Tuesday, January 29, 2008
2 ears 2 hear
I made contact with Charles Arthur soon after Tom came out of hospital - his son had a cochlear implant around the same time as Tom and it is great to read about the progress he's making. Charles' wife Jojo Moyes has written a piece for The Daily Mail supplement that is well worth reading - 'How Lockie broke through a wall of silence'. I hope you don't find the paragraph that follows the piece too alarming - I'm not sure about the relevance of the 'downstairs security check'.
On a slightly more self indulgent note, I've been contributing to getting a website off the ground that may be of interest to cochlear implant watchers. Hatched last summer as an attempt to get a few things out in the public domain about bilateral implants in time for the outcome of the NICE evaluation, 2 ears 2 hear has been launched. Written in conjunction with another parent of an implanted child, the website has a number of intentions: to support parents in their efforts to get what is best for their children from their PCTs, raising the profile of the issues surrounding bilateral cochlear implantation and to put some pressure on decision makers in the run up to the final publication of the NICE recommendations.
NICE kind of beat us to it with the publication of their draft recommendations last month but there is still a few months to go before the final report. As I've written before, if these recommendations had been in place when Tom was deafened, he would have qualified under two out of the three published criteria. We believe these recommendations don't go far enough. With them as they stand there is tacit acknowledgment that two implants are better than one but the additional cost of the second operation appears to tip the cost-effectiveness balance along with the gradual decline in likely effectiveness that is associated with failing to stimulate the auditory nerve.
Two weeks in and nursery school is still pretty appealing. We have had our first taste of on outcome of parenting a school age child - we only know as much as Tom is prepared to tell us... and that is highly variable. And often seems to deviate from reality.
A recent visit from the physiotherapist confirmed what we were suspecting - Tom is making excellent progress. He is far more stable and physically adept in terms of his gross motor movements (hark at the scientific terms) and becoming gradually more confident with a range of activities. The question I always ask is 'how far can he go?' and, like most of the questions we ask to professionals, it is met with a much qualified, carefully phrased 'don't know'.
What can be said though, and this saddens me however frequently it needs mentioning, is that Tom would be making far less progress if we had taken the NHS approach and accepted well enough.