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Jack’s Journey - Operation and switch on

Thursday 10 October 2013 

Cochlear implant operation at Gillies Hospital, Auckland by Dr Michel Neeff   

The operation was booked for 1pm so Jack was not allowed to eat from 7.30am in the morning. We fed him as much as we could until 7am, and then packed the car and headed up to Auckland. He decided not to have a sleep in the car so it was a long trip trying to keep him amused without food.  We made it to Gillies Hospital at 12.30pm, and then unfortunately we had to wait until 2pm before he was taken through for surgery.  He did pretty well considering he was hungry and tired.  I took him through to the operating theatre which was pretty scary for us both as this was “it”.  It wasn’t just a scan, it was the real thing. 

So exciting but scary. He was very, very well looked after by all the doctors, nurses, anaesthetist, surgeon so that was reassuring.  I left him in their capable hands, had a cry and cuddle with Brad, and then went out to keep busy for an hour.  Then I had to come back to be close. The operation went really well, and the implant was working exactly how Leigh and Claire had hoped which was great news. Jack came back into his room after 5pm sleeping soundly.  He had been given quite a bit of anti-nausea medication, and one of them had a sedative in it, so he will be sleeping for a while.   

He had a big bandage on his head, and was sleeping on the actual left side that had the implant.  He stirred after an hour so I picked him up for cuddles and he continued to sleep on me. We did this until 9.45pm when we put him in his cot, and Brad and I turned our light out to get some sleep.  

Then the fun began: at 10.15pm, he threw up for the first time that night.  The nurse came in and changed his sheets and I kept him on me in my bed, I felt better having him upright for the swelling.  So in between Jack throwing up and having his temp checked, given medication, checking his IV line - I know I didn’t get much sleep.  

By 9am the next day, I had had 1.5 hours sleep. Jack was still pretty miserable and was still not keeping anything in and throwing up so they kept the IV fluids going as with the IV pain relief and antibiotics.  He slept on and off me and Brad all morning but at around 1pm, after the decision was made that we needed to stay another night, he munched on a couple of dry crackers. The first couple of crackers came up, but then he kept wanting more so they eventually stayed down. He even munched on some of my lamb shank I had for dinner.

Jack’s big brother Reid (who is 9 and has moderate to severe and severe to profound hearing loss) and his big sister Mackenzie (who is 11 and is hearing) came to see Jack baring lovely cards and a cute giraffe.   

Jack didn’t sleep for the rest of the afternoon, but just sat on one of our knees eating away and drinking so that was really awesome!  We were all pretty tired by 8pm, Jack fell asleep on a bottle and Brad and  was asleep not long after that!  They did keep up his IV fluids because he hadn’t drunk enough to justify taking it out.  He continued to have medication throughout the night through his IV line as to not wake him (or us) up.

Saturday we were given the all clear to go home. Jack tried to walk but was too wobbly and off balance so had to hold on to one of us, or just sit down.  He decided not to have a sleep in the car which was cool – at least we could feed him when he got grumpy!

Thursday 25 October 2013

Switch-on at Tauranga Hospital with Leigh and Claire

Jack raced down the hallway through the double doors when he saw Claire and gave her a huge cuddle! It was just priceless. The stitches, steri-strip and glue were still intact after 15 days which was amazing.  He wasn’t bothered by the wound at all.  

The switch on was great, but wasn’t like it was the first time Jack had heard sound, so it wasn’t a total surprise when his Grandma called his name and he responded by looking up at her and putting a toy up to his ear, that was priceless. We talked and talked and talked all afternoon.  Jack was happy with the CI for the rest of the day, but then when Saturday came, he didn’t want it on. We put his trusty hat back on and he wasn’t trying to pull it off all the time, until we took his hat off.  

This continued on all weekend, and through the next week – but he was responding to sounds, and when I did the ling test and other games – so what an amazing feeling that has been!

Saturday 2 November 2013

Jack lost the coil magnet for his CI so we couldn’t attach it to his internal processor!  Very frustrated Mum, but luckily I had Leigh’s number on my phone and a friend was in Auckland so we could get a replacement bought down sooner! I was so glad to get it back on Jack, because it is amazing how quickly you stop talking when you know they can’t hear!

Read an update on Jack's Journey - six months post-operation and switch on >