I have a lot to be thankful for, and sometimes during the hustle and bustle of day to day existence, I often lose my way, or take what I am thankful for, for granted.
There was always something, I took advantage of, without truly recognizing how much of a gift it is to have. A privilege. It's a right to possess this thing, but until you bore a child who was robbed of this ability, it makes you realise just what is most important.
Master S was a beautiful baby. He had this calm, content nature about him, and I am yet to meet a person that isn't left with a smile being around him for a short time. He was reaching his milestones when he should've and I was so (am still so) proud of my little man. When Miss E came along, she adored her brother so much she was running at 8 months old, just to keep up with him.
I was one (okay... I still am, but whatever) of those gooey, gushy Mama's who would just brag about everything, much to everyone's dismay. Master S can do this, Master S can do that. Even at his health centre appointments I'd gush like a goose, and it was his 18 month check-up that made me jam on the brakes and look at my child's development with fresh eyes.
A question jumped out of his book at me, "Does your child have a vocabulary of at least 50 words?"
If I am honest, I counted through every word I'd ever heard him utter and there was definitely close to 50, but the fact my beautiful boy could tell you what sound a cat makes, without being able to say the actual word "cat", made me realise, we had a problem.
The health centre nurse sent through a referral for speech therapy, assuring me he'd improve in no time. My unwavering pride and positivity didn't let this simple issue stand in my way. As soon as I got home, I was onto the Speech Therapist. You know, because my child is the only one who needs their services, they should be able to fit him in quickly, and all that jazz. I was advised the waiting list was moving quickly, but before they determined there was an issue with his speech, they needed a hearing test done.
What a waste of time. He'd passed his Newborn Screening, but I did what was required for the Speech Therapy. I was advised to sit in a corner as I watched noises coming from every corner of the room, and not once did my baby boy turn his head, until the noises were practically screaming. Even as I watched him sit so still, not even flinching, I assumed he was just ignoring the noises.
When the test was over, even as the words "low hearing in both ears", "fluid on the ear" and "potential of inserting grommets" were explained to me, nothing sunk in. I was angry.
At the Audiologist.
At myself for not listening when people pointed out to me 'it's like he can't hear me...' or 'he's not very talkative, is he?'
Life at home was different after then. We'd raise our voices to communicate with him. I'd push him to repeat words, over and over again, and while he improved, at his two year check-up, he wasn't constructing sentences, and his vocabulary hadn't increased much.
Our life was a stream of waiting lists, referrals, phone calls, and more than once my son was referred to as being "deaf". He's not deaf, I'd cringe, it's just fluid. He's not fucking deaf.
I was constantly on the defensive. I nearly clawed a woman's eyes out when she said 'Is there something wrong with you?' when she asked him a question he couldn't answer.
I was a Mama Lion protecting her Cub from the unintentional hurtful remarks from strangers (and even people I knew). I didn't know how much longer I could survive without hurting someone. I prayed every night, and cried every time I made a phone call to find out someone had fucked up something and we'd be waiting even longer for something to happen.
My pleas and pushes for an end to the lack of action fell, if you will, on deaf ears.
I enrolled him in 3 year old Kinder, at the advice of my health centre nurse, where his speech improved slightly. He still couldn't articulate sentences, and his pronunciation was still way off, but I felt this was something that could repair itself, and by that stage Miss E (who is just a chatterbox) was teaching him new words, too. When I was asked by the Audiologist if I'd like a follow-up hearing test done to find out whether he was improving, I almost declined the test, but decided I'd take him and see how much he'd improved.
He hadn't. At all. He'd declined.
I felt like it was all for nothing.
He was still way behind his peers in speech and articulation (but my boy is as intelligent as a 4 and a half year old, just so you know!) and it was time to refer him to an ENT surgeon. He had an appointment the next month. I asked the Audiologist what to expect from the appointment. She said he could either discuss options for surgery, or he may make him wait another three months, to see whether it would improve on it's own.
I was a ball of nerves come the meeting with the Surgeon.
His future rested on this man.
My first impression was that he was nice. I quite liked him, and after being in his rooms for ten minutes, I knew why I immediately liked him. Master S, ever the energy ball, fell over as soon as he ran into the room.
Mr ENT: "Does he fall over often?"
Me: "Yeah, he's a clumsy kid..." (YOUR POINT?)
Mr ENT: "Are you busy today?"
Me: "Not particularly..."
Mr ENT: "Has he eaten this morning?"
Me: "Um... Er... I kind of slept in, but I swear I am taking him to get breakfast when I leave!"
Mr ENT on the phone: "Yes, I have a 3 and a half year old deaf child here who requires tubes inserted in both ears.. it'll take 15 minutes, I hate seeing the afternoon wasted... nope, he's fasted..."
It hit me like a tonne of bricks.
He was going to operate on my baby boy.
Someone had cancelled... THAT DAY!
I cannot honestly remember much about that day, except after the operation, where he held his hands over his ears and whispered "Sssshhhh Mum, please be quiet! Too noisy!"
That was a week ago.
Everything has changed.
Life is a lot quieter now, and not because he can't hear. But because we don't have to shout.
His first hearing test, post-grommets is on Monday, and for once, I am not nervous.
The only tears I'm sure I'll shed will be happy one's.
I'm Thankful for the Gift of Hearing.
Sometimes sleeping in & forgetting breakfast...
And wonderful surgeons.
Linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday.
What are YOU thankful for?