Monday, November 27, 2006

Great Quotes

I have been meaning to do this for awhile, and I haven't really had a minute until now. Over the past few months, I have read so many great quotes that have really resonated with me. I want to try and remember them all, so I think this Blog is as good a place as any to list them. If readers have any that they would like to add, just put them in a comment and I'll add to the list! As for my own list, I will keep adding to it myself.

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on my life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past ... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our attitudes." Charles Swindoll

"What I've learned in good times I can fit on the head of a pin" C.S. Lewis

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbour ... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of Bod's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting" Mother Teresa

On Flossing (:>): "If you are pressed for time, here's a tip for you: only floss those teeth that you would like to keep" Dr. Oz

Friday, November 24, 2006

November 24 - Four Days Post Switch On

Well, they said it would happen - and it did! This morning when we put Aiden's implant on, there was no crying! In fact, he did so well that I thought we should try changing his settings to Map 3 instead of waiting for the weekend. So we did, and again he did great!! I almost went to Map 4, but I decided not to push my luck. Maybe tomorrow :>

Great responses to sound today. We notice him responding the most when he is in his booster seat at the table. I wait for him to look away or down and then either clap or make one of his "learning to listen" sounds - and right away he looks up! Of course we clap and cheer and get all excited. He seems to think this is a fun game.

One of his "learning to listen" sounds is of an airplane (ahhh, ahhh, ahhh - not your typical airplane sound, but the one we are supposed to do with this therapy). Today, after I did the sound, I handed the airplane to Aiden and he flew it around and made the ahh, ahhh, ahhh sound!!! Coincidence? Maybe, but I gave him lots of encouragement none the less.

Noah again is great with him today. He wants to do listening sounds with Aiden as well, and has invented a few of his own. Who knew that "dig, dig, dig" was the listening sound that a bulldozer made? :>

The ear level microphone is staying on better today. Still not GREAT, but better. We are using the little "huggie" that holds it on and that seems to work a bit better. I'm still looking forward to Ric bringing the ear mold to try that trick out. He's planning to come either today or early tomorrow.

There is such amazing weather here in Ottawa today that it's hard to beleive we're into late November - and almost a month away from Christmas. I think it must be 10 degrees. This has allowed us to go to the park and out for walks, so that helps keep us busy. I'm missing the "break" that I got by going to work a bit today. At least it is fun to point out everything to Aiden and tell him the words for lots of objects. I'm sure that will keep me entertained for another couple days, weeks, years - whatever :> :>

Actually, when the kids wake up (yes, both sleeping at once!!!) I think we will head to Starbucks (thank your for that break Cheryl!!!) for a drink and to Chapters to check out what books they have in stock that contain some "learing to listen" sounds for Aiden. Until tomorrow....

November 22 - Two Days Post Switch On

10:00 am: Again, Aiden's Implant went of first thing this morning when he got up. In fact, this is going so well, I'm not even going to say that anymore - the implant goes on when he gets up and only comes off in the car and when he sleeps. Again, there was a bit of crying first thing, even on volume one of Map 1, but it didn't last more than a couple of seconds before we were able to distract him.

The rest of the morning was a bit frusterating. Keeping the ear level micorphone on is a real challenge. Every time Aiden moves his head a bit too fast - off it comes, and pulls the magnetic coil off with it. Plus, we don't seem to notice too many reactions to sounds. We know that, although he HEARS sounds now, he doesn't UNDERSTAND them, but I thought there would be more clear reactions.

9:00 pm: We had our first "post switch on" follow up appointment at CHEO at 2:15 today - and it went really, really well!!! Despite the fact that Aiden would rather make the "hallway circle" through the Audiology Department than sit down and have a therapy session, he did great!

It wasn't too long that we were there before both his Audiologist and AV Therapist agreed that the ear level microphone was as irritating as I thought it was earlier (glad to know I'm not the only one!!). The problem seems to be that the cartilage in Aiden's ear isn't finished forming - and so his ear isn't firm enough to hold the device. Secondly, there is still a lot of muscle compacting behind his ear from the surgery which is making his ear stick out more than it will eventually - and that makes it hard to hold the microphone as well.

