Say what?

Rowan had his hearing test yesterday. It was at Duke Children’s Hospital, which is part of what we call “big Duke,” (aka the main hospital). This meant parking in the main Duke parking deck and walking through the underground tunnel into the hospital.

I’ve been to Duke many times since that horrible night in April 2015 when I was transferred there via ambulance, but this was the first time when neither Rowan nor I were very sick. It was also the first time I have driven myself into that parking deck, since I couldn’t drive after my c-section.

Pulling into the deck I suddenly remembered all those feelings from a year ago. The fear, exhaustion, overwhelm, and horrible incision pain. I desperately wanted to be anywhere but at Duke. Anywhere but that parking deck. I sat in my car until Rowan got fussy, because couldn’t face the elevators, the tunnel, or the lobby.

As I walked to the elevators I remembered choosing a wheelchair from the collection that is scattered throughout the deck. It’s a long way from the deck into the middle of the hospital, and my hunched and painful mini-steps made it even longer, so we would try to find a functional wheelchair to get me to my son. I remember the time I thought I could walk it myself — when we got through the tunnel the information person looked visibly worried as he asked me if I was ok. “Yeah, I just had a c-section.” It felt wrong to be saying that while walking into the hospital. As I walked through the tunnel with Rowan yesterday it felt long, but nothing like the seemingly endless miles as I was wheeled into the hospital without my baby in my arms.

I was just telling friends the other day how little I remembered from Rowan’s week at Duke before he was transferred. Today I remembered. The actual intensive care nursery is still both mercifully and frustratingly blurry in my memory, but the excruciating wait for the elevators came back and hit me.

This place was Rowan’s first home after being evicted from me. I don’t consider that to be the case with Lorelei and UNC hospital, that hospital felt like a brief layover between my body and our house, but Rowan bought real estate at Duke. Almost literally if you look at his hospital bills.

Once we got into Children’s I felt better — I hadn’t spent any time there to have terrible memories to flood my brain.

His appointment was quick and easy.

His ear drum was less flexible than would like to see, but they said it wasn’t surprising given his history of ear infections, fluid, and congestion.

There was only one frequency he didn’t react to during the visual reinforcement test, so they checked that one with the bone conduction test, where he heard it fine. So that means he is capable of hearing it, but the lack of eardrum movement is making that tone a little more difficult.

They said that frequently resolves itself, so we just have to recheck in three months.

Rowan at Duke, and recreating the experience.
Rowan at Duke, and recreating the experience.
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