Friday, September 07, 2007

Matthew Gets a Cochlear Implant

Sue and I met 23 years ago at Northern Illinois University. We were roommates in college and through the years we shared a lot together. Our oldest sons are best buddies and we've been there for each other as each of our kids have lost their hearing. Her two sons have Auditory Neuropathy. Sue shared their story in the Hands & Voices Communicator, Hearing Moments: Life with Auditory Neuropathy.

Matthew's hearing moments began to decline more and more. The use of hearing aids was not an option--Matthew did not obtain any benefit from hearing aids after several trials. Over the years, Sue kept the option of a cochlear implant in the back of her mind. She contacted other families with Auditory Neuropathy to see how they were doing with implants. She sat down to discuss it with Matthew over a period of time and they concluded together that the time was right to pursue it. After several weeks of testing and meeting with the implant doctor, the date was set for September 6th.

I joined her at the outpatient center yesterday right after lunch. An interpreter was there. The nurse who took care of Matthew was the same nurse who was there when he was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy. The anesthesiologist was a jolly fellow who took the time to explain to Matthew what would be happening during anesthesia. Matthew asked him a few questions, "What happens if I wake up? Will I feel anything?" After answering all of his questions, he jokingly told Matthew that he decided not to use anesthesia, he would just knock him out with a baseball bat. Matthew cracked up.

They quickly wheeled him away while Sue and I were talking and we suddenly realized that she didn't get to kiss him and send him off with a hug. The interpreter ran off to get a staff person. A nurse helped Sue into some scrubs and she was able to slip into the operating room and give him a hug.

Everything went smoothly and Matthew came back into the recovery room. I saw the anesthesiologist in the hall and asked if the baseball bat worked well. "Knocked him right out!" he chuckled. When Matthew woke up, he said that he was in some pain and his stomach was a bit upset. After some Motrin via IV, a half hour later he was more alert and feeling better. A short time later, he went home. Sue emailed to tell me that he was up and about when he got home and was feeling well.

He's definitely going to enjoy a few days off from school!


Anonymous said...

You go Karen. I have a lot of heroes and Matt and you are right there at the top. Diane LaFauce

Karen said...

Aww, Diane, that's sweet!

Jeanne Dininni said...


Best wishes, love, and prayers to Sue and Matthew! Thanks for telling their story--and be sure to keep us posted on Matthew's progress!


Penny said...

I am truly sorry to hear his mother taught him that it is sin to be Deaf and she considered Deaf not normal. Very sad! What is wrong not being able to hear? Nothing wrong, mind you. Now he does not look normal because of machine in his ear. You like that? My goodness! He is just a kid.

kkurt said...

This is really GREAT! I'm really glad it all went well! I'm sure Sue gained a few more gray hairs-hehe - surgery is a scary thing! Is Matthew going back to school Monday and resuming things normally as possible? When will the CI be turned on? Best wishes for the whole family watching and learning of this experience, it's really something else!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being there for sue & matt. Matt wants to hear so badly we are praying for him.
grandma sandy

Anna said...

A baseball bat! That doctor certainly knew how to put Matthew at ease. Glad everything went well with the surgery. Thank you for sharing.

I am passing the Blogging Star award on to you. Please come by and pick it up.

Karen said...


Matthew was born with normal hearing and gradually became completely deaf.

He is very much involved in the Deaf community, has deaf friends and attends a school with a deaf program. The implant is another tool that he can use to communicate with the variety of people in his life.

Anonymous said...


Matthew is proud of being deaf. I, his mother, am deaf. He is very much involved in the deaf community. All his friends are deaf. I have used sign language with him since the day we found out about his hearing loss. Matthew wanted to be able to hear more. We tried hearing aids, it did not work for him. So he wanted to try the implant. He wants to have the best of both worlds, hearing and deaf. He is simply a great kid who so happens to be deaf.


Marti said...

It's free hugs day! {{hugs}}

Laane said...

I live near a hospital were they give children and grown up cochlear implants.

I hope the wonder will work for him too.

Being able to hear and being able to sign makes him a wonderful bridge between people.

I'm pleading for years here to make signlanguage part of the curriculum.

Petula Wright said...

I pray that everything goes well with the implant. Thanks for sharing that story. God bless and good luck to Matt and his family.

Tim said...

Hey Karen, I love the blog. I've got a question for you and couldn't find your info, when you get a chance can you shoot me an email? tpoindexter at disaboom dot com.

robyn said...

Thanks for sharing such a great story! What an inspiration. I hope Matthew has great success with this new implant.

Anonymous said...

I admire that you are open to the idea of a bilingual child. CI does not mean turning away from a culture. It only mean that the child is able to pick up another language, be bilinigual, bi-cultural.
I do not think that being deaf means you are inferior. I think that Sign Language is a beautiful language and that the Deaf Culture is as rich as any other culture in the world. Why not let these children open us to that world, that culture too? Why seperate us from you? Why the great divide? The world is opening up. We have children growing up in many cultures so why can't we have that too?

Christian's Mommy said...

Thanks so much for posting Matthew's story. You all are such an inspiration to my family!