They had a couple of ideas on how to fix the problem. The first was double sided wig tape. However, because the skin behind his ear is still thin from the surgery, we can't try this solution out yet. The second was to attach his hearing aid mold to the microphone - and us this to kind of "secure it" into his ear. Ric is coming to Ottawa on Friday, so I'll have him bring the mold and we'll try this out.

To be honest, I am starting to wonder whether the implant that DIDN'T have an ear level microphone might have been a better choice - but it's a bit late for that now :> We will make this work - I just haven't figured out how yet... When I talked to Ric today, he mentioned something about Duct Tape - so maybe we'll try that next!!! (typical boy :>)

Anyway, back to the appointment. Aiden's Audiologist switched his implant settings to Map 2 (I'll have to explain what this means another time - but it means the sound is louder at a VERY basic level). When the switch first took place, Aiden cried again and they had to turn the volume down. We distracted him for a bit and eventually got Aiden happy at Map 2 - Volume 9. After that, he had some really, really great responses to sound! He CLEARLY looked at people who were making sounds out of his visual field. This time there was no mistaking it!! He even turned around and looked at Noah when he was clapping, so Noah was pretty happy about that :>

His AV Therapist said that she was really happy with Aiden's responses today. We left with some homework assignments for therapy at home (including making lots of "airplane, sheep, firetruck, cow and kissing" sounds) and told that we could turn Aiden's Map settings up to Map 3 on the weekend.

After the appointment, we went to pick my Mom up at the airport on her way back from Winnipeg. This was a pretty busy and noisy environment, and Aiden didn't seem the least bit spooked or anxious about it - so this is a good thing I think!!

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 21 - One Day Post Switch On

Aiden had a really fantastic day for his first 'real' day of hearing! Last night he had a terrible night's sleep - I think he slept for about 20 minutes from 2:30 am until 6:00 am when he decided it was time to get up. So, I was a bit apprehensive about putting the Implant on him when he was tired and cranky - but we gave it a go anyway (okay, maybe I was a bit excited too! :>). It was only about 5 minutes after he was up that I put it on. And, even though the volume was turned way down, Aiden cried a bit when I first put the implant on. However, the crying didn't last, and I was able to distract him pretty quickly. And, after that he had NO trouble with it at all! In fact, he generally left it alone (which is AMAZING given the nightmare that keeping hearing aids on him was). In very short order, we had the volume his first "map" up to 9 (the highest volume of this level), and it didn't seem to bother him in the least.

We made lots of sounds all morning - in fact if anything we might have overdone it - we all wanted him to hear EVERYTHING (including Noah!), so it was a bit of a noisy environment. Now, there weren't very many occasions when I thought that Aiden was responding to sound - but it's still pretty early yet for that from what I understand. The most amazing thing that happened all day was that this morning the microphone fell off of Aiden's ear - and he PUT IT BACK ON HIMSELF!!!!! This is really nothing short of incredible!!!

The most annoying thing about this implant is that the ear level microphone (the piece that looks like a hearing aid) doesn't stay on very well. In fact, it seemed like everytime Aiden moved his head it fell off. We were able to put a "huggy" around it later in the morning and that helped a bit - but it's still a bit of a pain to have to keep putting it back on every time you turn around. I'm sure this will sort itself out in time though.

