Friday, January 30, 2015

Cochlear Implant Update!

Allie 8 days after Cochlear Implant surgery
It has been one week since Allie had her implant surgery, and she's doing great! Surgery took about four hours, and she was in recovery for about two hours. She woke up in a little pain, but not too much (and she was a little confused / didn't remember what was happening at first). Her head was bound with a large gauze bandage, and she was ok. She wanted Popsicles. She would lay there while we fed her a Popsicle (eyes closed). She slept off and on while coming out of the anesthesia fog. Mostly she ate Popsicles. Before leaving the hospital Dr. Young popped in and said that the surgery was "very routine, and Allie did well." lol. Routine! I'm glad our surgeon considers such a surgery to be routine (she does 5-7 a week!). 

Relaxing before cochlear implant surgery.

We returned home that night and ate more Popsicles. The main side effect she was experiencing was a scratchy throat from the breathing tube. This went away in the first day. The only eventful thing that happened the first night was that Allie fell asleep while sitting at the kitchen table. That was adorable. 

The day after surgery we were cleared to remove the bandage (finally a look at the surgery site!). Allie was eager since it was a pressure bandage. She had no bruising, no facial nerve issues, nothing. The incision is about 2 1/2" long and is tucked in the crease behind her ear. There is a small (1" x  3"?) patch of hair shaved near there, and a pen mark marking the spot where the internal device was placed (this is where the magnetic transmitter will sit once she gets her processor). She had very little blood, and the wound was already really clean and looking like it was healing! The stitches are dissolveable, so aside from not touching, the only thing we needed to do was keep it dry. 

Waking up from cochlear implant surgery.

The first two days Allie ate lots of Popsicles and had pain meds (proscribed and OTC, alternating). She was only a little sore. By day three she was able to lay on that side without much of a problem, and by day 5 she was pretty much pain free other than sore around the internal implant. Now, at a week later she's barely sore. Behavior / energy wise she slept and played quietly most of the first two days, then by day 3 she was about 85%, She's almost at 100% now, tiring a little more easily than normal.
The evening of her cochlear implant surgery, bandaged, sleeping.

We had our followup with the surgeon (well, with her resident), and he said everything looks great, she's healing well, and now we can resume normal activity / bathing / etc. Pretty much the only thing she can't do is wear a bicycle helmet (for the next 30 days). She's doing great! 

One day after cochlear implant surgery, bandage off, small scar.

I'm posting this here because it has been really comforting to me to read other parent's experiences. The doctors can explain everything, and I can (and have) read just about everything published about CI's. The truth is though, it's like hearing it from your friend when you read it like this. It's reassuring. 

Also, in my research it seems like Allie's incision is TINY. Oh my, the pictures one finds when looking for CI information! So, it may seem silly to post the pic, but it is so amazing to me. It's just so so small. For the first couple days Allie would have me take a picture every morning so she could see what it looked like. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Allie gets her cochlear implant.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Allie will have Cochlear Implant surgery. We've been working up to this point for several months now, and the day is finally here! 

Here's a bit about our story. Allie was born with bilateral hearing loss, but has always had enough gain from her hearing aids to get by. She went through early intervention therapy and tons of speech etc. But the thing is, having enough hearing to get by isn't enough. Can you imagine having to work to understand every word? I've seen it so often, that I think I can imagine it. I don't like that. 

Getting by isn't enough. Allie's hearing has dipped a bit in the past year due to a series of ear infections. We responded initially by switching her to more powerful hearing aids. These hearing aids give as much amplification as is possible (without causing hearing loss), but it's just not cutting it. We've seen Allie struggle and fight to understand. She works hard. She's so very bright. But there's that struggle. Hearing shouldn't be such hard work. We started considering cochlear implants last summer when Allie flipped out at an appointment with her ENT (cleaning out the ears, no fun). This kind of behavior is fairly normal for Allie, though we've gotten much better at handling / preventing it. Her ENT (Dr Young) looked at me and suggested that this behavior is hearing related. She thinks that Allie's regular behavior problems are a result of spending more energy than normal focusing on hearing. 

So began our journey. After testing with the CI audiologists we see that in silence (as a normal audiology booth test) Allie has an accuracy rate of about 60%, she understands about 60% of what she hears with her hearing aids - in a silent room. But adding just a tiny bit of background noise (equivalent to maybe having your car air conditioning turned on halfway), and that accuracy drops to 30%. So in a normal, everyday setting Allie is catching about 1/3 of what we're saying. Great. No wonder we're having power struggles constantly!

SO - many appointments later and here we are. Allie is excited and nervous. Mostly she's nervous about the surgery / post surgery recovery. She's excited to be able to hear better, and she's MOST excited to go swimming! She'll have a sound processor that is waterproof - which means she can go swimming without getting in trouble for not following the rules. 

Allie has always been in the hearing world. She received her first hearing aids as an infant, and from the first day she loved them. She took to the hearing immediately. We didn't know what to expect, but she astounded us. I can only hope that she'll love her cochlear implant just as much. For now though, we'll handle the recovery. 

More about Allie's hearing story can be found here, here, and here.

hearing aid proud
Soon there will be a CI processor here instead of a hearing aid! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

QuiltCon 2015 Lanyard Swap!

I haven't posted about swaps in a while -- Here's one I just sent out! 

My lanyard swap partner likes red - so I picked out my very favorite red print for her lanyard! I hope I get a chance to meet her in person at Quiltcon! 

I followed this tutorial to make the lanyard - however I cut my strips to 2" wide and used my bias tape maker to fold the fabric. These are super easy and fun to make! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Economy Block Quilt

I'm finally sharing pics of this quilt. I finished it ages ago, but I just didn't get around to blogging about it. 

A while back there was a quilt-along for the economy blocks. To construct the blocks, I followed a tutorial from Rita / Red Pepper Quilts. I used a stack of fabric odds and ends that had accumulated randomly on my cutting table, so this quilt is pretty representative of fabrics I'd used or purchased around that time. The blocks came together pretty easily, and I made blocks until I was bored with them.

Of course I floated the blocks in a field of Moda Bella Strawberry, which is one of my absolute favorites. I also quilted the quilt densely, using a swirl/floral pattern in the blocks, and a channeled quilting in the border. I'm pretty much in love with this quilt. I don't have a use or need for it, but it's just for me. 

Unfortunately it wasn't chosen for the show at Quiltcon, so maybe I'll put it out there for another show. I haven't found the time to do that just yet though. Maybe one day this one will hang in a show near you! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sabrina's Quilt - Finished!

This quilt has been finished for almost two months - but I just haven't taken any decent pictures of it. Winter in Chicago is so terrible for photography! 

I'm hoping to get this quilt to baby Sabrina soon - as she's totally a toddler already. :) Such is life. 

The official title of this quilt is the Giant Hoo-Ha quilt. I used the general instructions that came with the Quick Curve Ruler. I love this ruler, but it just seems that I don't have the time to use it. One of these days... I do love the ruler though.