
The procedures had lasted more than an hour longer than estimated and I felt my eyes gaze at the clock, my foot was tapping against the waiting room table and my heart rate was going up each passing minute.
Finally, our surgeon came out and asked me to follow him to a private room. That room is not where you want to be when you are waiting for your child during a procedure. It’s where bad news is shared, where you can privately hear a diagnosis and where they have carefully placed a box of tissues. Because you will need them. I felt the tears starting to well up as our doctor, without delay, said that my daughter had “profound hearing loss”. She was deaf. My mind raced as I remembered so many instances that I knew she could hear us. She loves Jazz, she loves my lullabies and she definitely loves our voices.
How could I have been so wrong? Learning the diagnosis was difficult, but nothing changed for her. The world around her was exactly the same, but now we knew. And once we knew, we could start a whole new journey with her.
We already used sign language but we learned more together. We trialed hearing aides but they did not amplify sound enough for her to hear. Then we made the decision to pursue a cochlear implant after researching the benefits and the risks of the procedure.
After the surgery and time for healing, it was time for activation. As we were sitting in the room with our audiologist, I remembered the day I sat in the small room of our children’s hospital and learned the diagnosis. Nearly a year had passed and our grief had turned into a great anticipation. Once again, her future looked bright.
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