Noah was very, very good with today with Aiden. He really worked hard at trying to get him to hear different sounds. He kept saying, "can you hear that Aiden" or "Yeah, you can hear me (and pointing to his ear like we were taught to do)!" and even, "can you hear me now?" Aiden's Implant package came with a toy implant that is meant for a teddy bear - but it is now Noah's implant to play with. First thing this morning he actually wanted us to put tape on his head to hold it in place like Aiden's. So we did :>. Then, just before lunch, Noah held "Implant Clinics" (his words!!) in his bedroom. One by one he called Ric, Aiden and I into his room to see the doctor. We were tickled with a feather, brushed with a luggage tag, and then fitted with the toy implant. "Does that help you to hear?" he asked. Too cute :>

This afternoon we took Noah and Aiden to get some groceries at Loblaws. I think this was the best trip we had to Loblaws so far. It was so amazing to actually be able to TELL Aiden about everything that he was seeing. Loblaws had balloons everywhere today and Aiden was fascinated by them. I'm half surprised that he can't say ballon already for the number of times we said, "b..b..b...ballon!" to him!

People's reaction to Aiden was pretty interesting. No one said anything - but they sure gave him a second and third look. It must seem pretty strange to people that haven't seen an Implant before. I guess we better get used to it! It was kind of shades of the reactions we got when we had Aiden out in the stroller with his oxygen prongs and tank. At least Aiden was happy and laughing for most of the trip.

After the grocery store we took Noah and Aiden to see "Auntie" at a job site she was working on so that Noah could ride in the Excavator. He loved that :>

Aiden's Implant didn't work out so well in the car. If Aiden looked to his right, the magnet and microphone got knocked off really easily. I am hoping we can remedy that soon.

By the time we got home, Aiden was pretty tired. We were able to keep the implant on all though dinner (so it now has a bit of sweet and sour chicken sauce on it!). But, shorly after, he decided that he had had enough and took it off as soon as we could get it back on. So, we deduced that he was done for the day.

All in all, he had a fantastic first day. Although we didn't see much reaction to sound, we are thrilled that the crying seems to have stopped, that he wore the implant for almost the entire day and that he really didn't bother with it. Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds! We have an appointment at CHEO at 2:15 and I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, November 20, 2006

November 20, 2006 - Switch On Day!!!!

Big day for all of us today - Aiden's Implant was switched on!! So, the answer to the big question everyone has been asking us, "What do you think Aiden will do when they turn it on?" is....
Well... He cried. Yup, cried. Not just little tears - big, big heartfelt crying. Poor little guy. They have been telling us at CHEO for months that this was a possible reaction, but I REALLY never thought that would be his reaction. I was betting on no reaction, or smiling. Not crying!!! However, everyone there reassured us that this was totally normal. Aiden has never had the sensation of hearing before, and it is very foreign and probably pretty scary so I guess his crying isn't too surprising. As we were told, we brought lots of toys that he likes to keep him occupied and happy - so these came out right away. If you can beleive it, a Ziploc bag of Q-Tips (this is something he is ALWAYS into at home, and I don't normally let him play with them!) seemed to be the most popular. Followed by a new shape sorter game, chocolate covered raisins and a tape measure.
The Audiologist took things very slowly. When he turned the implant on, he started with it hooked up to a computer and playing soft to loud beeping sounds to test where Aiden's threshold of hearing is. Then, he did the "mapping" of the implant based on what Aiden can hear, and then hooked him up! But, everytime there was sound coming through to the Implant, Aiden cried. He was sad for a pretty long time, and then his AV Therapist suggested that we let him wander around. Well, as soon as he was on the move, he was happy again! He wandered around all over the place (with the implant on - hearing!!!) and really seemed to pay attention to the sounds around him. They put him in the sound booth for a test, and got really really good responses from him. So, it works!!!

We were at CHEO for about 2.5 hours. And, by the time we were ready to leave, Aiden had had ENOUGH. He was so tired. We got him home (to Grandma & Grandpa's) safe and sound and put the Implant on again when we got here. When the Implant was turned on here, he cried again - but this time seemed to settle down and get used to it pretty quickly. We have control over the volume, and we can turn it up or down if he is upset or not. The Implant got knocked off his head (or pulled off) a few times. When we have to put it back on again, Aiden cried a bit every time. So, that is going to take a bit of getting used to for him (and us). At CHEO, they said that the crying response should only last a couple of days, and then he will be more used to the stimulus.

