Saturday, March 1, 2008

Dear, Really Dear Drolz...

Dear Mark,
God, if I tell you I'm listening to Norah Jones already really sad tonight, (I crash on Saturday nights) your post just made it a hundred times worse *smile*. But, I really feel the need to respond to what you have so eloquently written. I love how you write, so honest and sensitive, it's rare to find a man as able to express his thoughts. Your wife is a very lucky woman, and I can tell from your letter that you are a strong team for your beautiful children.

Your post does an excellent job of transmitting the agony involved in deciding whether or not to choose a cochlear implant for your child. Your family's situation is totally different from mine, yet you are going through the same exact process we went through three years ago. Drolz, your decision will not be the same as mine, our children and their experiences are different. You and your wife are different, yet we have both managed to raise intelligent children with strong heads of their own. (come to think of it- monitor his internet access:))

You have something we did not have...time. You wrote:
I do have my own ideals and I tend to stick to them. However, regardless of who I am and what I believe in, as a parent it’s my moral obligation to at least listen whenever someone utters the magic words, "This may benefit your child." And before I make a decision, I include my child in the decision-making process.

You do not have to decide now about the cochlear implant and you have done what you need to do...ask Darren for his opinion, because at eight years of age with the brain he so obviously has, he has every right to be involved in the decision. He has made HIS choice and you as a father are respecting that, conscious of the fact that there is a fear factor involved. That fear factor is not to be treated lightly, because should you and your son decide to opt for the CI, you both need to be psychologically prepared for the before, during and aftermath of the surgery.

This part of your blog killed me:
There’s more coverage of cochlear implant miracle stories in the media and apparently my hearing relatives are gobbling it all up. They cut out clippings of these success stories and send them to me at every opportunity. I know they mean well, but the underlying message is clear: It doesn’t matter how much I accomplish in life. To them, I’m the broken-eared guy who needs to be fixed. Always was, always will be.
Deciding to go ahead with the surgery for you, raises a series of ethical and psychologically tormenting elements directly related to your experience in deafness, wouldn't want to be in your head! You did not choose the ci for yourself and do not feel the need, but you were FATHER enough to offer the choice to your son, amazing.

I admire you for being openminded and listening to the stories people have to tell based on their lives and their children's lives. Just as you have been listening to my story, I have been listening to your comments, your passion and obvious love for Deaf culture. YOU have made me want to learn more about the Deaf community and I intend to give this to my son...this is such a no-brainer. NOTHING about choosing the cochlear implant is a no-brainer, especially when you have an eight year old telling you he is PROUD of who he is and who you are as a Deaf individual...especially because "He has deaf role models of all ages surrounding him at home and in the deaf community." My son has never had such role models.

Mark, I wanted my son to have the cochlear implant because he could not EXPRESS himself, I needed to give him every opportunity to have a VOICE. Your son has a VOICE and he obviously knows how to use it, so rest easy that you have done everything possible to help your child through this difficult time, you are growing together. Today's decisions may not be tomorrow's decisions, but the important part is that you are deciding together.

Sending a big old bacio your way,

PS. No, I am not an audist and your words really touched me...thank you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jodi,

Long time... ;-)

Can't believe what an incredible coincidence that you blogged about something I just blogged about today but in a different vein. I read Mark's post and here's what I wrote to him:

"I'm an admirer of Jodi's "An American Mom in Tuscany" blog as well and came across her post mentioning yours here tonight. As a bilateral cochlear implant user and a mother of a bilaterally implanted daughter, it would seem that I am an audist at first glance, but I truly believe that I am not.

I wrote a message on this morning offering resources/ideas for ways to help a parent decide whether to have cochlear implant surgery for their child. It is posted on my blog here. Although it was the right choice for me and my daughter, I made sure that my article was unbiased and purely an informational piece for parents who may be thinking about it.

As your story clearly illustrates, cochlear implants are not the answer for every child and family regardless of the child's eligibility. School staff, medical professionals and others can certainly suggest the idea to parents, but they should not be involved in the decision-making unless they've been solicited to do so by the parents.

I am really impressed with what you have written here about how deeply rooted you are in Deaf Culture and yet how open-minded you have been about allowing your son to be part of the decision. My daughter's first implant surgery was when she was 6 years old and we made the decision for her. Soon after, bilateral studies in adults came out and doctors encouraged having the second ear done. She was about 9 when we brought it up with her and she flat out refused because she remembered being nauseous and sick after the first surgery. We did not push her, but at one point she took it upon herself to start asking questions of several professionals and began to mull it over on her own. She came to us just before she turned 11 and said she wanted to do the other ear. I am in agreement with you that when a child is able to understand the implications of surgery and is well informed, then they should be part of the decision-making process."

Jodi, your blog posts make me smile, tear up and laugh out loud. Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jodi,

Wow, that was really nice, many thanks!

You have the gift of being able to write in such a way that readers -- even those who have done differently, as I have -- are at ease with what you have to say, and are thus better able to appreciate your message.

As a parent I fully relate to a lot of what you say. There's nothing as rewarding as raising kids AND at the same time there's nothing as mind-boggling! We'll never have all the answers. Or, when we finally figure out the answers, our kids move on and find more questions. Gotta love it!

Thanks again and take care :)

Best regards,