It's Thursday, exactly 15 days since we made the trek to the hospital for Caleb's tympanoplasty surgery. And I just cannot fathom. I cannot fathom the miracle that was worked by the doctor's hands. I cannot fathom a community that showed up at my doorstep with meals, groceries, games, and surprises for our oldest. I cannot fathom the gift of watching my oldest and my youngest enjoy one another so thoroughly. I cannot fathom how fast 2 weeks of homeschooling went and the joy it was to watch Caleb learn about tribes native to our home state and how to diagram a direct object. I cannot fathom the adults, teens, and children who have taken the time to come over and play games with Caleb. Each day has been a marvelous demonstration of God's grace to us, and we are thankful. So thankful. The days flew by.
Today I have a little extra time because... Caleb returned to school this morning. In many ways, it was harder to see him walk out that door this morning than it was to leave him that first day of kindergarten. We've had a blast, playing chess after lunch and watching old episodes of Wishbone. Reading literally thousands of pages of our favorite books and laughing hysterically at Emmie's antics. And it's hard to see the person you have protected so vigilantly... leave. Leave the safety of the four walls of home. Fair warning: I'm gonna be a hot mess when he goes to college.
Yesterday we had Caleb's post-op appointment with the surgeon and learned that Caleb is healing beautifully. His external stitches are healing well, and the doctor removed some of the protective foam in Caleb's ear canal so we can begin treating the new ear drum with antibiotic drops. At this point, he is predicting that Caleb's hearing in his left ear will be fully functioning in six weeks. He has been cleared for all activity with the exception of swimming (the ear canal still needs to remain dry). This momma asked SO many questions, especially because Caleb has been struggling a lot to hear well with just his right ear over the past two weeks.
As he was answering all my crazy questions, the ENT surgeon looked through the audiology reports that were done back in Marion at our very first appointment in August and explained to us that though the left ear had the more concerning cholesteatoma (unhealthy tissue growth), the right ear actually had the more significant hearing loss. So of course Caleb's not hearing much! He can barely hear through the left ear and has moderate hearing loss in the right. This creates no end to frustrating scenarios in our house and makes us wonder how long Caleb has been making it by faking it.
We've been working intentionally with Caleb to help him admit when he's not understanding what we or other people are saying and to politely ask for instructions or information to be repeated, but it is NOT coming naturally to this kid. I really do think he's been living via autopilot for months. Completing the expected chores that were on his chart so he doesn't have to hear my requests. Reading his textbooks at school rather than depending on verbal instructions. Trying to guess what his baseball coach is whispering to him rather than admitting on the third base line that he has no clue what his coach is saying because in addition to being hearing impaired, he's wearing a helmet lined with foam to protect his ears. It all makes so much more sense now, Coach Brant!
So we wait. We wait for the left ear to demonstrate hearing capability, and we'll return to the ENT surgeon in a month to confirm progress and probably to schedule the same surgery for his right ear. Not knowing how much he actually heard, I asked Caleb over our lunch of pizza at Costco to tell me what he heard the surgeon say in the appointment. Thankfully, he understood most of the Q and A session the doctor and I had, but when I asked him how he felt about a second surgery, he said, "Reluctant."
Ain't that the truth? None of us walk into painful situations, excited to hurt and pumped to put ourselves in harm's way. I can totally relate to my son and understand his hesitance. But I also know that he, David, and I have all seen God's grace in tremendous ways as we have walked this road, which only increases our faith that our God is Jehovah Jirah, the God who provides, and we trust Him.
Still journeying with us? Thank you. We need you, and we know that when you say you're praying, you're not just being polite. You're doing battle on your knees for us before the Throne of Grace. It's a priceless gift that we can only repay with our gratitude. Would you keep praying with us that God would restore Caleb's hearing completely? And in the in-between, we'd covet your prayers for patience as we answer and re-answer questions and help Caleb to make it without faking it for the next six weeks.
No difficult situation in any of our lives is without redemption and purpose in the Kingdom of God, and I firmly believe that God is growing in our family a compassion that would not have been possible without walking this road with Caleb. God is giving us eyes to see our own impatience as we say things over and over again until actual communication is accomplished. He is reminding us of His love as friends drop by with a cup of coffee or a hug and a half-gallon of almond milk. And He is encouraging us the He is Healer and Savior in this broken, sin-cursed world. We pray that one day both of Caleb's ears will be able to find joy in the gentlest whisper, but even more so we cry out for the restoration story of each of our lives shine His glory to the lost. Thank you for being our people and for demonstrating the love of God in Body of Christ so well. We could not imagine our lives without you!