Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hear Ye, Hear Ye.

Ethan will hear.
Ethan. Will. Hear.
Dr. Brad called last night. The updated CT scan I sent revealed that the facial nerve is protected 360 degrees by bone, all but eliminating the risk of facial paralysis and qualifying Ethan for atresia repair surgery. Further, while (any) imaging is insufficient to show exactly what's going on with Ethan's middle ear bones, Dr. Brad insisted that if he could not make the natural bones do what they need to do, he would use prosthetics which should provide a similar result. According to Dr. Brad, a synthetic solution would net an estimated 35 dB threshold (natural bone yields about 25 dB, unimpeded hearing ranges from 0 - 25). Plus he cited a recent study done by someone somewhere in Asia that shows no long-term differences between the two methods, so it's all good. Then he said a lot more stuff, but I confess I didn't comprehend or don't remember most of it. I kinda stopped listening. My son will hear. The details seem like nutritional information on a cake box. Blahblahblah grams of sugars, blahblahblah carbs, blahblahblah FUCK THIS, LET'S EAT SOME CAKE! If I were en route to the gallows and the governor called to say it had all been a big mistake and I was free to go and by the way I hit PowerBall, I would not have been happier than I was to talk to Dr. Brad. 'Nuf said.

We're moving forward. What an amazing place to be.
Since I've been old enough to take vacations, I've marveled at the two distinct kinds of excitement involved: Being there and getting there. Being there was hit or miss, depending on how my experience reconciled with my expectations. But getting there -- which I understood to include every minute from genesis of the idea to the actual moment of arrival -- that never disappointed. Getting there was always perfect, as is this time. In this time we are perfect in our optimism. We have no beef with any insurance company. We aren't wishing the results of surgery had been better. We don't know of any scarring that may require follow up surgeries. We don't know the potential for infection. We don't know anything, save that Ethan will hear. All ye know on earth and all ye need to know.
And Ethan knows it too. Last night he and I took advantage of some rare alone time and talked. "Eth, what would you think if I told you I know a doctor who can fix your ear. Would you like that?"
"Good, because daddy just talked to one of the best doctors in the whole world and he would LOVE to fix it so you can hear with your small ear."
"Can the doctor give me a new ear?"
"Well, this doctor can make it so you can hear. But daddy knows another doctor who can give you a new ear and I promise we'll go see that doctor next. So after you see these two doctors you'll be pretty much like every other kid. Would you like that?"
So quiet. I confess I was a little disappointed by his lack of enthusiasm. My mind went to that parent place: he may not understand this now, but he'll thank me for it later. I was just about to get up and get Thomas out of the shower when Ethan jumped up and grabbed me around the neck. He squeezed me so tight I heard cracking.
"I love you, daddy."
"I love you, too, baby."
"Because I don't like kids saying about my ear."
"I know, baby. We'll make it better. Daddy promises."

Funny, a few weeks ago when I thought Ethan was inoperable and I was waiting for the final word, I wondered what I'd write about it or if I'd even continue this blog. I had a rough opening paragraph outlined, considered a few observations I could include ... hell, I even went so far as to pick the closing quote. It would have been Robert Hunter's lyrics from one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, Box of Rain: "Walk into splintered sunlight. Inch your way through dead dreams to another land." I attended a conference in San Francisco a few weeks after 9/11 where we were invited to write messages to the survivors and victims' families on giant postcards. Those were the words I chose to write. That's how much they mean to me, how strongly I believe them. And this is how euphoric I am that (for now) they remain irrelevant to Ethan's situation. This is how it feels to be moving forward.

"The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it." -- Michel de Montaigne

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