This time of year is full of anniversaries. Exactly 10 years ago, as Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, my girl Lei was first diagnosed with moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Lei got her first CI in early October last year. And next year at this time we’ll remember that just after Labor Day, 2015, her left implant failed. Then her right implant.
That’s right. Lei now has no working CIs.
Last Thursday she complained that her left ear was giving her a lot of static. So I did all the troubleshooting one does with a CI: swapping out parts, then when that didn’t help, I tried the backup processor.
“No change,” she told me.
Friday afternoon I took her to the implant audiologist who confirmed my fear. The problem is with her left implant.
Saturday, wearing her waterproof right processor because of the morning’s pouring rain, Lei marched in her first parade as a JROTC cadet. My husband leads that program and it was a very proud day for us. Sunday was their second parade together. After she got home Sunday, Lei said her regular processor (not the waterproof one) was cutting in and out a lot. She said the same had happened a couple of times the previous day. With the other processors.
If it’s an equipment problem, it should only happen with one processor, not both.
Today I took her in to see the audiologist again. The cutting in and out was happening about every three to five seconds. The audiologist tested all the equipment and all the programs, but couldn’t fix it.
Looks like the right implant is on the fritz, too.
So we will be meeting with the clinical team a week from today to see if they can fix it or if Lei will need to have surgery to replace the implants.
That’s a week she’ll go without any amplification. Fortunately she understands my signing, but (and this is no great reflection on my signing) other people’s signing is a complete mystery to her. So an interpreter won’t do (she insists).
We have to figure out what we’re going to do about her school. I hate for her to miss because she has no communication access at school. Lei is understandably upset at being cast into total silence. She can’t understand her friends talking to her at all. She said she feels like she’s in a bubble where no sound can reach her.
I’ll post more after next week, but it seems that my family is once again receiving the gift of a character builder. Wish us luck along the way.