Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. They live with their mom, Mary, who is the writer of this blog. Jacob is 19 and is now four inches taller than his mom! He also has ADHD and gorgeous red hair. He is a freshman at a technical college studying computer maintenance. Elijah is 15! He is in 9th grade and he is not in ROTC at his high school. He also had red hair, but it is lighter and not as thick as his brother's hair. He is hearing impaired(auditory neuropathy) and wears two cochlear implants. He also has tourette syndrome, ADHD, OCD and anxiety! Mary just started her 25th year as a teacher of the deaf. She is also in her last semester of graduate school to be a diagnostician! She will graduate in December of 2015!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Life Has Been Busy

I am trying to be better about posting, but it hasn't happened yet. Life has been busy for us and not always in a good way. Back in November of last year, my wife had to take me to the ER for some serious pain on my right side. Everyone thought it was my gall bladder, but the ultrasound showed it was fine. I visited my gynecologist and saw a gastroenterologist. The blood work showed I was in early menopause, but nothing else was found, so we decided to wait and see what happened.

January was busy for me with work. Elijah was and still is doing well in school. Life was moving on. Right around February 1st the extreme pain returned for two nights. I was up and awake and dealing with it, and then it would go away. However, on Feb. 6th my wife took me once again to the ER and they thought I had kidney stones. Two days later and four more ER visits (two in the course of about 8 hours) and a LONG special scan and it was determined that my gall bladder was not functioning as it should be. I went to the last ER in an ambulance. There is a lot more to the story, but it is all too complicated. I spent from Thursday night to Saturday afternoon in the hospital. My surgery was early on Friday evening.

My poor wife was as worn out as I was from all of these visits. My mom was a great help and let her go home to get some rest. She had to take care of the boys, although Jacob is pretty self sufficient, Elijah isn't. He is not a toddler, but he needed someone at home at night and to get him up and off to school.

I spent one week home after surgery and then returned to work. It took another two weeks before I started feeling like my old self. The pain that I experienced was the worst pain I have ever had. It wore me out and I was worried we would never find out what was causing it.

Jacob is studying for a certification test for computers that will hopefully lead to a better job. He had his wisdom teeth pulled this past week and did really well with it all. We are both glad that it is done! Elijah will be 17 next month. That is really hard to believe. My wife and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary in June. Hopefully, I will post again before June!

Monday, December 5, 2016

What's up with us!

I guess I have been a little busy, because I haven't posted since September. I am not sure what all to update you all on. I did get some money towards the rechargeable batteries from the insurance company.....a whole $147.00 towards $800 worth of batteries....YIKES right? At least I didn't have to battle them for it.

Jacob is still working at a local electronics store. He needs to take a certification test and then start applying again. We hope that the certification will help him with getting a job. Elijah is in 10th grade and doing well. He is having a very good year and still likes ROTC. I married my girlfriend back in June and we are doing well. We have been together for six years, but this will be our first married Christmas. I am not sure if that is a big deal or not, but I love Christmas anyway.

I decorated over Thanksgiving break. There are lots of presents under the tree, but I have been saving for a while. I had some medical issues back at the end of October and early November. I am going back in to see the gynecologist to see what can be done to help with that. It isn't anything too serious, but something that needs to be addressed.

I haven't watched the news since the election. As a parent of a special needs child, I was not a Trump supporter and I am still not a supporter of him. Enough of politics though. We are still waiting on gutters, insulation, a mailbox and for the fence to be repaired since the storm in APRIL! It has been almost 8 months! At least we have a roof and the majority of the damage is fixed.

Tiger was sick for several weeks and the vet finally figured out it was a severe allergy to fleas. He is off medication and wearing a flea collar. The other three cats are have flea collars too. We give him melatonin at night. He is finally growing back some hair and seems better. The other three cats are good too! They are a big part of our family.

