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Switch On - Part 2 of 2
After our unexpected hospital visit one week post op, things were pretty much smooth sailing on a physical level for Oli. It was a very busy time for us as Oli started crawling.
He really was like any other typical 6 or 7 month old baby.
Mentally and emotionally however, it was a rather trying time for Daniel and myself. Being in the middle of Covid there weren’t very many flights coming from the UK to South Africa on a weekly basis. Why did this have such a huge impact us? Well, Oli’s “kits” the bags containing his processors and all the parts of his cochlear implants had to come from the UK. So we had the cochlear implant distributer in South Africa trying to get the “kits” to us ASAP for “switch on”. At the same time, we were fighting with the insurance company. We had been approved for “simultaneous bilateral cochlear implants” BEFORE the surgery and when it came time to pay, our insurance company said that they would only pay for one! The stress that we as parents felt at this point was something I can’t even begin to describe. We called every day. After three weeks of back and forth between the distributor, insurance company and ourselves, there was STILL no payout. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow the money to pay the balance so that we could get the “kits” released by the distributor and have Oli’s switch on continue as planned.
The day of activation I remember feeling super excited yet also very apprehensive.
Exactly like when we got his hearing aids, we were told not to expect anything. We drove to Paarl (about an hour from us), where Tamara our audiologist’s office was. When we arrived Jenni, our speech therapist, had also come through to be with us. We sat, trying to social distance as best as we could in the small space we were in, and witnessed Oli hearing with cochlear implants for the first time.
We were given Oli’s “kits”, two backpacks full of parts, super overwhelming. Tamara went through all the parts we would need initially. The processor, batteries, mic covers and coil protectors. How to switch it on and off, charge the batteries and use the drying box. We went armed with many toys and snacks so keep Oli busy.
Again, we had another “textbook moment”. He reacted immediately to Tamra knocking on the table, and turned his head in the direction of the sound, instantly. It was such an incredible moment and also such a huge realisation as to how little he could hear. Oli was such a trooper, I can imagine it was pretty overwhelming for him. However, I think that I shed more tears than Oli, he really was very chilled. At one point, he had had enough. He was after all only 7 months old and after some breast feeding, he settled again.
We left that appointment, walking to the parking lot grinning from ear to ear but also overwhelmed, apprehensive and a daunting feeling of what next. Once in the car, Oli slept the entire one-hour car ride back to Hopefield. Daniel and I were in awe.
We couldn’t believe that this day had come and gone, so we heaved a huge sigh of relief but also wondered what’s next?
We had come this far and now the hearing journey started for Olipop and our family.