I met a father the other day who has a young son with a cochlear implant. He is doing well one year on – still struggling, but hearing better. The thing is, his first implant didn’t work. The surgeon had to do a second – a second operation and a second recovery coupled with a nagging concern that perhaps the second one wouldn’t work either. His dad talked about how hard it was not knowing what the outcome would be but they decided as a family that it was worth a try. And I know of another family of four that can count six implants in their family including two each for the parents as well as one for each child. Neither of the initial implants for the parents worked.
I was thinking about these two families this morning. When I reread last week’s post, it was with a touch of envy that the person who wrote about her cochlear implant could hear music right away. I was feeling rather sorry for myself as music is still a huge challenge for me. But that pales with the challenge of the youngster who was faced with a second surgery and the parents of two deaf children who surely wondered if they should put their children through major surgery knowing that it might not work.
I had no misgivings at all. It literally did not occur to me that the implant wouldn’t work. And aside from a few weeks of balance problems and the music issue, I have made steady progress. When I met the father of the young boy this past week, he talked about how courageous he felt I was for getting an implant at my age. But in my view, it is his son who is the courageous one to decide to go through this – twice.
A matter of perspective indeed.