Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Medical Miracles

It’s been quite a while since I’ve mentioned little Alex, and in case you’ve forgotten him, Alex is the toddler that my daughter babysits.  Alex was born very premature, weighing in at about a pound and a half.  As you can imagine, extreme measures had to be taken to ensure Alex’s survival, and unfortunately, some of those treatments resulted in a severe loss of hearing for him.

When Alex first came to stay with my daughter, he was already almost a year old.  However, Alex was quite small, and was still wearing newborn-sized clothing.  Alex had severe eating issues and wasn’t thriving.  He wore hearing aids in both ears, but it was apparent that he couldn’t hear much, if anything.

To say it’s been an interesting year for my daughter and Alex would be an understatement!  My daughter and Alex bonded quickly.  She became the firm, but patient and loving, force that Alex desperately needed in his life.  Her five-year-old daughter, Madison, and Alex quickly became inseparable, too.  Both are only children, and seem to find comfort and joy in each other’s company.

Madison and Alex, several months ago…

Alex steadily continued to grow and develop throughout the year.  First, by learning  to crawl– and soon he was crawling at a break-neck speed!  Next he walked with a medical walker for a time.  Then Alex learned how to climb the toddler slide, and I happened to witness and film the event.

Not long after learning to climb the slide,  Alex began to take steps on his own, by walking back and forth between my daughter and granddaughter.  By the summer’s end, Alex was not only walking–he was  running–and climbing the bigger slide!

Alex’s eating issues continue to this day, but they are better than they were ten months ago.  My daughter has learned all sorts of tricks to get Alex to successfully eat the pureed foods that his mother sends each day–such as sitting Alex in the kitchen sink while she feeds him!  Water distracts him, plus the sink makes cleanup a lot easier, in the event the food comes hurling back up!  Alex has been growing at a slow, but steady pace.

Earlier this year, Alex’s parents pursued the option of cochlear implants for Alex’s hearing issues.  After having a battery of tests done on Alex, then having him turned down  as a candidate for implants, the parents sought a second opinion from a doctor in a neighboring state.  Fortunately, the second doctor agreed to perform the surgery.

About three weeks ago, little Alex had a cochlear implant put in the first ear.  Alex required several days of healing time before the implant could actually be turned on to see if the surgery was successful.  Finally, the day came when Alex’s implant could be turned on to see if it would work–and it did!  After twenty-one months of silence, little Alex heard his first sounds last Thursday!  What a glorious day for Alex and his family–and for my daughter, too.  She cried when she heard Alex’s good news, and was elated to hear Alex babbling his first sounds while talking with his mom on the telephone.

The volume on Alex’s implant is turned very low, so he can gently get used to sounds.  Each week the volume will be adjusted slightly until it gets within the normal range of hearing.

It’s truly a joy to see how much being able to hear has changed Alex!  Before the surgery, Alex seemed to be in his own little world, but now that he can hear, Alex is gradually becoming immersed in the world around him.  There’s also a little sparkle in Alex’s eyes that wasn’t there before–and it’s a great thing to witness!

Alex today…

In a few weeks, Alex will have surgery on his remaining ear, and the same process will begin all over again.  It will require some patience and work to teach Alex how to talk, but the end results will be well worth the efforts!  Thank goodness for medical miracles– and for loving, patient baby sitters, too!

Published in: on November 15, 2012 at 10:03 am  Comments (7)  
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