Last week I received a call from a phone number I didn’t recognize. Six months ago, my usual strategy was just to ignore all of them and listen to voicemail to make sure it wasn’t spam or recruiters, but I now get a little excited every time the phone rings since it might be Alex-related.
I was in the middle of a meeting when my phone lit up, but I ducked right out of the room to pick it up. It was Alex’s ENT, and they called to casually tell me that they had set a surgery date to install his cochlear implants, on June sixth. I was stunned. Our MRI to determine his eligibility for CIs isn’t going to happen until March, and our last appointment with our ENT was literally back in December with no other movement or communication really occuring since.
The person I was speaking to (who wasn’t the doctor) basically explained that they were basically just blocking off a slot of time for Alex’s surgery before the schedule became too hectic, and that a surgery was still completely contingent on the MRI results and another consult or two with the ENT. They were blocking off time for a roughly five hour bilateral surgery (i.e., they will install both of his implants at the same time, which is what we want), and potentially (only potentially!) an overnight stay at the same hospital Alex spent his NICU time at.
So even though I understand that from the ENT’s perspective that he’s just booking out time, it still has two key implications:
- The FDA recommendation of waiting until one year of age for implantation is going to either be a non-issue or that they feel that the case to make is going to be simple enough that it’s not worthy of holding his surgery up
- That Alex will be implanted just prior to his nine month birthday and likely activated just before the fourth of July, giving him almost three more months of hearing than those who wait for a year (a VERY SIGNIFICANT amount of time).
It was a fantastic call to get. We’ve built up so much momentum now between Alex’s early intervention team (of which the key members work at the oral school) and now his surgery that it’s going to be nothing short of a devastating blow if we come to find out that Alex won’t be able to get CIs due to anatomy, but at this point I think both Shannon and I are willing to take the risk that all of that momentum will be for nothing if it also means that we’re firing on all cylinders if we get the go-ahead.
I got off of the phone and immediately messaged Shannon with the news. She was just as thrilled as I was, if not more. As I was writing to her, it occurred to me that our little guy might be able to hear fireworks on the fourth of July this year, and that he might even squeeze a word or two out by Christmas of this year. Just incredible to think about.
We’re both very excited to have an actual target already. We weren’t anticipating on getting it for at least another month, and even then that we’d have to battle tooth and nail to get Alex implanted as early as possible. To see that they’ve even tentatively booked a surgery slot for us is a true relief.