Can you hear me now?
Motherhood is full of gifts, some obvious and in-your-face, and others not so much. One of the more subtle ones, I think, has to do with a mother's intuition. You know, that funny, inexplicable feeling that we, as mothers, have about our children...often with regard to their well-being. It's one of those feelings that might appear, on its surface, to only be available to the biological mom who has the unspoken connection that comes from carrying a child for 9 months. I'm learning, as I go, however; that this gift crosses the adoption barrier with ease and surely by God's grace, allows we adoptive mothers to tune-in to our adopted children in the same way.
In late April, Baby T was seen for an ear infection and given 2 weeks of antibiotic therapy. At his follow-up appointment, his ear infection had not resolved and had actually worsened. He was given another 2 week course of antibiotic therapy and was referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. He was seen at the end of May by the specialist who found both ears to be infected still. After reviewing his situation, and at the advice of the specialist, we have scheduled him for the placement of Pressure Equilization Tubes in both ears during the first week of June. This procedure will allow the fluid to drain out of the ears and promote the healing of the lining of the middle ear. In addition to alleviating his ear pain from the chronic infections, it will also allow for the appropriate hearing necessary for speech and language development.
End of story, right? Not by a long shot.
After a number of times, where I thought to myself H's speaking volume is, at times, quite loud. Upon talking to her, I learned that she remembered some ear troubles of her own as a child, which were treated with onion (rubbed on the outer part of her affected ear). I put aside the thought for a while, but it kept popping up again and again. So, standing in the ENT's office, I thought, I may as well ask about having her evaluated. He said, "Of course," and arranged to see her just 2 days later (can you imagine a specialist with that short a wait time!)
So, at our request, we also had H’s ears and hearing evaluated. I watched as the doctor removed a considerable wax build-up from both ears and, smiled to myself as H sat up and remarked how much louder everything sounded! Thinking that we would just finish up quickly with the hearing screening, we moved to the next room for the audiogram. If you've never seen this test performed before, the patient sits in an enclosed sound-proof room with a window to see the audiologist. As I was concerned that testing environment might cause her anxiety, I asked and was allowed to sit with her on my lap inside the testing "box". A headset was placed on her and the instruction to raise your hand when you hear the beep was given. As I sat in the box, listening to the ever increasing volume of beeps (yes, even I could hear them) and staring at H's hand in her lap, I began to suspect we had trouble. My suspicion was confirmed when we emerged from the booth and the audiologist asked H to show her which ear she used to talk on the telephone. She held an *imaginary* phone up to her left ear, and I questioned her to make certain she understood what was being asked, "You use the other ear to talk on the phone sometimes, right?" She looked at me and shook her head. The audiologist spoke, "I'm not surprised," she said, "her left ear is fine, but she has profound hearing loss in her right ear." We are currently investigating which, if any, therapies are appropriate for her at this time. Some that are available were not recommended based on her present age and might be more appropriate as she gets older, but we did leave with a laundry list of accomodations to help her teacher during classroom instruction (but that's a post for another day).
So, we now have a child who is learning English and is basically deaf in one ear, and it's a gift.
It's a gift because together, as parent and child, we read each others unspoken language and discovered this; and, as parent and child, we'll work through it together learning from each other as we go.