Thursday, February 14, 2008

Diagnosis of deafness and aftermath

She looked familiar. The thin figure with the pinched up face and hurried gait. I went across ad accosted her. She was the same person as I thought. 15 years had gone by and she said I was often in her thoughts. It was the same with me.
When I first saw her daughter she was just past two years of age. A little delightful toddler she was but was given to unexplained temper tantrums. The parents and I were at our wits end to know why. There was some suggestion that it could be one form of autism! I found it hard to believe. I found out the cause more by accident than by design. One day after the consult, I called out her name but got no response. I turned her around and got a nice smile and response. The delayed speech was attributed by the ENT doctor as normal and the parents were reassured that all would be well.
Now I was not so sure. The girl was born deaf and we had not recognized it in time. Had we done that, even in those times, Cochlear implant could have been attempted. I spent time with the kid and parents and once we understood her problems our attitude towards her changed and her tantrums became less and in the course of next two years disappeared.
Today routine screening of newborn is done in major institutions and Cochlear implant has also become common which, done early restores hearing to near normal.
What followed is worth recording. The father changed his job to another which gave him more time to spend with the daughter. Mother [the lady mentioned above] gave up her job to spend full time with the daughter. They did a lot of research on deafness [I too learnt a lot from them] and how to manage a deaf child. Both learnt sign language and how to teach phonation. They also decided not to have another child. Their sacrifice and effort paid off. The mother in particular showed enormous strength of character and courage and after tiding over the crisis period started working again!
The girl is now a normal 17 year old pursuing her studies in a boarding school!
These are the real life experiences that I cherish. Nothing else in life, gives this kind of satisfaction and pleasure.

Meditation. It takes 35 minutes of five sessions of seven minutes each. I can now last four sessions of squatting without pain. A month ago it was 14 minutes! Progress indeed! What about the mental health which it is supposed to improve? I cannot make this assessment and none of the near and dear have done so yet!

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