Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!! Sticky Situation...

When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of its red leaves, you will not see all the others. When the eye is not set on one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number of leaves are visible to the eye without limit. But if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there.

(Takuan Soto)

Wahoooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's Halloween!!!!!! Love, love, love Halloween!!!
Last year I craved candy corn, and fb friends took care of me to the point where if I NEVER see another piece of candy corn- I'll be just fine. (I'm still in debt for some chocolate for two Amys- I had the packages all ready to send but Sofia Madyson ruined that)
This year I craved caramel apples. Noooooooo caramel apples round these parts, so I asked the fb mammas for some help- and the recipes started pouring in. Love facebook!
And so does Sofia Madyson!

Here's the recipe:
Buy some caramels (I found something close enough here in Italy called- Mou)
Throw them in a saucepan with a piece of butter and half a cup of milk
Melt it all up
Dip apples with sticks.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!! So easy!!!!!

And fun...finally, something FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Halloween to All- Live it up and stash some candy away for us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Peace...Funny

How can people expect there to be World Peace when there is war within families? And families love each other. In my house there is no peace.
I have six kids running around at all times. Sibling rivalry. Video games blasting and a dog and a cat who will never get along.

Me, myself and I? Peace...funny. Between screaming kids, fighting animals, other stuff, work, emails, bills, friends you thought were friends but who really weren't friends, relationships of all varieties and inner conflict..Peace???? I can't even get along with myself.


Then, of course there is the Deaf community. Ci users vs. Anti-Ci radicals. Neverending debates, insults, war.
Peace? Go take a walk down youtube ci video lane and read the comments.
(In any case, check out this post: World Deaf Information Project Launches. It is truly remarkable...)

Yet...we must fight for world peace. What an impossible, idealistic crock of shit.




I do believe.

The love generation had the best idea- Make Love, not war, then someone dropped the AIDS bomb and blew that possibility to Never Neverland.

And so...

I don't know.

Just one of those days that requires a nutella milkshake.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ladies Night

Yesterday, I went with my friend and two of her friends to spend a girls' day out. I met them at the designated place, and when I arrived, all I could see were three hot blondes. I smiled and said, "Hello hot ones! Are we ready?"

My girlfriend looked at me and rolled her eyes.

She asked me how things were going, that's when I rolled my eyes.

Then, we sat on the little bench made of concrete and turned our faces to the sun.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, sun...for the first time in a while.

Each smiling blonde had a story to tell and each of us encouraged each other, patted each other on the back and laughed at every single tragedy imaginable.

My girlfriend was lookin' hot in a tight gray sweater, short gray skirt and sheer black pantyhose. She adjusted her glasses, stuck out her chest, proud of those perfect breasts- well-earned and strutted her stuff. We smiled and complimented her, we love her. She is an old soul, one of those special people who has experienced so much pain, yet who continues to appreciate life and who demands to live it.

A woman in a white uniform came outside and called her name.

My friend looked at us terrified. Three blinding smiles...she smiled back, threw back her shoulders and went to get her MRI.

The three of us turned our faces to the sun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Funny Bone

When I was a little girl, I used to suck my thumb on my purple and white checked Raggedy Ann blanket. I could not fall asleep without holding it against my cheek. Throw me where you would, all I needed was that blanket. No kiss goodnight necessary, just the blanket.

That blanket lasted until I was eighteen years old, the thumb-sucking stopped when I was three. The moment I threw it out, and shed a tear, I snuck into my sister's room and found its replacement, a blue and red checkered bigger blanket that I sleep with to this day. It is the only thing I own that I do not share with my kids, although every now and then, when they're sick, I let them fall asleep with it.

When I go to conferences, I take Sofia's security blanket to have a piece of my kids with me at all times. Sleeping alone in hotel rooms can be a liberating experience, but it's nice to have a little bit of home with me wherever I go.

Sometimes all it takes is a stare, a sentence, a movement or a text message to change your life. Other times it takes a lifetime to bring about change. Depends on the person, depends on you.

