Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Dove

I am terrified to make a wrong move.
My character has been perceived as aggressive.
Hitting the send button is oftentimes a traumatic experience for me.

I think we have a politician willing to help in the Region of Lazio- home to Rome.
He is my facebook friend, clicked in from I have no idea where.
But once we talked about a dove- I had thought it was a pigeon, but it was a dove.
He joined the forum.
He started posting ci articles on the Italian forum and interacting with the members...kind of like I did when I began writing on Deafread.
A stranger with no experience in the sector.
I had forum members react in not a nice way.
They felt like their privacy was being violated.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes we need to open the door to our pain and joy and let others become aware. If I had blocked his participation, it would have been similar to when in the past Deaf Community members shut out ci parents. When, instead we were allowed in...we did not offend, we just presented a different reality.

Turns out he's a politician willing to help, interested in promoting the screening.
He asked me to write a note to present to the Regional meeting.
I slightly panicked, who the hell am I to write a note?
I contacted the two parent associations I know in Rome, and one in another Region of Italy. I collaborated with our pediatric federation representative for Lazio and an ENT researcher I've been collaborating with in Rome.
They all responded within three hours and provided me with history and resources.
I just sent the note.
Hitting the send button was traumatic.
How bad can a politician be who loves doves?

Once upon a time I dreamt of a dove that took me to a white light...I didn't want to leave the light, but I had to. Then I woke up with the sensation that everything was going to be ok.
The day before Jordan's surgery, I walked by a church and saw a dove sitting on the cross. I am not Catholic, but in those situations, you pray to all. And love the dove.
I don't know...there are a lot of babies born in Lazio every year...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Controversy in Italy: LIS vs LMG....Bad Situation

Hi. I have ten minutes to blog, then I have to leave.
But, I've received many emails from the American Deaf Community asking me what is going on in Italy!?
Here's the situation:
The bill to pass LIS (Lingua Italiana dei Segni) as a language, passed the Senate and is now in the House. The ENS which believes to represent all of the Deaf people of Italy would like LIS to be considered the official language of Deaf individuals. The oral community and medical community have a problem with this, and something rather (extremely) ugly has resulted.

The House apparently proposed to change the name "LIS" to "LMG" which would diminish its qualification as a  language.

Really, really terrible idea.
And now there is a protest being organized by the ENS.

This is a really rough explanation of what's going on here. There are radicals on both sides.

My take?
I have absolutely NO problem with LIS being recognized as a language given its history, importance and relevance. I do have a problem with it being considered the "Official Language of the Deaf".
What is TOTALLY unacceptable is changing the name to LMG.

This is not my battle to fight. But, when Deaf individuals contact me requesting that I put information on my Italian Blog, I make myself available.
This is a video I was sent- in LIS. I know that ASL and LIS are not the same, I'd be curious to know just how similar they are...
Love to all...and I really hope they manage to sort this out, because the direction it has taken does not work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jordan and Sofia

Yesterday on the Italian forum a Mom left this comment:
Hi Everyone........my nine year old son already has one cochlear implant and now, by himself, he decided he wants to go for the second one....crossing fingers!
Then, her son, who had requested to join the forum replied:
Here I am! Yes, it's true, I've decided I want another one!

I have read a lot of posts before between the American and Italian groups, but I have NEVER seen a nine year old leave such a comment.

Last weekend I was in the region of Calabria for a pediatric course on screening and audiology. There is no regional law for Newborn hearing screening in Calabria, but during that meeting the Audiologists made an appeal to the pediatricians requesting their support to help pass the screening. I just got an email of a press release about the course highlighting a team approach between Audiologists and Pediatricians in an appeal to regional politicians demanding that the screening be passed. The press release talked about the National Audiology Network stimulating the Screening.

24 hours after that course, I received an email from one of the doctors present. She immediately requested to join the forum and wrote me an email about how important the role of families is in the process.

This is an emotional period for me. I may not have a great, important love in my life right now...but I have this extremely profound love FOR my life right now...and there are people helping me, finally.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Maria Shriver

I have been away stimulating my mind, sharing experiences, informing doctors and learning something from every single person I've met along the way.

During this period I read about the Maria Shriver situation. I read her book, "Just Who Will You Be?" at a particular time of my life. I could not answer that damn question at that moment. It haunted me.

Because at that precise moment in time, I couldn't figure out who I was. A flood of life experiences overwhelmed me, panic ensued, a marriage ended and I found myself in a position of struggle-emotional, financial and basically everything.

I have since discovered who I was; in order to do that, I relived childhood, high school, marriage, becoming a mom and realizing I had a place in this world.

I do not know "who I will be," but I now know who I am.

And that....is half the battle.
Because you just never know when life will throw you a curveball, but you certainly know how you will react if you know damn well who you are.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hats Off to the Italian CI Surgeons...

The mom of a newly diagnosed baby asked the Italian forum: "Where does one go for cochlear implant surgery?"

And the Italian forum responded with 103 comments, each and every comment praising the work of their surgeon, different surgeons, throughout Italy.

I actually, accidentally posted an Italian blog on this blog, but I'm translating it in English, to share it with anyone reading this blog. We all pray for doctors with a human side, not just capable surgeons. A guy left this comment on the forum about one of the Italian surgeons and I just wanted to share it, because too often, we only hear and read about negative situations....

