On Friday I made a call to the surgery scheduler for the Otolaryngology Clinic at our local children’s hospital. We have made the decision to try to implant Gigi’s left cochlea again. She called back today. We are on the schedule for re-insertion of a left-sided cochlear implant on March 16th.
Yes, after everything Gigi went through, after nearly dying, we’re going to try again.
I understand what a controversial decision this is. I know what it must look like to someone who is on the outside looking in. I’ve typed this 18 times, some of the first drafts of this post were defensive and so angry, some were apologetic, others were just sad.
I’m all of those things. I don’t know that I’m making a choice that honors what Gigi will want in the future. Our goal for Gigi has always been bilingual and bicultural, but that is OUR goal for Gigi. I don’t know what she will want. All I can do is study the research. So much research. Research about literacy. Research about social isolation. Research about family relationships between hearing and Deaf siblings. I have found it and read it all.
I’ve made the best choice I can for a child who is caught between two worlds.
The hearing world has no idea why this is such a controversy. You’d want to “fix” your kid if something was “wrong” with them wouldn’t you? The Deaf community wonders why I adopted this child in the first place if I view her as someone who needs fixing?
These are valid questions.
My answer lies somewhere in the middle. I don’t think of Gigi’s deafness as a disability. Much like I don’t view Bowen’s Dwarfism as a disability in the broadest sense of the word. Her deafness, his Dwarfism, neither will have an effect on either child’s life expectancy. But, the world wasn’t made for either people who can’t hear, or people of short stature. They struggle so badly. Both of them have, and will continue to, be viewed as less than. I am only looking to give them tools to help level the playing field.
A cochlear implant is to Gigi what rods in Bo’s legs are to him. Bo has curving in his legs. He will move easier in this world if we, when it is needed, straighten the bending in his legs. I am not looking to lengthen Bowen’s limbs (yes, that is a thing). I am merely looking to help him walk easier in the world.
If I can give Gigi some access to sound, this will help her walk easier in the world.
Isn’t that what every mom wants for her baby?
–FullPlateMom, who will delete all negative comments or references to “cultural genocide.”