Last Saturday Nik went to a 'pre-implant' open day at Nottingham's Ear Foundation where she had the opportunity to meet parents and implanted children along with those in the same 'holding' position. This Saturday Tom was Implant Day + 2 after what can be described as, in a somewhat stereotypically understated English way, a 'bit of a week'.
I received a phone call early Tuesday afternoon from the Cochlear Implant program asking if we were happy for Tom to be the reserve for Thursday's surgery date. The fact that Tom had yet to complete all his tests (an ERA was scheduled for Wednesday) and the surgeon had yet to see the MRI results seemed only to be of concern to me and a promise to phone back later was made.
So, late on Tuesday afternoon, the news arrived in a rush: forget the 'reserve' position, Tom was in prime slot for Thursday (what happened to the other case...?). Forget the ERA (how valuable are these tests then?), we'll hand Mr. G. the MRI images in the morning when you pop in to choose the device, ear and any last minute questions. Oh, OK then.
We manage to keep our heads screwed on through Wednesday's information overload (actually, our capacity for assimilating this stuff is pretty well honed now), Tom gets admitted on to the ward in preparation for Mr. G's punctual morning start and we slope off home to have the obligatory bottle of anaesthetic red. This is one of the advantages of living so close to the hospital; admittance is a formality with Tom allowed to go home rather than burden the nurses.
After spending 22 days in hospital following Tom's meningitis (a stay that included a coma, grave warnings about prognosis and more anguish than I care to dwell on) three hours of surgery is a walk in the park. Well, maybe not that easy - there is no fun to be had being an anaesthetist's accomplice - but within a few hours Tom was being thoroughly entertained by his grandfather and was getting distinctly fed up about the lack of biscuits coming his way.
Now it's Implant Day + 3 and Tom is as cheerful as we've ever seen him. The wound from the implant is almost laughably insignificant (my father did more damage to himself during a contretemps with his garage door), we have had to administer no analgesia and are having to convince people that this is the boy who has experienced two months of sheer awfulness.
My thanks go out to the staff at the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham who have held us together. And to Nottingham's Cochlear Implant Centre who have, in little over a month, got us from initial referral to fully paid up members of the Cochlear Implant Family. Now I know what I pay my taxes for.