You can change your hair, your wardrobe, your car, your house and the songs on your laptop, or you can think long and hard about why you are dissatisfied with your life. Sometimes people grasp onto another person as a tool to give them the strength to change, and they idealize this person as the motivation for this incredible change. Before doing this, look in the mirror and realize that you are the change you are trying to be..not that other person.

Human beings have an enormous capacity to love unconditionally, but so many times we forget to love ourselves.

At some point in the middle of the night, Sofia Madyson climbed into bed with me. When I awoke out of a dead sleep and turned over, I found curls. I wrapped that sleeping girl in my blanket and snuggled her up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life's Little Lessons

Love, love this video. I was talking about the lack of daily smiles in the gray region of Tuscany a couple of blogs back- no sunflowers bloomin' in the near vicinity- and this video reminded me of my first Halloween in this place. Allow me to say that only in the last three years have the Tuscans figured out that Halloween is an occasion for "fun" and not Satan. I am living in Pope country. They still don't get the fact that children can dress up as princesses and clowns and not just blood-dripping vampires and mummies from hell. Give 'em another three years and they'll get it together.

Anyway, my first Halloween here, I didn't realize that it was only an American holiday, so I dressed up thirteen month old Jordan as a smurf. I should have had a clue when I went searching for Halloween costumes and there were none to be found. Anyway, I painted Jordan blue, and I threw on a witch's hat, because obviously I was the mother witch, strapped him in his stroller and off we went around town. I kid you not, half the people looked us up and down, did not change their facial expression and walked on. The other half didn't even look at us.

There we were, Jordan's first Halloween, smurfed up and ...NOTHING!!!!
Then, I started getting pissed off. How was it possible that not even an old grandma type would look at my adorable smurfy boy and SMILE!!!!!

So, I forced myself to smile first and...


People smiled back.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Strength in Weakness

It never fails that people smash your face in the mud when you are at your weakest moment. Sometimes, it's the people that you care about the most who do this and they do it the best because they aim straight for those areas where they think they can destroy. And sometimes they do. Sometimes for a brief moment they leave you naked blowing in the chilled air. When you have been so down at certain times in your life that you truly feel you will never get back up...and do- you learn the meaning of strength.

I went to Pisa today and spoke to the mom of a deaf child who had received a cochlear implant a week ago. She and her husband were waiting to be discharged. I sat and watched as the father whistled and yelled to get his child's attention. The child could not hear yet the father insisted.

The mom told me her story...He was her third child and at nine months, six days of pregnancy she called her gynecologist to be admitted urgently to the hospital, she felt like something was wrong. He told her to go home and wait. She did. Eight hours later, something was wrong and they called 911. The placenta detached and her baby remained without oxygen for two and a half hours. She sat in agony in the brand new hospital on a bed in the hall for fifteen minutes because the EMTs couldn't find the elevator. Her baby is a living miracle. Despite all of this, he is okay...just deaf.

Her husband is in denial and insists that he hears, even after having gone through the ci surgery. The mother has gone to every doctor visit herself, informed herself and fought for her child's needs...herself. I hugged her and she let it all loose. While she is weak and lost, she is strong for her child...and her husband in denial.

Twenty minutes later I met an adult with progressive hearing loss. I actually met him through an Italian Forum and when he asked me for information about Pisa, I told him I'd meet him there to answer any questions he may have. He was there with his wife- THE MOST ADORABLE COUPLE! We've had some discussions here about deaf and hearing couples, they were so in sync with each other and she kept saying, "I just want him to be happy."

I sat there through an audiological exam of speech comprehension aided and unaided. Such an intelligent, brilliant man. Watching him perform the testing with and without his hearing aids gave me a clear idea of how his hearing loss affected him psychologically. We sat and talked after the exam, and he told his wife how people think that Deaf people are stupid. She disagreed. He explained that while he was walking in the hall, his boss said something to him in passing that he wasn't able to understand. He asked his boss to repeat what he had said and his boss replied, "Is it possible that it's so hard for you to understand anything?" This man responded, "I need you to repeat what you said because I am deaf, not because I am incapable of understanding."

