Because my daughter is hard of hearing, the tv is usually on pretty loud. When one of the kids accidentally presses the mute button, the lack of sound is almost uncomfortable. It feels empty. Is that how L felt the day she lost all her hearing? When she couldn't hear me that morning, I just assumed she needed her hearing aid but when I put it in she still said she didn't her me. I wanted to throw up and am ashamed to say that I panicked a bit. I kept asking L questions, some she answered and some she responded yelling "I can't hear you." Since she answered some questions, I thought she was trying to trick me. I got down on her level and held her by the side of her shoulders. "This is not funny!" I said. "Can you hear me or not?". She responded with tears screaming " I can't hear you! I can't hear you! I can't hear!". I felt even more sick having gotten mad at her and realized that she could do some lip reading. That's how she answered my simple questions. I scooped her up in my arms and hugged her and held her until she calmed down. Even though I really wanted to, I didn't cry. I am sure she felt my fear but I didn't want to show it. Then I dialed the audiologist. Our doctor shifted her schedule to fit us in but we had three hours to wait. It was a miserably long three hours. How would we fill the time if L couldn't hear me?
I didn't have to figure it out. L said she wanted to go outside and play baseball. No words needed for that. The night before we had been at a baseball game. My husband had bought the tickets at a charity auction. We had great seats on the 3rd baseline near the dugout and the pitcher for the Chicago White Sox tossed her a ball at the end of the inning. L was beyond thrilled and couldn't wait for the chance to play with that "real" ball. She was so happy! How could a child that just lost all of her hearing be that happy?
Our appointment lasted 3 hours. L had her headphones on and the sounds were so loud, I could hear them clearly, yet she showed no response. When the Dr. took me in another room to tell me the results, I already knew what she was going to say but it still broke my heart to hear it. Then the phone calls began. The ENT was in emergency surgery but they still called him to come up and see L as soon as he was done. Then calls were made to the Cochlear implant team to come meet L and I. It was a total whirlwind. Meetings, appointment schedules, medical decisions. I am glad that my husband and I had already decided the treatment we would pursue should this day come, otherwise I would have been totally overwhelmed. Well, I was still totally overwhelmed but still felt like I was making informed decisions. Meanwhile, L was happily doing puzzles with the Audiology Intern. When the end of the day had finally come and we were kneeling in prayer, L extended her prayers, praying for more people than I had ever heard her pray for before, never once mentioning herself or her circumstances. I always thought God had given us an Angel in L. Now I know it is true.