Overall, Life is good. I am happy as are the boys and my wife. I love saying "my wife". I'll try to write more often, but we our lives are not that exciting!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

It's Been a While

I just realized I have not posted in over two months! I guess you can say I have been busy. The summer went by quickly. Elijah had SEVERAL doctor's appointments that kept us busy for the first few weeks of the summer. I kept my niece and nephew two days a week, plus we had to deal with the house. We finally got the ceilings repaired and new wood floors at the end of July. We had to move out of the house for a week. Insurance paid for the hotel and our meals, but boy was it still a hassle. There was a lot to pack up and put away so the contractors could do their work.

We arrived home on a Tuesday morning to clean up before moving our things back from the hotel, only to find the AC was broken. The repairman came that afternoon and we ended up having to buy a whole new unit which was installed the next day. He was able to put in Freon so that we could survive the night. It gets hot here in TEXAS in JULY! The house looks great. We have a few minor things to still have taken care of in the house. We also need new insulation, the fence to be restained, the house to be painted and the gutters to be put up. The contractors are busy working on other people's home right now.

I went back to work on Aug. 8th and school started on Aug. 22nd. Jacob is still working at a larger retail electronics' store in the computer components section. He hopes to gain experience and is currently seeking employment with higher pay and better things to offer. Elijah started the tenth grade on Aug. 22nd and all is going well. All of the teachers say he seems to have matured over the summer.

Work is keeping me very busy. I am doing a lot of what I did before, but now I have the responsibility of scheduling the ARD (IEP) meetings, prepping the for the meetings, doing the assessments and writing reports. There is SO much more I do, but I can't even remember it all to list it all. The people I work with are great and I feel fortunate to be where I am.

My honey and I have now been married for three months. Life continues to go well for us. She is working hard and still doing most of the cooking. I am looking forward to many more months with her!

The holidays are just around the corner and I am looking forward to all of them! I'll try to be better and post more often!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Playing the Insurance Game

I have talked to my health insurance company four times since yesterday to try to figure out this rechargeable battery issue. I have talked to the audiologist twice (once by email and once in person). First I was told the doctor's office would need to get this all precertified and check a website...this was after I PROVIDED the insurance code for the batteries! After several more phone calls, and being transferred over to the pharmacy department when one of the customer service reps didn't listen very well, I think I know what to do. The audiologist will write a letter of medical necessity  for Elijah to get the batteries. I will fax it to the claims department of the health insurance company. I will then receive a letter stating if the batteries are covered. If they are covered, then I will order the batteries and file a claim...keeping the letter of approval from them in a VERY SAFE PLACE! I have played this game before and had to wait six months to get $600 back from the insurance company, but it is worth it in the end.

Elijah has $300 left before reaching his deductible, but if he goes to the pulmonologist before I order them (he goes on July 14th) then that will put another $200 towards his deductible. His pulmonologist is considered out of network, but we didn't want to switch doctors. My "insurance year" starts on September 1st, so I want to get this all done and ordered before that date! Hopefully, I will get around $400-$500 to go towards the $800 total for four rechargeable batteries!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Visit to the Audiologist

Elijah went in to see the audiologist today for his yearly "check up" If he is not having issues, we go in once a year to just his map and see how things are going. Elijah did well and participated in the mapping session. He has not always been cooperative in the past. However, I did have to promise a "treat" on the way home (edible treat) in order to get him to cooperate. It does drive me a little crazy that I have to bribe a 16 year old.

Even with a bribe in the past, he has been known to complain and still not participate so it was nice to NOT have that happen today. The audiologist showed him his map and played a tone three times and asked him if it was too quiet, too loud or just right. He answered for each one and some of his answers were that it was TOO loud or TOO soft or NOT right, so he was trying. This is really huge for him. He did this for both the comfort level and threshold level for EACH ear. The comfort level is the loudest sound he can hear without it being TOO loud. The threshold level is the quietest sound he can hear, but not so quiet he can't hear it.