He goes through this difficulty every day of his life. People around him try to render his hearing loss a weakness, but he is a strong enough individual to explain it and educate those around him.

The cochlear implant will change this man's life and he is a candidate. He will gain that extra amount of hearing that will enable him to talk on the phone with confidence. I told him I will be present at the first speech comprehension exam he takes with his newly activated cochlear implant just to see the look on his face after eleven years of adapting to this new condition, eleven years of battling ignorance.

We all fight battles on a daily basis and we all have moments of weakness. Never underestimate the capacity of the human spirit to turn that weakness into an immeasurable display of strength.

One more thing...add another Italian region (Puglia) that will now be performing the Newborn Hearing Screening. Yes, we're playing dominoes here in Italy.

Photo c/o

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dreams and Reality

There are people who dream, plan, work and achieve.

There are people who dream, plan, work and never achieve, yet who manage to grow and evolve in the process of following that dream.

There are people who dream and do nothing. They talk a lot and every now and then refer to those dreams...but they remain stagnant. Their feet are so stuck in the earth that lifting a toe becomes painful- unless they have someone to hold their hand and guide them...

Then, there are those people who discover their child is deaf at four months of age and find that they must modify the dreams they once had given the new situation. I had a family call me this morning...very touching moment after a hellish morning in the house. Every time I'm about to go off the deep end for something so stupid, I receive a phone call from another family that snaps me back into action. Beautiful parents who want the best for their child, struggling through a series of emotions and putting them on the back burner to gather as much information as possible as quickly as possible. I told them they are so lucky to have found out so soon and that they have time to breathe and to become informed. The mom told me she saw various videos of Jordan and that they helped her find some peace in this that...

It's fall here in Tuscany and the sun tends to hide behind the clouds a little too often for my wants and needs. The faces of the people start to reflect that gray light and they smile so much less often. Kind of like hibernation in motion. When I feel myself becoming that shade of gray, I try to rebel, but it is so damn oppressive.

Yesterday evening, Jordan went to the amusement park with his friend Simone...ALONE! I dropped them off, said a prayer, and returned at 7 to pick them up. They were exactly where they needed to be at 7 on the dot...because they had run out of money:=) They talked the entire ride home, excited, because for the first time, they were both on their own with all the other adolescents- kind of like going to the mall to hang out without your parents for the first time. I asked Jordan if he was careful with his processor on the rides and he said yes. (He slept at his friend's house last night and when I walked in an hour ago to pick him up, my friend said, "Jordan, confess!" Apparently, Jordan's processor fell off while they were on the BUMPER CARS and by miracle was not smashed and destroyed. I kicked him in the butt, and thanked God)

Anyway, Jordan's growing up and doing typical teenage stuff..warms a Mamma's heart.

Since Jordan went to the amusement park yesterday, I took Sofia to the movies today. We saw FAME!!!! I am reborn. I'm quitting my job, returning to the USA and joining a School for the Arts to become a famous singer. Ok, not happening, but I am currently looking around town to see if anyplace has karaoke. You know, the film was gray. The school, gray...just like the atmosphere where I live. But there was a major difference.

The characters were brilliant and the spirit of the film...rainbow. This place lacks spirit and passion. If you have new ideas, initiative and exuberance...they fear you and try to crush you. This is the fundamental difference between Italy and the USA- spirit.

Now, when I heard this song during the movie, I had this bizarre emotional reaction as if this song was part of a traumatic moment from my past. I don't remember which traumatic moment, but I believe I must have found it motivational. Maybe it's the title- "On My Own"- highly appropriate given the circumstances.

In any case, I loved the movie, the spirit of the movie, and I loved that I held Sofia's hand the entire time. I snuck cuddles and kisses every now and then as I watched her little six year old eyes dreaming of becoming a star...
And as we well know...anything is possible.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I have passion for my kids and my job...but there's a void in other departments. I don't really notice those departments right now, but I guess that's normal. Maybe there are passages that we must go through where we fulfill ourselves...ourselves. Interesting concept.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For the Mom who Sent me a Letter...

John's mom sent me this upon request. I try to help others...she really helps me.

