“Look at that nurse shark.”
“Those are some sharp, sharp teeth.”
Lukas was born on September 9, 2010 and he failed his newborn screening.
After a couple of attempts at the hospital they sent us home, thinking it might be just fluid in his ears.
They had us bring him in to have an ABR done a couple of times at Lakeside. Once he wasn’t responding to those, then they suggested for us to go to Boys Town.
It was a big shock for us. We have no hearing loss in our family or our immediate family, so it came as a big surprise to try to figure out, how are we going to deal with this.
The first thing, for me, I thought 20 years ahead. He’s going to have a hard time getting a job if he can’t hear.
Then I set my expectations very low. I set them, basically, to the point where, as long as he can hear environment sounds, ambulances, an alarm clock those kinds of things. I’ll be ok with that. We’ll just use sign language.
We felt so much better after talking to the audiologist, a parent-infant specialist, basically, the staff at Boys Town.
We met one staff member who is a mom for several deaf kids. It was very comforting to know that her son was successful. He was going to college and he has made it that far. That was when I started to relax a little bit.
We wanted to give him the option of hearing so that way he has that option in the future. If he chose to be deaf and to sign, he had that option as well. We wanted to give him all of his opportunities.
I was very concerned about him not having a hearing nerve. His scores on the ABR test were at the bottom. Once we had the MRI and we found out that he had the nerve, and we could go ahead with the surgery, yes, that was a relief.
Once everything was on track, it was almost on auto-pilot. We were almost guided through the process. We met the implant team. It basically took all the stress away. You have a whole team backing you up.
He had his first holiday of Christmas and coming into 2012, which is a lot of audiologist visits. We were going about every week for a period of time and then switching to every other week. It was definitely necessary just to make sure that things were going the way they were supposed to.
The first thing we did that he responded to was me knocking on the walls. He would turn around when I knocked on the walls. So I did a lot of knocking on the walls.
It felt great to know that he’s responding to sound. It definitely gave you the energy to keep going.
“I thought he would never leave.”
He’s doing excellent. He’s leading, he’s following, he’s playing with other kids, and they’re chasing each other. He’s just like any other four year old.
It’s just amazing how far he’s come.
“Where are they walking?”
“They’re walking to that little house.”
“That little house?”
He loves, loves his books.
We can’t buy enough books. Any new books we get we have to read them over and over again.
It has to be a thrilling story. I really have to work at that if I go to the library or buy a book. It can’t be something boring. It has to be something weird or scary and it will keep his attention.
“Happy Birthday, dear Daddy!”
“Happy Birthday to you!”
Sometimes, it’s even hard to remember that he’s even deaf. The tests they have done at Boys Town, in regards to his hearing, have been on par with actual hearing kids. That’s a relief. Considering he has artificial hearing, I think that’s crazy.
I would tell other families how great Boys Town is. From the support they have given us, the shoulder to lean on, the endless questions that I asked in the beginning and that I still ask.
With all of their assistance, we’re more than happy with his result.
I remember telling my parents, who live overseas, that we were lucky to love in Omaha, of all places, when it comes to this because you have a terrific center that specializes in this.
He will probably be set up next year to go on to kindergarten and mainstream school.
We want to make sure that he stays on track and with all of the support that we have, we know that he’s going to be doing just fine.
The Cochlear Implant Center at Boys Town National Research Hospital has served children and adults with severe or profound hearing loss for more than a decade with comprehensive clinical services. Watch how cochlear implants have changed Lukas' life.