A Rollercoaster of Events


As soon as we had been told that Hughan may have a hearing problem, it seemed like forever that we were searching for answers.

What was to follow was like a rollercoaster of events.

From this point on we spent a lot of time checking to see if Hughan was responding to noises we were making. He still seemed so young and we were unsure if he was giving a true response to us. This was because he was always a happy and contented baby and he never show any stress when he been exposed to loud noises like the thunderstorms.

When were we going to get our questions answered?

Three weeks later Hughan and I went through to Johannesburg to see the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist, Dr Davidge Pitts. At this first appointment I expressed my concern that Hughan could not hear us and that he was not responding to noises that we were making.

I mentioned that Willem had also noticed that when he came home, from work, and walked into the room where Hughan was, he would call out to Hughan to say hello and he would not turn round or respond to his call.

Dr Davidge Pitts said that Hughan first needed to have grommets fitted in his ears, to help drain the “glue ear” discharge and reduce the pressures in his eardrums. Another appointment was made and we were to return to Johannesburg in five weeks time.

Hughan had his grommets fitted and we then had to wait for another appointment, to see if the grommets had helped. After the surgery, I was given some ear drops to put into Hughan’s ears. I often wondered if these drops were a contributing factor to Hughan’s profound hearing loss as Hughan cried afterwards (the side effect to the drug was hearing loss).

These appointments seemed to be never ending. I was going backwards and forwards from Gaborone to Johannesburg and not getting our questions answered.

By this stage we were very aware that Hughan had a problem with his hearing. Once when I walked into the room with a pot and a wooden spoon and banged it loudly a little distance behind where Hughan was sitting. He had not responded to the sound it made. I then walked into his line of vision and he saw me and burst into tears. He was hungry and he been totally unaware of what I had been doing behind his back.

I took Hughan back to Morning Side Clinic to see Dr Davidge Pitts for his next appointment and to find out if he still had a concern that Hughan was not hearing. Now that the “glue ear” had cleared up and his eardrums were looking healthy, Dr Davidge Pitts carried out a few tests with noises and said that he was concerned that there was a hearing problem and a hearing test needed to be booked.

At last a hearing appointment had been booked.

Hughan was 14 months old and on the day of his hearing test, Vil was also booked to have his tonsils out. Willem and I travelled together with the boys to Johannesburg and I was with Hughan and Willem was with Vil.

Vil went with Willem and he was admitted into the hospital. It was only once the specialist saw Vil that he realised that he had tonsillitis and that he couldn’t have his tonsils out that day.

I took Hughan into his hearing appointment.

He had been booked for an adult hearing test and not one for a baby. The test that had been set required a response to sounds coming out from speakers.

When the nurses realised what had happened they said that he couldn’t have the test that day.

I burst into tears with desperation, all we wanted that day were our answers.

The nurses were very helpful and decided to take their lunchtime off to do a brainstem test on Hughan. This was such a relief.

I never realised it was such equipment existed that could monitor what a baby was hearing. Hughan was sedated and lay very quietly as he had electrode pads put on his head and the test started.

While the test was being done I could hear the volume of the equipment and I knew that the outcome was going to be the worst. The nurse kept saying to me “how did you know that Hughan had a hearing problem”.

It had been five months since we had seen the paediatrician and he was concerned that Hughan may have a hearing loss. By this stage we were very aware that Hughan could not hear us.

The results of the test were that Hughan had a profound hearing loss of 110 dB, not even a corner showing on the graph.

Willem had now joined me and was comforting me.

Once the test had been completed we all went in to see Dr Davidge Pitts and he said that we were welcome to go for a second opinion. He also explained what the meaning of “a profound hearing loss” was. He said that if a jumbo jet was taking off and Hughan was nearby he would be unable to hear the noise.

Willem and I thought this was a good idea, so an appointment was booked for the next day with another Specialist.

At last we were getting answers.

The day had been exhausting and we were staying in Johannesburg with Willem’s sister and family overnight. We would get a second opinion the next day.

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