John's Valedictorian Speech (it was even more impressive to hear him deliver it - I can't watch the video without both laughing and crying) -

...Good evening, fellow graduates, administrators, faculty and staff, family members and friends of the Class of 2009. It is an honor to speak here tonight on this momentous occasion, and I congratulate the students for having made it this far.

Tonight is a big turning point for all of us. As we leave behind our beloved high school for good, I think it appropriate to reflect back on some of the most important things that I’ve learned. While it might not be the same for everyone, my own path has led me to the following conclusions that serve me well.

The first is this: everybody has something to overcome. No one gets off the hook when life hands out its challenges. For some, that hurdle isn’t always clearly defined or easily recognized. When you listen to some of Def Leppard’s songs, there’s no way to tell that the drummer, Rick Allen, only has one arm, having lost the left one in a car accident. Only after learning this detail can you truly begin to appreciate his skill and talent. Other people have their own burdens to deal with, from racial discrimination to economic strain to physical or mental limitations, and much more.

With me, it’s easy to tell what my hurdle was – I’m deaf.

But the most important thing to remember is that when you judge people around you, there is always more to them than meets the eye. No one can be put in a box, no matter how hard you try. You may be surprised when that person demonstrates extraordinary character, just as everyone was amazed when Rick Allen came back from his accident to help release Def Leppard’s most successful album.

This leads to another conclusion:

Focus on what you can do, and not on what you can’t.

This is akin to maintaining a healthy optimism. It’s the only way to truly succeed, in little ways and big. One example I’d like to call attention to is that of Gene Simmons. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, he was and still is the bass guitarist for the rock band Kiss. Now, not to offend any devout fans here, but in terms of musical genius and talent, Kiss is not the greatest band. Yet they were a sensational hit in the 1970s and 80s. Why? Because Gene Simmons realized that his abnormally long tongue, one that could stretch beyond the point of his chin, in addition to stage makeup and antics such as flaming guitars, attracted a solid fan base that filled seats at concerts. Despite his lack of musical talent, Gene Simmons helped make Kiss tremendously successful. While this may seem a little unorthodox, it’s a lesson worth learning.

When I was first diagnosed with my hearing loss, many experts told my parents that it would be best to learn sign language and to forget about trying to talk. I have my parents to thank for their perseverance – they refused to give in and found others who were willing to focus on my abilities, rather than my disability. I started learning to speak at the age of four, but from there I took language and flew with it, and now I’m here speaking to you today. It’s a somewhat ironic outcome when you consider the beginning. That’s how I personally know that focusing on your capabilities, rather than the things that could hold you back, will pull you through anything.

Inevitably, though, there comes a time where you can’t do it by yourself. An important tenet of success is not to be afraid to ask for help. Bon Jovi was and is a huge worldwide musical success, having sold more than 120 million albums. But they really didn’t take off until their third album, Slippery When Wet. What separated that album from the first two was that Bon Jovi enlisted the help of a songwriter named Desmond Child in writing their next batch of songs. The result? Overwhelming success. Clearly, the help of a single person made all the difference.

For me, I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t have had the chance to stand here and speak today if it hadn’t been for the help of others:

my parents, of course, my sisters, my entourage of hearing and speech professionals, including Kenmar Alexander, Cindy Sadonis, Stephanie Garber, Suzette Wolfe, Deb Hildebrand, and Amber Gardner, all my teachers over the years for their support, most notably Sara Vines, Terry Mattson, and Laura Stump, and all the others who influenced and shaped me as I made my way to this point. They are many. And I owe all of them a lot.

There’s this quote from track I like that I think applies here: “You didn’t prove the many who thought you couldn’t - wrong; you proved the few who thought you could- right.”

I’m proud that I was able to fulfill all those people’s efforts and dedication – it makes the struggle worth every bit. I can say with certainty, don’t hesitate to ask for help. And don’t hesitate to help others as you leave Stuarts Draft High School, because you never know what that person could end up achieving.

Finally, I’d like to encourage each of you to have faith.

