Tomorrow Ethan and I head back to UVA to:
a) get (what's left of) his post-surgical packing removed,
b) get his first post-op hearing test, and
c) hopefully get a clean bill of health or some absolution that will allow him to run and/or jump and/or do SOMEthing besides sit quietly, eyes forward with his hands folded and feet flat on the floor.
Don't get me wrong, Ethan's been a real trooper about staying relatively still. But the weather's breaking here. The sun stays out just the tiniest bit longer each night. The air smells healthy, inviting. Millions of years of evolutionary instinct are urging him to fire himself upon the landscape -- probe it, master it, stake his claim to it. And it's killing me to have to stop him (even if part of the reason it's killing me is that I want to be out there, too). But it would kill me more if he ended up falling on his head and shaking some shit loose in there before it had a chance to heal properly. Having to go to Charlottesville twice was trying. Three times might break me.
For those who asked for an update on Ethan's progress, here are my layman's observations:
When Ethan could only hear out of one ear, he couldn't tell where sound was coming from. Most times it wasn't an issue, but once in a while I'd be standing right behind him and call his name and he'd look someplace else. I realized he was looking where he'd last seen me -- where he was expecting I'd be. In a white-noise-rich environment, he would often withdraw. Even in our own house when Thomas and Sandi were talking on the other side of the room, if he and I were 3 feet apart, facing each other, he would have trouble understanding me.
That has changed. Even with a substantial amount of dressing still crammed in his earhole, the difference is amazing. Of course he still ignores me when I tell him to do shit, but his brain is quickly learning how to locate the source of a sound even if he can't see it. So now he can willfully ignore me where I stand. He can also pick individual voices out in a crowd. He joins conversations. He tells jokes. He asks for things. He answers questions. His confidence is skyrocketing. He is engaged. He is ... normal. God, after tomorrow? Without the 6 pounds of gauze stuffed into his ear? Oh, it's so fucking on. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to our conversations on the ride home.
Speaking of the ride, most of our day -- about 9 hours -- will be spent on the road tomorrow while the actual appointments will take about an hour or so. That's one long-ass day, kids. I don't think I can go that long without doing something that's not driving. So here's my plan: I'm going to break up the monotony with the hand-held video camera I told you about before. With it, Ethan and I are going to make an homage to our road-trip. When I get home tomorrow I'll edit and upload for you all. Think Jack Kerouac, but with more substance. Jack Ear-ouac, coming soon to a bargain bin near you.
That's a long way to go to set up such a shitty joke. Sorry.
"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?" -- Jack Kerouac