Friday, October 10, 2008

I used to like going to the park


Can I just vent for a minute?

Going to the park with a toddler is a challenge to begin with. Put a hearing loss on top of it, and it's a whole different ballgame. Our audiology team at Hopkins and at our school have made it very clear that to protect against ESD (Static Electricity), Christian's implant MUST come off if he goes down a plastic slide.

According to our team, the static electricity generated by playing on plastic surfaces like slides has been shown to erase and/or distort programs on CIs. Sometimes, the processor itself is damaged, and needs to be replaced. Since Christian really isn't old enough to let me know if the sound he hears is bothering him or doesn't sound right, diagnosing if ESD impacted his CI is really hard.

Taking off the CI just for the slides really is a pain. Anyone with a 20 month old will tell you that they bounce from one activity to another in a matter of seconds. It's not like we have 5 minutes of time on the slide, then 10 minutes on the swing. I've had to take his CI off usually right when we get to the park, and it's off in my pocket for a good 20 minutes. Not having your kid hear you at a public place like a busy park is horrible, especially when as a parent you are so used to your child responding to your voice. I'm glad we have our signs as a back-up, but it just makes the situation tricky.

Oh, and we also found out that he should avoid going on roller coasters that use magnets (most of the new ones do). If the ride has a precaution for people with pacemakers, than we should avoid it too.

I don't mean to complain, and I know that I could be up against far worse situations.I do feel so lucky that we even have the CI for Christian. I know as he gets older, it will get easier. But for right now, when he is like a little Tazmanian Devil speeding around our neighborhood park, this situation really for lack of a better word, SUCKS.


Sandra said...

It will definitely get easier when he gets older. Jazzie who is six now, will take her implant off when going down the slide without being asked and the same thing goes for when she is around water. We have stressed it often enough that by now she doesn't even think about it. She sees a slide and off her implant goes.

I know Christian is young now, but I promise it does get easier.

I also wanted to say how much I loved your previous post. I treasure my friendships with moms of deaf kids. They understand like no other what it is like to be raising a deaf child. I think people often forget that Jazzie is deaf because she is doing so well, so they think we do not face any challenges, but we obviously do.

leahlefler said...

Parks scare me a little with toddlers. Add deafness into that factor and you earn twice the number of gray hairs. I've only "lost" Nolan once at a MOPS meeting (lots of background noise and he couldn't hear me with his aids). I found him under a table crying- it was awful! Definitely not the same experience as when Matt wanders off. But at least he can hear us when aided in a quiet situation, and he doesn't have to take his aids off at the park!

The Pink Totebag said...

That does suck! But I would bet that these other moms are right - Christian will eventually get to an age where he just knows to be mindful of the implant, just as kids who have allergies get used to being extra cautious about checking labels and asking about ingredients.

The one thing that came to my mind when I read this, though, was actually about the great debate you had in your own head not that long ago regarding what methods and modalities you wanted to pursue in terms of Christian's communication - even before you decided to have him implanted. I think this post would silence all those people who told you that pursuing just one form of communication in an effort to help him stay focused and develop an expert ability in that one form. It's obvious to me that what allows Christian to have a normal toddler life is the fact that you HAVE pursued multiple avenues - he CAN go to a park and take out his CI and still communicate with his Mommy - especially since he can now start wearing his aid again. Keep trusting your gut, Tina. It hasn't steered you wrong yet!

KateB said...

I really think you should check with your CI manufacturer; I'm not sure why the folks at Hopkins would tell you to take the processor off while at the playground; again, the % of anything happening is almost nill. We too are patients at Johns Hopkins and they told us NOT to take Brandon's CI off; especially during playgound play when sound & interaction is so critical. You may want to check on that. We attended MSD and Dr. McIntosh can tell you that the CI should stay on.

Christian's Mommy said...

Thanks everyone for the comments...regarding the processor coming off on the slides, I'm just following the strict instructions from our audiologist at school and at our implant center :)