Saturday, October 3, 2009



The past four days spent with Italian pediatricians have been an eye-opening experience...for them and for me. Thursday morning my pediatrician and I had a meeting with fifteen Italian regional representatives, who reported the Newborn Hearing Screening situation region per region. Dramatic. Each and every pediatrician contributed, expressed a desire to become active and presented data. Amazing.

Two hours later, I presented my first speech right after the Minister of Health spoke..before six hundred pediatricians and five public ministers. I spoke of our experience with the American pediatrician who did not listen to us and praised the Italian pediatrician who did his job. But the way in which I spoke of the American pediatrician sent a clear message: "Listen to the mothers who know their children." I told them that Newborn Hearing Screening programs take the responsibility of the diagnosis off of their shoulders and give deaf children opportunities to speak.

They applauded after the cochlear implant activation video, after Jordan's message to the reader in RALLY CAPS, when I thanked the Tuscan Region for their support and for passing pediatric courses on deafness and Newborn Hearing Screening and at the end, when I showed the video of Jordan introducing the Italian Pediatric Audiological Network. I shook about the entire time, yet managed to get through it successfully- I was beyond stressed.

I left the hall to go to the bathroom and a Dr. stopped me. He said, turning red, "Thank you...Thank you. I cried."

*OH MY GOD!!!*

I think I was stopped by a hundred after the fact. Later that night the Tuscan Docs took me to dinner, put me at the head of the table and made me an honorary pediatrician...gotta love those crazy Tuscans! Wine, three pasta dishes, wine, meat, wine, tira mi su...helluva night:)


After one and a half years of insisting, screaming, pleading, meeting, emailing, unreturned calls, fighting and demanding...we reached the moment we had worked towards for so many long months..our Audiological Satellite Symposium. When my cochlear implant surgeon took the podium and began speaking about the screening to the crowd of 200, I lost it. Had to leave the room, extremely emotional experience- so much hard work and there it was, right there, the culminating moment. Then my doctor spoke and reported the Italian data elaborated from the national on line questionnaire adapted from Karl White's study. Finally, I was called to begin my speech.

I stepped up to the podium, backed up away from the microphone and turned sideways so that the audience couldn't see my face. I began speaking in English in a very low voice. The pediatricians began protesting.."Microphone."

I ignored them and continued speaking.

"Microphone, we can't hear you."

I ignored them and continued speaking.


I calmly stepped up to the microphone and asked, "Frustrated?"

Silence. what my son experiences every single day.

Two hours later, I received this sms from my pediatrician: "Jodi, do you remember when we sent the material used to create the Tuscan campaign to Sicily? They applied to the region to develop a Newborn Hearing Screening Program in June. It was just passed. 95 birthing hospitals will now be performing the screening."



Stephen said...

Amazing....truly amazing....soooooooo proud of you!

tammy said...

I have chills Jodi. and tears. You are amazing ... and such an inspiration! Thank you for all you do, from the bottom of my heart!

VBnBama said...

you are brilliant!! love it, love you, amazing.

Debbie said...

Oh Jodi! I'm sitting here with Amelia in the PICU and crying. I am so incredibly in awe of you for climbing this incredible mountain and the brilliance in which you mounted it. You are so f*&#ing smart. What a shining moment for you!!! We're not worthy!!!!! xoxo

Julia said...

Wooohooooo and congratulations! Amazing what can happen when brains and passion come together. It sounds like an overwhelming experience.

Are you still an honorary pediatrician, and if so do you make housecalls?

VBnBama said...

......and you have no idea how many times I've read this! love it.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comments...I've been reliving all of it in my head and have to watch out for oncoming poles:)))))))))
Love you all...
And of course I make house calls.:)

Unknown said...

PS. Debbie, I've abandoned you guys...PICU???? We must speak.

Paula Rosenthal said...

I love how an American woman is shaking up and waking up Italy! You are a heroine. It is time to find some news reporters to write up your story so you can inspire countless others around the world. xo

Tiffani Hill-Patterson said...

You are an amazing mom and amazing woman and amazing advocate! Thank you!

Shehuntstoo said...

Bravo mama!!!!

K.L. said...

Way to go! You will probably never know how many people you have helped. Italy has an American Mom for a national treasure. Kisses and Hugs from Seattle to Tuscany!

Anonymous said...

My favorite part was how you got them to understand how frustrating it is not to hear .....intense!
deb b :)