I was very worried today as we were leaving for Shand's. Even more so this time than I was for Jackson's first audiological evaluation. Kurt took the day off and we all headed out for the 2 hour drive to Gainesville.
I think I was more concerned this time because of all the confusion with insurance and wording. Previously I had posted that we were wanting to go back to Shand's at Hampton Oaks because they have a Baha Clinic. This is the same audiology department that did Jackson's initial hearing tests. We were needing the Baha Evaluation and the wording on the the insurance referral was "Bone Conduction Hearing Aid Evaluation"...which this was technically not, although they did evaluate his BCHA.
Before we pulled out of McD's parking lot, we prayed for safe travel and that God would work out all of the details that needed to be worked out.
We needed to arrive at 3:10 for his 3:30 appointment. We arrived at 3:00, completed paperwork and then proceeded to wait until 4:00 to be seen. At first it seemed as if the appointment was starting to go downhill before it ever got started. We aren't sure if the audiologist and the student-audiologist (Shands is a teaching hospital) were trying to feel us out for what we knew or what we wanted and it almost seemed as if they were going to talk us out of the softband Baha, just as Jackson's pediatric ENT tried to do. But...God is into the details!
The audiologist told us all the basics about the Baha and also about the new Oticon that basically does the same thing as the Baha. After all of that info, I discussed the problems we have already had with Jackson's Oticon classic 380P and the problems that we are having with it now. I also told her that we were unable to have Jackson tested with this Oticon on and we wanted to be sure that he was getting the gains that he needed in his hearing. Not a problem.
Jackson and I headed to the testing booth. He was tested first with his own Oticon on and then was tested with the Baha. He did so well, but was starting to get tired towards the end of the testing. It was about 30 minutes of testing.
We headed back into the fitting room, and opened the door to my wonderful husband and the big kids playing a mean game of Go Fish with the JUMBO playing cards. (The kids were AWESOME, by the way!!!) We spent the next 55 minutes discussing his results, the educational setting, insurance, Early Steps, etc. etc. etc.
Jackson was first tested with his Oticon on when he was fresh and alert. He tested in the normal range!!!! Then he was tested with the Baha and tested BETTER than his Oticon...even with being tired and losing focus!
Kurt and I made sure that at the beginning of the evaluation we stated our desire to fit Jackson with Bilateral Bahas. Our concerns for safety and being able to localize sound, also the data that is coming out with children showing better results with speech perception in noisy environments. She totally agreed with us and would be requesting insurance to cover bilateral Bahas.
We discussed his testing that would be happening with the school system tomorrow morning and what type of placement would be best for him. Although she could not come right out and say her opinion, Kurt and I both feel that she was advocating a language based class (our district it is considered half day ~2 1/2 hours) and then getting outside additional services if insurance would cover them. We also discussed that due to his being in the orphanage and not having had exposure to many things, he is technically delayed in so many areas...if you remember, he wasn't even walking when we first met him. We really feel at this point that he has needs that need to be addressed in those areas as well. He is catching up fast, but we know that this will take time. Do I think that he will be caught up by August, "nope". We want him to get all that he can get now. As most parents do, we want what is BEST for Jackson, and there are still just so many concerns. These details we are leaving up to God.
We finally have a definitive answer as to what is the next step!!! She and Dr. Antonelli will write everything up and send the request to our insurance to request the bilateral softband Bahas. And from there we wait on insurance to approve. More than likely we will be denied numerous times and this will take us months to get through. One family that is in the same Microtia/Atresia Yahoo Group, just got their Baha approval after 18 months of battling the insurance! This is why we paid out of pocket for Jackson's Oticon. We were not able to get him a loaner softband Baha today and had we not had the ability to purchase this Oticon back in April, we would be applying to different places to get a loaner bone conduction aid. (Which are hard to come by)
We left the office at 5:25 just in time for a huge storm coming through. We quickly grabbed dinner across the street and started the 2 hour trek home in the storm. Most of the gas stations were closed because there wasn't any power, so the poor big kids had to wait until we got home! Alas, we pulled into the driveway, big kids went potty, got the kids ready for bed and here I am!
Did I mention that we left the diaper bag at home???? Apparently Jackson had removed it from the foyer where all our things were and left it in the middle of our bathroom floor!
God left me 2 diapers in my purse! I just love my God that is into the details!!