Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm back!

Phew…I’m back! What a whirlwind trip. I wanted to sit down and write a little about my trip to Salt Lake City.

First, I need to thank Wayne for making sure that I continue to attend the National EHDI (Early Hearing Detection and Intervention) conference. He knows how important it is to me and makes sure that we find ways for me to get there.

So, you’re asking yourself…Why did Melissa go to Salt Lake City? Well, it was for the National EHDI conference! EHDI is the program that instituted the UNHS (Universal Newborn Hearing Screen). Anna’s hearing loss was identified by the UNHS and it’s so important for me to share our experiences as a family with all the professionals that attend the conference. Anna went with me in 2005 when it was in Atlanta. She loved meeting everyone and she is a shining example as to how well the system can work. Had Anna’s hearing not been tested at birth, I doubt that we would have known that she has a hearing loss. Anna has bilateral sensorineural hearing loss that is mild to moderate in range. It’s a congenital birth defect and at this point, we don’t know what caused it. We may never know. There is genetic testing available, but we aren’t rushing to do it. Anna may or may not have the gene that causes hearing loss or she may have a gene that hasn’t been discovered yet that causes deafness. There are too many unknowns about the genetic testing that we feel that decision should be left up to Anna when she gets older.

Anyways…back to my trip! I met some very incredible women while I was out there. Molly from Indiana was a just a peach and we had a great time having lunch and getting to know each other. Then, there’s the clan from Wisconsin that I just love. Renee, Chris, Elizabeth, Laurie, Lorie, Sharon, Dr. Schumann, Sharon, Rachel, Kelly, and Ann (no particular order…just trying to remember how we sat at dinner at the Red Iguana) were so much fun and so sweet. I had a great time going to dinner and hanging out with their “cool kid’s crowd”. Not to say that the Michigan girls aren’t as fun, but I just clicked with Badger women. Being the lone Spartan at the table was no treat! Haha!

But on the serious side, I did get a lot out of the conference. I listened to a few sessions on genetics (as you can tell from above!), the North Carolina EHDI program (which has the Beginnings program), and course anything that had to do with families. I had a great talk with Dr. White again (the super tall guy from the pictures below). He's just so impressed with Anna and her knowledge of the whole Newborn Hearing Screening. Well, I thought it was important for her to know how we found out about her hearing. After talking to Janet DesGeorges about the presentation that we wanted to do for next year, I think that Anna needs to come and present. I’m going to start a power point this summer and see where it goes.

I did a lot of walking around in Salt Lake City. We ate at a few cool brew pubs and they were good. Squatters and Red Rock were the two that people seem to hit most. I ate lunch with Janet and two other moms at an authentic Austrian bistro and that was excellent! All in all, there are plenty of good eats around the downtown area of SLC.

There are quite a few neat places too. Obviously Temple Square is the most interesting. I was amazed at the gardens inside the square. I’m not going to comment on my feelings about the Mormon issue. I feel like those are personal beliefs and this is America and we are entitled to believe as we please. Enough said. I did a little shopping at an “Artist’s Market” of sorts. It was located across the street from the hotel and I got some fabulous earrings for me and Anna there. They had tons of neat things there. I could have spent plenty there, but didn’t!

After three days, I was good and ready to come home. I missed Wayne and the kids. No matter how great the bed was with all the pillows, I apparently enjoy the cramped bed at home. J There’s nothing like having a sleepy Anna crawl in at 4:00am and settle in for a few more hours.

Oh yeah. For those of you that really knew us, we lost our beloved cat Buzz (aka Percy) this past week. I had no idea that he would be going so soon, but he began to lose weight and I didn’t want to admit it. I can now look at the pictures that I took on his last day and see how sick he really was. He knew it was time, we knew it was time and he passed away. We will miss him greatly as he had been with us for nearly 13 years. Now our only pet is Riley Jean. She will be 13 next month. People still ask us if she’s a puppy because she doesn’t act like the senior citizen that she is.

Well, time to get off of here and get some dinner going. Many hugs!