To have faith in yourself, to be able to rely on and trust others, and to be willing to place yourself completely in God’s hands are essential for your wellbeing, your successes, and your happiness in the life ahead of you. Remember from the book of Mark, Chapter 10, Verse 27: “With God, all things are possible.”

Thank you, congratulations once more, and good luck, Class of 2009.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Shoulder

Sometimes we are a shoulder, and sometimes we need a shoulder...but what happens when we become the shoulder? What happens when we become the shoulder for others to the point where our shoulders become so broad that we forget that we, too, need a shoulder? So, instead of asking for help, we lash out to cover our own vulnerability? Because we don't ask for help, we live our lives offering it.

When we are so used to living life with the weight of the world on our shoulders and suddenly that weight is lifted, we feel so light that we require something heavy to crash on our heads to restore balance. Once balance is restored, we can breathe once again...badly. Learning to accept what is good in life, periods of calm and peace give us time to regroup and restore energy lost in battling and suffering. Unfortunately, those periods are few. But when you are so smashed, ten hours of non-stress is like an air-gulping free for all and sometimes that's all it takes to get you through another ten hours.

I have always been a strong person. I have taken on a new culture, new friends, new language, problems, disability, taking driver's ed for the second time in my life, speech therapy, emergency room allergy attacks in another language, childbirth without an epidural and cochlear implant surgery, but this...this is some wicked shit.

I believe that there is good in all people and I have always managed to bring out that good in people. For the first time in my life, I am responsible for bringing out the bad...

I have found that I can no longer be the shoulder...and that every now and then, I could use one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009



Middle School...the absolute without a doubt worst years of my life. After Jordan's 13th belated birthday party, I'm considering going back.


His class is THE BEST!!! We danced to "I Will Survive" and sang into a broom.
While the boys were boys...

The girls kind of snobbed 'em, and they had every reason, I mean when I was in sixth grade I was playing 7 in Heaven with Michael Shafer or at least Spin the Bottle...the boys in Jordan's class...War.

As I've said before, Jordan attends a Middle School specializing in Music, so we whipped out the electric guitar and Martina played Mamma Mia, Imagine and Smoke on the Water...gotta love a girl who rocks it out!

I've been trying unsuccessfully for the past three years to make her my daughter-in-law...I will not give up.
I have no idea what they were thinking, but at one point they did this...

Oh God, your worst nightmare.

About halfway through the festivities I took a break to get some toilet greatest fear is to be left without toilet paper. I ran into my friend who had a tragedy, literally, occur last Sunday. He was riding a horse with his son in front of him when the horse became agitated and his six year old son fell off the horse right before his eyes. He landed on his face and for thirty seconds was motionless. My friend sat there holding his rigid six year old son...praying. Fear. Impotency. What goes through your mind as you hold your lifeless son?

We stood and talked for a half an hour. His son is home and doing okay. My friend is not doing okay. He has been reliving that moment since it happened. Over and over again. Life is so precious. Our kids are even more precious. I used to live my life with no fear, worked until all hours of the night, partied until all hours of the night until I had Jordan. From the moment I gave birth to him, I felt fear, because for the first time in my life, I felt responsible for another human being. My world was no longer egocentric, it completely revolved around this tiny human being.

As we struggle to pay the bills, question relationships and drown in so many self-made tragedies, we lose sight of just how truly fortunate we are, we lose our focus. Talking to him, I saw such a vulnerable look in his eyes, but I also saw a person who without a doubt gets up in the middle of the night to kiss his son as he sleeps, who looks at his other two kids with a new vision and who needs time to work through his trauma.

I walked back home with a heavy heart and found this scene...

Yes..that's correct-Italian middle school students dancing the YMCA.

I am the luckiest.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Left Field

Playing sports teaches you how to be a part of a team, enables you to find self-motivation, brings out the competitive edge, determination and the desire to achieve not only for yourself but for your team. You learn how to lose with dignity and how to win gracefully. You watch your teammates and cheer their progress or encourage them in times of weakness.

