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“Mrs Wasserman, everything looks good, Oliver is a candidate for cochlear implantation, we have the theatre booked for two weeks from now.”

I was sitting next the crib waiting for Oli to fully wakeup after the having all the tests done. It had been a rather emotional 4 hours.

We had a very upset 6 month old who didn’t understand why he couldn’t breastfeed when he wanted to. He had exhausted himself with all the crying, that by the time we got to the radiology department he was fast asleep. He had his CAT-scan first, then MRI and then was moved from radiology to the paediatric ward to have his sedated ABR.

It was a bit of a whirlwind because it apparently wasn’t the way that things usually worked. I saw a very unhappy nurse on the paediatric unit. Children are not to be intubated in the ward, they need to be in PICU. It was all cleared up and the appropriate personnel was at Oliver’s side to make sure all was ok. 

Then came something that I was not really prepared for, AT ALL. The audiologist performing the ABR, who was not someone I knew, and let’s be honest wasn’t the friendliest person I had ever met, (I suppose you sort of expect friendliness in times like these), walked up to Oliver and started putting the electrodes on him.  He started moving, then he started choking on the tube in his throat. The anaesthetist quickly gave him some more medicine and then rushed over to me. She expressed such concern for me and explained that he was very lightly sedated to do the scans as no one was touching him, when the audiologist however touched him it startled him and he needed to be sedated a bit more.

She also said that parents are not usually present for tests like these as it can be rather distressing to see your child intubated. She recommended I go and sit in the main entrance of the paediatric unit. I called Daniel, who was waiting outside. It was no-ones fault. I suppose if I wanted to blame anyone or anything it would be COVID.  Everything was turned upside down. Nevertheless, it was and still remains one of the more traumatic things that I have ever been through. 

The nurse came to call me no more than twenty minutes later and there he was lying in the crib, still sleeping. The audiologist said the test was done. I asked her if it confirmed the severe to profound loss in the right ear and profound in the left and she just said both sides are profound. That was it!  No comforting, no explanation, except that we would hear from the doctor soon. The anaesthetist was amazing. We discovered that her son was born the day before Oli, but didn’t have nearly as many teeth. She stayed by my side for about thirty minutes until Oli woke up and wanted to breast feed immediately. 

That’s when my cell phone rang; that’s when we got the news and that’s when the decision was made to implant Oliver.