Well, the new headpiece came right around lunch time. We took it over to Ben's daycare and tried it ... and no good. Didn't fix the problem. Even though we had explained to him that it might not work, he was still very disappointed. (And us bursting in on him at daycare, and then leaving again, was a very confusing disruption -- the tears were starting to well up as we left. It's been a difficult day.) Neil just took off a few minutes ago to take the processor up to Buffalo. Our audiologist is currently loading Ben's programs onto their loaner processor, so at least Neil will walk away with a working processor that we can use. When she gets a chance, she'll try to determine whether it was just the maps or the whole processor that got zapped.
I think it must have been the plastic slide. We went to a party at a friend's house Saturday evening, and Ben went down a plastic slide about a dozen times or more. And in general, plastic slides are a source of anxiety for CI parents, because of the static discharge. A generation ago, it was not unheard of for a big static discharge to damage the internal implant, requiring surgery. These days the internal implant is very well protected from static, and I don't think anyone's lost an implant due to static since the 90's. Every now and then a really big discharge will wipe out the program the child is currently using (which is not too big a deal -- you can switch to another program and use that until you can get to the audiologist), and I did read on cicircle about a processor getting fried on a slide earlier this spring. But given the relatively low level of risk, most parents decide to let the kid ride the slides, although it's a good idea to ground him when he gets to the bottom. We always do that, and sometimes there's a pretty significant shock -- those slides really do build up a lot of static.
But this past Saturday, it was very humid, and I wasn't detecting any static build-up at all. (Usually you can feel your arm hairs rise as you get close to the plastic.) And I was still ritualistically tapping him out (almost) every time he went down -- I might have let it slide (no pun intended) a couple of times. So it's a little hard to believe that that's really the cause of the problem. On the other hand, it was shortly afterward that we detected it. Coincidence? Static? Sweat corrosion? (That might have explained a faulty headpiece, because he was certainly drenched by the end of the day, but his processor was well-protected and dry inside the harness under his shirt.) Hard to say.
Anyway, I hope we have a working system by the end of the afternoon.
3 weeks ago