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After Frikkie spoke those words to us, the rest of time with him was a bit of blur. I remember him saying something about 40 years ago only having sign language as an option for communication,  but technology today had changed that.

I remember thinking to myself, ‘profound’… ok, so that’s not deaf, is it?

He didn’t say deaf.

Daniel, my husband, was looking to me to explain what this all meant and honestly, I didn’t know what it meant. Tears and getting out of there seemed to be both of our immediate reactions. 

Driving back to the hotel, my first instinct was to call my parents. I called my mom and she and my step-dad got in the car and drove an hour and half that night to be with us. My dad lives in the USA so a 10 hour time difference at the time. He was in a meeting and through tears I told him very quickly, “It seems Oliver can’t hear and we going back in the morning for more testing!” I think he was a bit shocked but also very pragmatic.  I remember him saying “I’m sorry my darling, let’s see what tomorrow brings”.

We got back to the hotel room, packed up all our stuff as my mom’s friend’s apartment was available and we could stay there together with my mom and step-dad. 

Seeing my mom, brought another round of tears.

Not much sleep happened that night between feeding our almost 3 month old, googling what profound meant, what the way forward was and managing all the thoughts, not to mention the feelings. Had Oli never heard my voice? Never heard me sing him to sleep? Had he never heard me say I love you? Will he ever be able to hear me say I love you, will he ever be able to say I love you?  

The next morning, at 6:00, we met Frikkie and another audiologist named Julie at the Hearing Institute. In order to do more tests it meant trying to do it before load shedding (rolling blackouts) started at 8:00. Daniel and I, were pretty emotional and running on little to no sleep and probably a bit too much caffeine. This combination didn’t make for very relaxed parents to try and get Oli to sleep for another ABR test. Thankfully, my mom, Oli’s Ouma (grandmother in Afrikaans) was there to settle him and get another ABR test done. I remember, at one point, my mom turned to me and said, “take a photo”, you are going to want to remember where you started when you are further along with this journey. I took a photo, it is a very blurry photo but I suppose very fitting for the moment.

Moments later, the second ABR was done. The second test, in about 12 hours and the results were the same. Oli was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in his left ear and severe to profound in his right ear, Oli is deaf. 


Check in again next week to read or listen to Part 2 of 2 of The Diagnosis.


***ABR Test: An auditory brainstem response (ABR) test is a safe and painless test to see how the hearing nerves and brain respond to sounds.