Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Using Sign Language to Communicate

Elijah hears very well with his cochlear implants, but there are times when I use sign language to communicate with him. Of course, when he is not wearing his processors I use signs to communicate. This is usually when he is dressing or bathing! There are other times though, that I do rely on sign to communicate with him.

Yesterday, we went to the recreation center for archery tag. This was in a huge gym, that was split down the middle and there was a lot of NOISE. All of the kids got to practice shooting with the bow and arrows and then the game started. He had to wait with the older kids while the younger kids played first. I was about 20 feet from him walking to try to get my steps in (I wear a Fitbit and am trying to lose weight) and he would whine and say he wanted to play. I was able to sign to him "wait, stop" and threaten to take away his iPad later....all in sign language. Later when he was up playing with his team, I was able to sign to him "good job, stop" and a few other things. Even with his processors, in a LOUD environment it can be hard for him to hear.

Even today I used signs with him again. We were at a loud restaurant for my brother and soon to be wife's after rehearsal party. He was at the kid's table with his cousins and I was able to sign ask him if he wanted his iPad later, and he voiced yes, and I signed for him to stop whining. My brother looked at me and said, "I wish my kids knew sign so I could speak to them quietly like that." Elijah really does understand sign language, even though he voices back and doesn't sign to me. I am glad that I have this way to communicate with him either due to background noise or distance!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Customer Service

Elijah was first implanted back in September of 2001, which means I have been dealing with Cochlear Corporation for almost 13 years. He was first implanted with the body worn Sprint processer, then he upgraded to his Freedoms, and now has the Nucleus 6 processor. During these 13 years, I have had to call Cochlear on average of about 7-10 times a year. I have always gotten great customer service, until today.

When Elijah upgraded to the Nucleus 6, Cochlear Corporation offered a program where you could request to send your Freedom processor(s) back to them to be cleaned and to make sure they are in good working condition. I opted to do this, and when the N6 processors arrived there were two return boxes, one for each of his Freedoms processors. After his N6's were programmed, I boxed up his Freedoms, per the instructions and kept the tracking numbers. I then delivered them to a FedEx facility to be picked up.

I checked the FedEx website the next day and saw that both processors had been delivered. Last week, I received one of the processors back from Cochlear via FedEx. I decided to call today to make sure that they still had the other processor and try to get an estimate on when it will be returned to us. I want to cancel the extended warranty I purchased for these two Freedoms to get a partial refund to help pay for his N6 processors.

I called and a gentleman with customer service answered. I explained why I was calling and then he asked for my son's name. He then said, "You are trading in your freedom processors" and I said "no" and explained the return program and that this was offered by Cochlear. I asked him if he was aware of this program and he said he was. He then asked for my tracking number, so I gave him one. He then said, "what is this tracking number for?" I then explained the program (rather irately) again and WHY I had the tracking numbers and what they were for. I asked him again if he was aware of the program and he said he was, and then put me on hold. I waited for five minutes and then I called in again using my home phone, while still on hold with my cell phone.

A young lady answered the phone who was more familiar with this program. She asked me all of my questions, got the tracking number and one serial number for the processor I had received back. She then said that she showed they had received the other one, and would inquire on the other one but would need some time. She asked if she could call me back. I said she could then asked to speak to a supervisor, explaining that I was still on HOLD with this other gentleman who was clueless. While I was waiting for the supervisor, the gentleman, let's call him Dan, came back and I got his name and he really had no answer for me except that they had received both. He couldn't tell me if they still had the one there. I told him what I had done with my other phone and that I was waiting for a supervisor. He then said, "Well I was just going by what you told me." OH this irritated me even more. I then spoke to the supervisor and explained what had happened. I compared the two customer service reps and told her about the Dan's last comment. She stated she would pull the phone call and listen to it and apologized several times.

I told her this was the first time in 13 years that I had received such poor service. I am just so glad this didn't happen early on when Elijah was first implanted.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nothing New

There isn't too much new to write about these days. I got an A in my grad school class, and I am all registered for the Fall semester. Elijah is still liking his new Nucleus 6 processors. We went to visit my sister this past weekend and he got to use his Aqua+ Pack several times. I had to add the Namuu hat to keep the processor on while he was swimming. The mic lock tubing just wasn't keeping the processor on his head. We had a great time with my sister and my nephew Trent. I am home for a few weeks, then I will go to a three day conference. The boys will stay with my partner.

I am taking Jacob to his college orientation next week. We have slowly been purchasing what he will need for his apartment. We found a desk at an office supply place and I'll pick it up this weekend. I can't believe that he will be 2 hours away from me in just two months. I think I can survive it!

I hope everyone else is having a great summer.