The second of Tom's switch on sessions for implant number two is now behind us. Normally an enthusiastic participant, a combination of things conspired to make this latest visit more testing than previously. We're only guessing of course but we saw the initial excitement at hearing these new sounds give way to a degree of discomfort that needed cuddles to be overcome.
These mapping sessions, while charged with significance and emotion for us parents, also have a degree of tedium for the observer. Endless beeps are played while the audiologists look for degrees of perception and/or discomfort. For Tom, however, the endless listening must be tiring and back-to-back appointments on top of the kind of schedule he's had over recent months meant things got a bit teary on a number of occasions.
We left the Implant Centre with Tom's shiny new kit, made the short journey home where the boy quickly installed himself in front of CBeebies with a drink and a biscuit. Unfortunately we saw the drink again a few minutes after consumption and Tom continued to be out of sorts for the rest of the afternoon. Not wanting to burden his tired brain and delicate demeanour with these new confusing sounds, however conservative the initial map was, we decided to leave the new processor off until the following morning.
The rest of the weekend has passed off without any further problems. We don't anticipate any dramatic changes with the second implant, at least not yet, and it is always going to be difficult to aportion responsibility to the bilateral state while Tom is on such a steep development curve anyway. He is, according to assessments carried out at AV UK and by local Teachers of the Deaf, already within the normal range for speech and language understanding for his age. The benefits are going to be seen over the coming years and particularly when nursery begins in just under a year.
The most significant thing so far though is that Tom can now here the alarm beep that sounds when the headpiece falls off and he seems far more aware of both of the implants now, having explored them much more with his hands. This familiarity is going to be increasingly important as he returns to childcare part-time and may well have to help out his childminder in the coming months.