Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Max's Implant Surgery

It's been a while. I've decided that I don't want to spend a lot of time on the months leading up to Max's surgery. I will however say this. Max was fitted with hearing aides and began attending the Auditory Verbal Center of Atlanta before he received his implant. I have no idea how much he could hear with the aides (if anything) and I don't know if they accomplished anything other than making me a nervous wreck with their continuous whistling. In retrospect however, I do know this. Getting an early start, working with Mary Anne at the AVCA was invaluable. Mary Anne got Max started off on the right foot and he hasn't looked back since.

Max remained ear infection free up until the day of his surgery. So on July 15th, 2003 we took 13 month old Max to Eggleston Childrens' Hospital and began his journey as a listening, speaking communicator. What a day! So much pain. So much joy. It's really difficult to describe.

Let's start with the pain. Handing Max over to the surgery nurse is the single most difficult task that I have ever performed in my entire life. I knew that Dr. Todd was one of the most respected pediatric surgeons in the world, but I did not want my baby to be put under for surgery. Period. Especially a surgery that was elective and seemed so invasive. I knew the facts about the low percentage of risk involved, but crap, this was my sweet baby boy and there was a risk! Anyway, Stephanie and I handed Max over, watched him leave with the nurse (I remember it vividly) and wept for the next ten minutes. I'm about to cry now just thinking about it. The surgery took around 3 1/2 to 4 hours, I can't remember exactly. Those were the most miserable hours of my life. No doubt. I was in serious mental pain and didn't want anybody, not even Stephanie to talk to me (a lot immature of me....I know). I did some serious pleading with God during those hours.

Now the joy! What do you know. God, Dr. Todd and my tough boy Max Dylan Hawkins all came through for me. I remember the sweet look on his swollen, bandaged face and head when they wheeled him in to the recovery room. He was breathing and looked like an angel. I remember even more clearly the look in his eyes when he awoke from the anesthesia. He was groggy for sure, but those were Max's wonderful eyes. They were full of wonder, comfort and love. He immediately smiled at all of his balloons, cards, Bert and Ernie and best of all, he smiled at his Mommy and Daddy. That was truly one of the most wonderful moments of my life thus far. In all honesty, it was one of the most wonderful days of my life. How many people get to embrace such a range of emotions in one day and end up with such a miraculous outcome. Max was truly on his way to hearing and speaking! He was on his way to hearing his Mommy and Daddy say, "I love you Max.", while Stephanie and I were on our way to hearing Max say, "I love you Mommy and Daddy." What a truly amazing day!


Debbie/Steve said...

I can understand your fear of putting your precious child under the knife. After being profoundly deaf from birth, the CI was the best thing it has ever happened in my entire life. We (my CI brother) are hearing so many things we have never heard of with our HAs till we both were implanted. WOW, what an incredible CI journey to hear all the amazing sounds that surround us. I can't wait to hear all about his journey.


elizabeth said...

Congratulations! The exciting journey has just begun! Now the hardest part is waiting for activation! We'll all be following and cheering you along at Deaf Village!

Melanie said...

Hooray for Max!