It has been 2 1/2 months since Robby's ear surgery and, although he has physically recovered, we still don't know if the procedure has restored any hearing. The surgeons recommended that we wait at least four months before attempting the audiology tests again. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, waiting has not been easy!
In order to minimize stress, we have purposefully underplayed the potential of this surgery with Robby. He is such a sensitive little boy, and we didn't want him to assume personal responsibility if no improvement was reaped. Instead, we have continued with our lives and try to put the thought of improved hearing out of our minds.
In spite of knowing better, I find myself quietly analyzing his speech, his auditor responses, just about anything that would indicate an improvement. There is little doubt that his speech has improved dramatically during the past few months, but it is impossible to determine if that change is due to his increased speech therapy or the surgery, but any improvement is welcome regardless of the cause!
While there are times I relax and allow myself to believe that his hearing has improved, there are also moments I am full of doubt. This week several new kids joined Robby's hockey class. Because enrollment jumped from six to ten, an assistant coach was added to help watch over the eager young brood. Robby spent the majority of his skate time under the stewardship of the new assistant coach.
It only took me a few minutes to recognize a problem, but I also knew that there was nothing I could do about it. Robby was lost, trying to follow his teammates but floundering. The assistant coach reprimanded him several times for not paying attention, but I knew that inattention was not the culprit. The rink was loud, the coach was barking instructions to Robby's bad ear, and my little skater wasn't hearing anything that was being said. I felt utterly helpless watching him struggle on the ice.
Then something happened that immediately uplifted my mood. Robby put down his stick and skated over to the other side of the rink. He tapped Coach Mike (his primary coach who has been with him for more than a year) on the shoulder and began to talk. Although I didn't hear what transpired, I did see Coach Mike and Robby skate over to the new assistant coach. Coach Mike spoke for a few seconds, and then I saw Robby begin to talk. After that conversation, the assistant coach looked at Robby when giving directions and my little guy wasn't reprimanded for goofing off again.
After Robby came off the ice at the end of his lesson, Coach Mike and the assistant coach came over to speak with me. Robby explained to Coach Mike that he couldn't hear anything that was being said and that he wasn't goofing off. Mike, knowing that Robby has a hearing problem, immediately acted and helped Robby relay the information to the assistant coach. I couldn't be prouder that Robby recognized the problem and felt comfortable enough to speak up and ask for help.