Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Audiological Exam and Montana Travel

I am such a proud momma to my darling Penelope. She was such an excellent baby during the air travel to Montana. On the way there we had to take three planes. This would have been bad except my kids were truly angels during the whole ordeal, so I was able to manage just fine. We were supposed to leave the CT airport at 7:50. Since I had the baby and I wanted to buckle in the car seat, we arrived at 6 am. *this is a small airport* We learned at the time of arrival that our flight was delayed until 10:50! This was really bad news because our connecting flight in MN departed at 11:40 am. We didn't arrive at MN until about 2pm and we were quickly shoved onto another plane to Salt Lake City in an effort to reroute us to Montana. This proved difficult since we had a hard time getting seats together, but it all worked out. I sat with the kids, Scott in a different row, as well as Matt, Wendy, and Martin peppered elsewhere throughout the fuselage. Once we arrived in SLC, we had some time to breathe during our five hour lay over. Mind you, we had all been up since about 5 am CT time and our flight did not leave until 9:30 UT time. You can imagine we were a little tired. I was a little sad sitting there at the SLC airport knowing that we should have been at MT a few hours ago. The airline provided food vouchers so we were more than fine and we were able to spend very little to no money on food in the airports.

The point I wanted to make was that even with all of these take offs and landings, Penny hardly complained. Maybe a little whining from time to time, but never really upset over the altitude change.

Our travel did get a little stressful in that the rental car store closed at 2pm on Saturdays and we were not arriving until 11pm. There was some big horse show in Kalispell so all the other rental car agencies were booked. AND all the hotels were fully occupied. Now, we had a vacation home lined up, however, we were supposed to meet him between 2pm and 3pm. Several attempts to reach him and apprise him of our situation proved only failure and we were worried that even if we got a car to get off the airport grounds, where would we sleep that night? Moments before we boarded our 9:30 pm departure from SLC, a voice mail was retrieved that indicated that our home would be left open for us and that we could go over the paperwork (i.e. rental payment) the following day. THANK THE LORD!! So we were able to board this plane with that sense of security at least.

Once at the Kalispell, MT (glacier Nat'l park) airport, I sweet-talked my way in to an Alamo minivan. I was charged a disgusting $184 for the night and I had to promise to return the damn thing the very next morning when I got into my Enterprise cars, but we were desperate! I drove the absolute wrong way to the rental house that added about 25 minutes of travel time, because ya know, I wanted to take the scenic route at midnight when there are no street lights, and a deer (or worse, Moose!) could jump onto the road at any second. Damn! I should have taken that damage waiver. :) Luckily, the following morning myself and a few people in my party arrived at Enterprise to pick up our scheduled vehicles. (Thanks Doc Vivien!!) And we traveled back to the airport to hassle the manager about this insane $184. I was able to further sweet-talk the manager into a reasonable $69.99 (after taxes) and I was on my way with a huge smile on my face. I mean, we could have easily paid that in cab fare to the rental house 30 miles away so it was all good.

Additionally, Penny had her audiological exam yesterday at the Glastonbury office of CCMC. This was all new to me, however, I have no doubt that I will learn fast the ways of the ear. She failed her tympanic test, as it was pointed out to me that her graph made a very shallow peak indeed. It was suggested to me by the audiologist that this may indicate fluid in her middle ear, or it may just be her baseline. She said some children with Down syndrome exhibit this sort of graphical representation even though they suffer no hearing loss. Of course, it would have to be up to the actual doctor to report any true diagnosis.

Then we were ushered into the sound booth where I was met with two speakers. One situated on the top left corner of the cubicle, and the other in the top right corner. I was instructed to hold her and let her demonstrate on her own if she is able to determine what side of the room a particular sound was coming from. Basically, each time the administrator spoke into the speaker, Penny exhibited good hearing. If the administrator chose a static or other soft noise, Penny did not do too well. It was funny because even though she would not turn her head as we would have liked to definitively demonstrate that she could tell where and when the sound was produced, she would imitate the sound, thus indicating that she at least heard the noise. It was a really subjective test at that point. Overall she didn't flat out fail, but there were some concerns.

Then the audiologist put this headband thingy on her that positioned two soft round "speakers" directly behind her ears on the nerve itself. The conventional wisdom is that this "noise" bypasses the middle ear by putting sensory information directly on the nerve. She "passed" pretty much 100% of the time. This did reflect that she possibly has some mild hearing loss. We need to proceed with these concerns and see an ENT as soon as we can to explore further. Most likely there is some fluid in her middle ear that muffles the sound she hears in her day to day. She can hear noises, but we want her to be able to hear clearly and I will do whatever it takes!

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