It has been a rough week for us! Henry went to Cook Children's Hospital on Wednesday to have his ABR hearing test and CT scan of his auditory canal performed. Because of the duration of these tests, he had to undergo general anesthesia and be intubated. In retrospect, I was more nervous about all of this than I realized at the time. He could not eat or drink (except water or juice) all that morning, which for a little eater like Henry was torture! My mom went with us to the hospital and we arrived at 11:00, and waited around until 3:00 when they were ready to start his tests. You can imagine what state he was in by 3:00, not having eaten or napped like he usually does. I was feeling very frustrated trying to keep him entertained in the small pre-anesthesia room. By the time they came to get him, I was DONE (and so was he). However, all of my frustrations melted away when I saw my sweet baby boy on the table being put to sleep. Even though he wasn't having surgery or anything invasive done, I was still emotional about the situation. He did great, though! I expected him to wake up screaming, but he was sweetly drinking a bottle of apple juice when I saw him in recovery. I held my wobbly boy as they took out his IV and gushed over how cute he is.
On Friday, we went back to the ENT to discuss the results of the hearing test and CT scan. The news is very good!! Henry has normal hearing on his left side (the unaffected ear)...good hearing actually! There is no way to know what he's really hearing on his right side since the canal is completely closed, but the potential to hear is there. The audiologist compared it to having an ear plug. Probably some sound is getting through now, but not much. The doctor said that the CT scan shows that Henry is a good candidate for the surgery to create an ear canal so that he can use his right ear. He will have that surgery when he is around 4 or 5, depending on his size and development. Also, around then, he will have reconstructive ear surgery with a plastic surgeon. The ENT we go to is in a partnership with a facial plastic surgeon and they will collaborate on the surgeries. We will have our first appointment with the plastic surgeon next month to get an idea of what Henry's future surgery plan will be.
Our ENT does still recommend that Henry wear a hearing aid on his right side, despite having normal hearing in one ear. Both he and the audiologist explained that the main importance of having 2 functioning ears is to locate where sound is coming from and being able to distinguish conversation from background noise. He said that Henry would not have to wear the hearing aid all of the time-- just during important learning situations or when we are in noisy places. I will say that I've noticed that I have to make Henry look at me to get his attention in a loud place.
How does a kid who has no ear canal and a misshapen outer ear wear a hearing aid, you might wonder? Well, he will wear a hearing aid that conducts sound through the bone on a nifty little headband, that's how! Soon, we will be headed back to Cook Children's to get one of these Baha hearing aids on a headband. http://products.cochlearamericas.com/baha/baha-sound-processors-and-implants/baha-for-children Don't worry. There are several headband colors. Henry will not be stuck with a pink one! Once Henry has his ear canal surgery, he should not have to wear a hearing aid ever again.
Here are some cute pictures to make up for all of the reading you just did!
Waiting to see the doctor. He looks like he's ready for a fight!
Too bad this is a bit blurry. He looks so cute all dressed up for church!
I love this one! He looks like such a big boy!
This is his new favorite face to make. It's like he's trying to smell his upper lip. (shaking head)