$160 for THIS battery rack
While we were there the audiologist checked his processor on his right ear, because it would not connect to the computer. There was some "residue" on the connector part of his processor piece. She cleaned it and got it working. When we put the battery cage back on it, we could not get it to turn back on. After some trouble shooting we determined that the battery cage was defective for some reason. She gave us one to borrow and I came home to order a new one ($160 OUCH). I will mail the other one back to her when our new one comes in. You can see the picture of it on the right.....this is just the rack, I have the cover that goes over it already...OUCH again.

The audiologist also told me that it is better to use rechargeable batteries, because when the air circulates through the disposable battery rack cage (not sure of the official name) it can cause issues with moisture and the processors. This may be why she had to clean the connector piece on his processor. For those who don't know what I am talking about the processor is actually two pieces. The top part is the processor and is the "computer" part of his "ear". The bottom part holds the batteries. These two pieces can be twisted apart, so you have two pieces. When we use the rechargeable batteries, that battery twists onto the processor.

Nucleus 6 processor
I called our insurance company and got some information on how to determine if they are covered. The gentleman in customer service was actually very nice and LISTENED. He finally understood what I was talking about and I provided him with an insurance code. They are considered durable medical equipment (DME) and he gave me the info for the doctor's office to get me a letter or assistance with pre-certification. We also have to meet a deductible, but he is actually CLOSE on his personal deductible. This is not my first rodeo, so I will see what I can do. I do prefer the rechargeable batteries to the disposable ones!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Making the Switch to Disposable Batteries

Elijah upgraded to the Nucleus 6 processor back in June 2014. Since that time, he has used the rechargeable batteries that came with his processors. I really like the rechargeable batteries because they last all day and we never have to worry about switching out batteries during the day. He has four batteries and we would switch them out every other day. About a month ago, one of the rechargeable batteries would not take a charge anymore when I put it in the charger. I had already been doing some research and had decided that I would switch him to disposable batteries. Purchasing two rechargeable batteries would cost about $400 and I would have to fight the insurance company to get reimbursed for that. The two rechargeable batteries would last about one year (four batteries lasted about 2 years).

I can purchase 60 batteries on Amazon for $18.25. This would mean I would need on average about 4 boxes of batteries each year for each processor, costing me $146...approximately. The disposable batteries last about 3 days for each processor. This is a lot cheaper than $400 a year. Now, when Elijah swims he has to use the rechargeable batteries if we use the waterproof coil and sleeve to put around the processor. I want to save the rechargeable batteries that are still functioning to use with swimming.

Now, we have used rechargeable batteries in the past, so I made sure to have a few packages of batteries in my purse. However, when we go into the recreation center or the library I usually don't take my purse in. So, there we are in the rec center today when one of the processor's batteries dies. Elijah had to go without hearing in one ear for about an hour. He survived and so did I. As soon as we got home, I made sure to put a package of batteries in my key ring holder!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Parent's Wish

I wanted to share this website from Cochlear Americas. It is a website for parents of children with hearing loss. The parents can get more information about cochlear implants. Here is the website:

I am a strong supporter of parents having the right to choose what communication method they want their child to use. We chose to sign and speech with our son and to have him get a cochlear implant at the age of 17 months. He received his second implant at the age of 4 1/2. I believe that signs were a bridge to him learning language and learning to speak.

I believe that LANGUAGE is the key for all children but especially for deaf children. Whatever a parent chooses for their child, they also have to follow that child's lead. Parents have to realize that it will be WORK, but it can be fun. It will be HARD, but it will be REWARDING. Elijah chose to be oral after we worked a LONG time for him to learn to speak. He dropped expressively signing, I didn't make him stop. He can still understand what I sign to him when his processors are off. We can't have an in depth conversation, but we can communicate!

Whatever choice a parent makes...sign or speech or both, it should be remembered that this is about the CHILD and not about what is RIGHT. There is no right, there is what is needed.

I could ramble on for days, I know, but I will get off of my soap box. ALL parents need to read more with their children (hearing or deaf), spend time with them, have conversations and be their first teachers!