Aiden is sound asleep in bed right now (early to bed for him tonight!), and we'll try again in the morning. But, what a huge day for us all!!! We are happy that this day is finally here, and we can't wait to talk to that boy in the morning :>

Note: The first picture here is of the Audiologist putting Aiden's implant on for the first time (not hooked up yet).
The second picture is of poor Aiden once the Implant was turned on.
The third picture is a pretty good view of the new Implant.
The fourth picture is of Aiden following a toy puppy that his AV Therapist was pulling downt he hall once he was a bit happier. You can see his Implant's "harness" in this picture (which holds the processor). I don't think we'll use this very often - it's pretty cumbersome, and the processor's pouch has a clip that works pretty well on Aiden's pants.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 13, 2006 - 4 Weeks After Surgery

We made another important decision for Aiden today - we picked and ordered the colour of his implant!! :> On Monday, Aiden will be given a blue "microphone" (the part that sits behind his ear and looks like a hearing aid), a silver "magnet" (the part that will sit on his head behind his ear), silver wires (to connect all the pieces together), a grey body worn processor (the only colour option there was) a black and blue processor holder and a black harness to wear the processor on his back.

We are SO excited about his turn on on Monday. I really can't wait to send my posting on Monday night to let you all know how it went.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bath Time!

Yeah, Aiden has been really depressed since his implant surgery. No smiling, no laughing - totally boring. HAH! Just kidding :> That couldn't be farther from the truth. As you can see, Aiden spends a good part of his day laughing his little head off. He thinks a bath with his Dad is especially funny (he's being squirted by a bath Penguin...).

The funny band on his head is on to hold an ear plug is Aiden's left ear because he still has a tube in that ear. The right tube was removed when the implant went in. Because you can't get water in your ears when you have an ear tube, bath time looks like this!

November 9, 2006 - 24 Days After Surgery

I took what I think is a fantastic picture of Aiden today (if I do say so myself!!). I wanted to take a picture of Aiden to post, and show you that his bandages and Steri Strips are almost all off. Little by little, for about 2 weeks now, as the bandages have been peeling away we have just been taking a pair of scizzors and trimming them up. Today, as you can see, we're almost done (or he's almost done - I'm not sure which :>)! And, Aiden's incision scar looks like it is healing up really well.

After I had taken these pictures, I looked back at them on my camera and noticed a pretty cool thing. On the first picture shown here you can REALLY see the outline of Aiden's implant. I think that's so cool. I never really realized how big it is! As you can see in the second picture (which is just here for comparison sake) under normal circumstances you can't really see the implant at all. I don't know if it was just the lighting or shadows or camera flash that caught it on the first one. But, whatever, it's pretty amazing! Once his hair grows back, this view of the implant will probably never be available again.

Once the bandage is all off, I'll take another snapshot so you can see the incision. I still haven't seen the whole thing myself, but it seems to be pretty long.

Helpful Things

Lots of people have asked us what they can do to help out during the time of Aiden's Implant surgery, turn-on, therapy, etc. We really, really appreciate those offers of help. And, this is where we're going to do something about them!! When Aiden was in the NICU, lots of people offered help, and we (in some part) were a bit to overwhelmed to even know what would be helpful.

I read an article, after Aiden was discharged, that I wish I had read earlier. This article said that, if people are offering to do thing for you, make a list available to them of things that would be helpful. That way, people can look at the list and pick something that they might like to contribute.

So, here's my list!! Okay, so it's just one thing right now - but I'll keep thinking and add to it :>

1. We do a lot of driving, whether it's back and forth between Ottawa and Belleville, or to and from CHEO and my parent's house. One of my "driving treats" is a Starbucks Coffee. Actually, lately it's a "tall, soy, no-whip mocha". Anyway, I have a Starbucks Gift Card that can be "loaded" by anyone online at any time. So, if you want to buy me a coffee for the road, just go to They will tell you what to do. My card number is: 6028 3791 3850 2933. Thanks!