You step up to the plate prepared to hit a homerun and you strikeout...but you get back up to bat even more determined the next go round..and maybe instead of trying to slam the ball, you set your mind on that base hit. While running the bases, you trip, fall and pick yourself back up, because your team is depending on you, but most of all, you never want to remain with your nose in the dirt.

Loss after loss, and I have always been on losing teams, you learn to concentrate on each team member's personal victories and every minor accomplishment becomes something enormous to celebrate.

*Game Face*

A curve ball is like the shit that comes at you from left field- when you least expect it, expect it. And then there are those times when you take a hard-thrown fastball in the stomach, slightly flinch and play on.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dirty Laundry!!!

I had to share a facebook thread here. I asked the question, "How many people hang their clothes on the clothesline?" Come clean.

These were the responses:

Bachelor number 1: Clothesline? I launch them on the sofa :P
Various friends and moms...
* The air in Baltimore is too dirty, I'd have to re-wash them.
* Never - the air is so humid they would never dry. I do hang most of my shirts and nightgowns on hangers on the shower rod for them to dry as I don't like putting them in the dryer. I used to do the line thing in the 70s...stiff blue jeans are NO fun :-)
* I did for 2 years when I lived in St Lucia (after washing my clothes by hand!) Don't miss it one bit! Especially sheets!
* What's a clothes line? (My mom-lol)
* Used to-yard not big enough's a deck and parking pad...old B-more row home ya know :)
* I had to do that my entire childhood for my large family (it was my job as the only girl - yes, I grew up in a sexist, mysogynistic family) so when I got married I pulled a Scarlett O'Hara. (As God is my witness, I will never hang clothes on a clothesline again!)
* There is a family in the court across the street from me, that hangs their clothes out everyday on a rack or their satellite dish...

This response, I loved so, so much:
I do most days. I like the smell of nature and sunshine in my clothes. Got into the habit from travel abroad. And there's something old school about it that I love, too. Especially in New Orleans, near the river, Ole' Miss. I have indoor and outdoor clotheslines. Besides, you can't put hand washables in the dryer most of the time. Actually, i don't understand how people go w/o hanging clothes on a clothesline? They don't have hand-washables or gentle fabrics that can't go in the dryer?

However, I will say there is a HUGE difference between hanging SOME of one's clothing out to dry vs ALL of one's clothing. You don't have a dryer, Jodi? I think it's awesome seeing everybody's clothing hanging out to dry in other parts of the world :*) There's nothing more intimately, neighborly than seeing everyone else's undies hanging out there for the world. I remember that feeling from living in Spain!!

Well, I will say that we are definitely, intimately, neighborly around here. Luca once said while hanging skimpies, after I dropped about 30 pounds..."Every man should hang clothes!" Hilarious.

Hanging clothes is one of the most intimate things a person could ever do. One lives a variety of emotions when handling certain items, however the most beautiful of clotheshanging experiences is hanging your children's clothes...and watching them grow.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walk a Kilometer in My Shoes

When two people have shared shoes, all it takes is a glance and there is a common understanding. When two people have rolled up the same sleeves, pulled at the earth with raw hands and listened to the same music on the ipod, there is synchronicity.

During the meeting with the regional representatives, I met a pediatrician, mother of twins both implanted at two years of age. We hugged at the end of the meeting. Every now and then we would catch each others' eyes and smile.

Anne, a friend I met through the Ci Circle who works miracles on the Italian forum came to visit the hotel while I was in Rome, so finally I met two of her three kids, one who has a cochlear implant. She stayed for an hour...enriching experience. She will never know how thankful I was to see her and to talk ci kids, ci surgeons and life...

I received a phone call today from the mother of a child who is having problems with his Clarion implants. There is an infection, the child has been over-medicated by doctors who are refusing to take out the implant to the point where he has a new medical condition. WTF? We talked and instead of being compassionate, I got pissed off. I cannot stand when the medical community tries to cover its ass instead of helping a child. This mother has been suffering for years with this situation that has occurred repeatedly. In the USA there are class action lawsuits underway and in Italian, on line, I found only one case reported.

I don't really want to stir something up...but I will if someone doesn't do something to help this mom.

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."