ABR!

>> Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ah, the ABR.

I was anxious for the ABR. I had been for months. This test, this ONE test that I had asked about for so long was finally scheduled and Bug was sick. I was concerned that he was congested but I took him in and let them decide if he could be sedated. He passed the physical with flying colors, as always, and he was given a syringe full of happy juice to help him sleep so we could find out if his brain responds to sounds.

The ABR, Auditory Brain Stem Response, test registers the brain stem response to auditory stimulus. Since Bug hasn't EVER talked much, we were told it was most likely the seizures. But every EEG, every CAT scan, every MRI, ever showed any interaction or intrusion upon, the speech centers of the brain. I began to ask Doctors to treat them as separate issues when we first went to UCLA when he was 5. But, Doctors, especially Neurologists, know better. Phffft.

So they gave Bug the happy juice and told me: It will take about an hour. Press the Nurse button when he goes to sleep and we will get the stuff attached.

15 minutes later, Bug turned to me with the drunkest look I have ever seen on a child. It said: I love you man. And he began to fall asleep. He TRIED to fight it for a few minutes but gave in with a final smile a full 20 minutes after ingestion. I pushed the button, the wrong button, and waited.

A few minutes after he fell asleep, Nancy the Audiologist came in and noticed he was asleep. She asked: Did you press the button?

I said, Yep but no one has come in yet. To which she reached over to a different button with a picture of a nurse on it and a minute later, the nurse came in. Great, I am dumb.


Bug was hooked up to the B/P, heart rate and O2 monitors and they put little tube-like things in his ears, one electrode behind each ear and one on his forehead. After he was all hooked up he sighed. I smiled. That sigh is a tell tale that he is in deep sleep.

Nancy started the test.

She had told me it would take about 30 minutes. It took an hour. She repeated one test a few times. Turns out there IS an anomaly. Two in fact. Once the test was done, Nancy took the time to print it out and explain it to me.

The ABR registers three waves from each ear. His left ear is minus wave I. She had never seen that before so she repeated the test 2 more times. All three times, no wave I. Nancy said she was not sure what that meant but she would research it and we would go over it with his ENT, Dr. Munz. He CAN hear though. His brain is registering sound. This is good. And all the sound is within normal ranges, this is VERY good.

His other problem, could be the kicker. She tested his middle ear response after the ABR. Neither ear scored as normal. In fact, his right ear showed NO response, his left BARELY moved. This information excited me and saddened me. It could mean that he has a type of hearing loss. The middle ear translates fluid wave into air waves. If is isn't working, noises can sound like they are under water. More tests are needed. If his middle ear shows no response on any further tests, tubes could be inserted to help him hear properly. Only thing to do is continue testing and wait. Argh.

So, after the test was complete, we tried to wake him up. Two hours later, I was still trying to wake him up. EVERY time I tickled him, or lifted his shirt to make his tummy cold, he would slip into deeper sleep. The nurse thought it was funny. I did too and we waited.

I sat him up and at 4 hours post happy juice ingestion he began to wake up. An hour after he awoke, we went home. As soon as he got in the car, he fell back asleep. I put the chance of seizure at 50 percent but he didn't have any. Not one. It was good. When we got home, he was pretty awake and ate a little. While he rested, I researched. I cried a little and I hoped this was the answer.

So we follow up with Dr. Munz on March 15Th. I MAY get him into his pediatrician earlier than that, just to see if he wants to tests his ears too. That, and I am impatient.

Bug was a little trooper and I can not begin to let myself hope we may have a little boy that just can't hear properly who has seizure disorder. My brain has been working overtime analyzing all his behaviors that could simply be he doesn't understand the explanations given to him about why he SHOULD NOT do them. It can't be that easy, but it certainly could help him A LOT. Again, just waiting and praying.

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