While I hope that someday I will be able to write a post about how we know YES for sure Ella can hear perfectly... today is not that day. But we DO have a little better idea I think..
Let me back up.. Ella had her ABR hearing test yesterday. To start with, the day held disheartening premonitions of starting out like the last dreaded brokeniPod/eatingaMcDonald'swrapper/nothinggoesright trip to Sioux Falls. We had a snow/ice/sleet storm predicted for my early morning travel conditions, a child with multiple signs of Strep Throat (not Ella), a husband trying to save his vacation days for when the new baby comes, and a 1 1/2 hour (or more) drive where I was supposed to keep Ella awake the entire way. *sigh..
Fortunately, the day turned around.. The snow and sleet apparently missed us, my parents volunteered to watch and take Nolan to the doctor (he does have Strep..), Ella slept some on the trip despite my best efforts of stopping a few times to get her out and cold, hyping her up on M&M's, and
singing obnoxiously loud and off key listening to the radio.. yet luckily she was still tired for her ABR test, and most importantly there was NO eating of a wrapper yesterday (at least on my part..). I'd call that a SUCCESS!
Now, if you're an average person (aka NOT a CdLS parent or an audiologist :) ) you might not be all too familiar with different kinds of hearing tests. A year ago I had no idea there were any more than the standard "raise your hand when you hear the beep" kind of test... Now I consider myself an expert-in-training. Ella has never passed an OAE test, where they insert a probe in your ear and try to read the sound waves that bounce off the ear drum, probably because of her teensy tiny ear canals, but the ABR test is supposed to be a little more accurate for situations like this. In the ABR test, Ella had to have electrodes attached to her head and a probe in her ear that made clicking noises of different sound levels, while the electrodes read her brain's response to them. Typically small children need to be sedated for this kind of test since it requires 1-2 hours of absolute still and silent behavior... something I'm pretty sure NO child knows anything about. But when scheduling Ella's appointment the receptionist told me that her ABR would be UNsedated.. Imagine my surprise. The idea of Ella sitting absolutely still and quiet with wires and tubes attached to her head was laughable.. Until I read more about it. Our doctor uses a technology apparently a lot of others don't, in which there is a filter that allows for some sound and movement to occur. And while she did have a few wires attached to her, it was considered wireless since the wires were attached to a small box, which transmitted the information to the audiologist's computer on the other side of the room, allowing her to move around a little more.. Fancy.
I won't lie.. it started out a little rough. Ella didn't seem to mind the electrodes taped to her head, but the probe in her ear really bothered her, especially when it started making a loud, annoying clicking noise. I can't say I particularly blamed her.. It annoyed me too and it wasn't even in my ear. At one point during our wrestling match, I started to think that maybe this was a waste of time.. That we would have to come back for the sedated version anyways, but eventually with a little coercing from a baby movie and her blankie, she finally wore out enough to fall asleep clutching a fruit snack.. And we actually got to run the test! AND talk to the Doctor afterwards this time.. Yay!
When we finished, the audiologist and Doctor took some time looking over the test results and when the Doctor came in the room he showed me the waves and peaks and how they looked and were supposed to look. I asked some questions, he replied with some doctor-jargon-mumbo-jumbo, and when my eyes started to glaze over slightly, he finally stopped, put down his papers, looked at me and said "Basically, I'm not worried.." Yippee!!! Because I haven't been worried about her hearing either and that could have easily gone one of two ways.. Either I was a loving, intuitive mother with wonderful instincts, or I was a neglectful waste who was putting her daughter's future in jeopardy by ignoring a basic need.. Whew! So glad it was closer to the first..
So while it wasn't exactly the she-passed-with-flying-colors-ending-our-relationship-with-our-ENT finale that I was hoping for, all in all it was a pretty good day. But let me tell you.. it was not without sacrifice. Letting someone else care for my two unbearably crabby (and sick) boys while blissfully meadering through the fabric store and trying to keep Ella awake, spending my afternoon nestled in a cozy, oversized recliner in an oh-so-relaxing darkened room, cuddling the sweetest sleeping baby girl, coming home to a husband who had been home for 2 hours by himself and had started the laundry, picked up the house, and cooked supper? Ohhhhhh the sacrifices we make for our kids... ( - :