The surgeon's name is Professor Alessandro Martini, Padova:

This is kind of off-topic, but it deserves to be told. I returned from a visit to Padova last Friday, where I was going to see whether or not I was a potential candidate for the cochler implant. No operation for me! I was able to completely gain back what I'd lost using digital hearing aids (I know that most of the time, digital hearing aids don't necessarily provide all that is missing, but I have EVAS and my hearing loss seems to be fluctuating)
Professor Martini was not present at the series of testing, when I was evaluated by his equipe...

20 minutes ago, I received a telephone call. It was Professor Martini who apologized for not having been present at the appointment, and he took the time to explain the results and ensure me that all was proceeding well. He told me that if in the future, I ever needed anything to call him personally.

In this shitty Italy, there are still EXTRAORDINARY and EMPATHETIC SURGEONS capable of making me get all choked up with demonstrations of this type. He is just an incredible person aside from being a well-known scientist and surgeon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Being a Mom is...

Taking advantage of your children while they sleep.
Cooking a different meal for each child, because their tastes are different.
Giving in when they beg on hands and knees with fake tears to go outside, even when you know you are being suckered and they should be in the shower.
Defending your child before a teacher.
Fighting to ensure your child's rights are respected.
Cleaning the dog-shi* off your son's shoe.(two weeks later, as you pray he outgrows the shoes)
Turning off your computer to listen to four songs in Italian...five times.
Sharing your computer so your son can chat on facebook, when you have deadlines to meet.
Leaving work early four days in a row to pick your child up from school because it ended early, and taking him for pizza just you and him.
Dropping your child off for a fieldtrip on a Saturday morning at 6:50 am...and waiting til the bus leaves so you can wave and wave and wave.
Wondering if you will be able to support your two kids alone.
Spending holidays at your ex-in-laws.
Teaching your son how to kiss and warning your daughter to never kiss.
Spying on your son at the bus-stop, because he's complained of a bully.
Giving chocolate to the secretaries of any and all doctors directly related to your child's healthcare.
Dropping your baby off at pre-school and worrying until you pick him up.
Learning to let go and trust that your love has been enough...

Realizing what it meant for your mom to be a mom...
And seeing her through new eyes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Raw Seafood Appetizer

Last night, I was invited to a political dinner. A friend of mine is running for office here in town, and he invited a group of friends to discuss his candidacy. Loved the restaurant, amazing food and good company, except the man sitting next to me kept his back turned the entire dinner. I was introduced as being American, so I thought maybe he thought I didn't speak Italian, but at least people ask me where I'm from to make an attempt at conversation. He did not.

So, my friend and I walked outside between courses and I told him about this man's behavior. My friend asked me if I wanted to change seats, I said no, I would take care of it.

Note: the gentleman in question is an attorney. And the foodserver called him "Avvocato" which means attorney in Italian. The waiter did not call this man by his name the entire dinner. He called him Attorney. And the attorney never said, "My name is...." He just allowed himself to be called Attorney.

This blew me away.

I tried to imagine being out for dinner with my attorney friends, all of us in a big, happy group together and the waiter calling each and every one of them "Attorney."

Italian protocol.

So, anyway,  I returned to my seat. I tapped him on his jacket sleeve and asked, "What's your last name?" He told me. I said, "Oh, I'm not familiar with that name."
He turned his back.
I tapped him on the shoulder again and said, "My last name is Cutler."
He said, "I'll never be able to say that. It's in English."
He turned his back again.
He asked the waiter for more wine and the waiter said, "Ok, Attorney."

He did take the wine bottle and try to pour some wine in my glass.
Very nice. Very gentlemanly.
I will say this: I had an excellent time at the dinner, the group was laid-back and told some great jokes:-) And there was actually an assortment of salts-never seen that before in my life- for the record-I used Pink Himalayan Salt on my potatoes. Delicious.

And I do believe the next time I have a political dinner, I will request that the waiter address me as Mother Jodi.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Silver Lining

Two days ago a mom contacted the Italian forum. Her five month old son had just had his second ABR that indicated profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. She was looking for information on the cochlear implant. I responded to her, and she wrote, "Jodi, we know each other! I was the woman who worked with the Italian publishing company that published Rally Caps. I read the book, so when they told me about my son's diagnosis, I was prepared."


I called my speech therapist to ask her if she could help this family and she said of course. She then told me that she has four new babies under the age of nine months. Unbelievable...the screening is working in Grosseto.

This family's journey will be very, very different than ours. She already knows of all of the possibilities that exist for her son in the year 2011, and she has got an entire forum of support to guide her in this journey.

And it all started with Jordan.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

American Inside

Comment left by an Italian in regard to the USA:
"I am disgusted by what Obama did, that he gave the order for the death of Bin Laden. In this way, he stained his image with this "international murder". To see the Americans celebrating the death of Bin Laden is ridiculous. To think that when the Talebans and Afgans rejoice in the death of an American and we say THEY are Barbarians: now the Americans and Europeans rejoice in the death of Bin Laden..."
These are the types of comments circulating facebook on the Italian side. This is what outsiders see, when they read articles about the American reaction to the news of Bin Laden's death.
I remained silent for 24 hours. 
Then, I began replying to a couple of the comments left. 
I wrote, "Americans are not dancing to celebrate the death in and of itself, rather, they are dancing because for the first time in a long, long time, they feel free to dance."
Ground Zero is the heart of the United States of America, it was laid bare to the world-walls down, but it never stopped beating.
I am profoundly American.
”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” — An Anonymous American