Our appointment for activation was at 9 am, two hours away, so our day started very early. Miss Kat is not the kind of kid who sleeps in the car so we bought WALL-E for the trip. She loves the movie because she understands exactly what is going on...very little dialogue. So we loaded everyone up and we headed out for our great adventure.
When we arrive our audiologist takes us down into the little sound booth and sets everything up and connects Miss Kat's implant for the first time. He tells us that the manufacturer has a program that can set the T-levels for us, and very quickly, but he doesn't like to do it that way. He said that he wants to make sure that the MAP is exactly right for her, and while it takes extra time, it is worth it. (And THAT is why we drive two hours to see him, rather than the several that are within minutes of our house)
So we begin with beeps. Miss Kat is ready to press her button and make the pictures pop up. On the first electrode she reacts clearly at 70 (standard units) and hits the button. We are all so excited. She is doing great. The audiologist moves on to the next electrode. 70...80...100...140...still nothing. We ask Miss Kat if she hears anything, she says no. The audiologist starts to wonder if she really didn't hear at 70 last time, maybe she was just guessing. He starts to play 140 again, and then I stop him. I had been watching Miss Kat and noticed (as only mothers can) a clear reaction. Every time the beeps started she would pause for just a second and then look up at the audiologist. She was hearing. She just didn't recognize it! I had them play the beeps again, loud enough that I was sure she could hear them, and when she paused and looked up I signed "Hear that, that is hearing now!" She could hear the sound but it was so different that she wouldn't label it as hearing!
So now we had the T-levels set (so we know the quietest she can hear), but next we need to know what is too loud for her. The audiologist goes live and we start to make sounds. Miss Kat seems unimpressed overall but is being pretty patient. The audiologist taps his ring on the table, a nice annoying sound, and Miss Kat looks, but doesn't care. He also has a container of toy cars and he shakes them nice and loud. Still ok. He continues to turn her up, and make the same noises until...BOOM, he turns the processor off and then back on and Miss Kat screams. He turns it back off, and Miss Kat crawls into Daddy's lap. We found too loud.
Using the information he has gathered, the audiologist sets 6 programs for us to work through over the week-end. He turns Miss Kat back on, with a lower setting, and she bursts into tears again. She is obviously still upset, but it is very different from the too lous MAP. She quickly calms down. I ask her if she likes her new implants and she tells me "No". My poor baby.
Overall, activation went very well. Miss Kat was very patient and responded very well. She never tried to take the processor off, and seemed to react to sound very quickly. I'm so proud of her. She is a brave girl.