Parents' Letter (April 5, 2012)
The parents of a wonderful girl Kristina from the town of Soligorsk are asking you for help.
Kristina is a marvellous girl, one can call her a sunny-child. She was born healthy, but at the age of 5 months Kristina fell ill with obstructive bronchitis. What could such a disease lead too? But the treatment with Gentamicin resulted in irreversible deafness. During the treatment nobody told us that the antibiotic could harm the child's health in such a way. The doctors always tried to convince us that Kristina had been ordered an efficacious treatment. By that time the girl had already been babbling, but everything changed in the course of literally half a year after the treatment. The girl stopped paying attention first to the very quiet sounds and then even to the very loud sounds. We started worrying. But it was too hard to believe that our child could have hearing problems. There are no hearing impaired people in our family! But during our visit to the National Science Practical Center for Otorhinolaryngology our suspicions were confirmed. It's impossible to find words to express what we felt when we were said that our girl has severe neurosensory hearing loss. The world around us collapsed, everything grew grey. We wanted it so much to turn out a scary dream that was going to end soon. But no — it was just the beginning. Medical check ups, establishing disability status and preparation for the cochlear implant surgery followed. It was hard time for our family since we had no idea what cochlear implantation was and how we would live with it. And we kept asking ourselves the only question: "Why did it happen to our little girl? Why has God sent us this severe trial? Were shall we get strength to go through it?" We failed to prove the fault of the doctor that had ordered treatment with gentamicin in what happened to Kristina.
In March 2008 at the age of 38 months Kristina had a surgery. The four hours it lasted seemed an eternity to us. Seconds turned into hours of waiting. Thanks to the surgeons' high qualification everything went well. A month later the system was turned on and we started learning to listen and hear. It is a very complicated process. We needed higly skilled specialists' assistance, but they were not available in the little town we lived in. We were offered to send our daughter to the National Center for Hearing Impaired Children. We had to leave Kristina at the Center for five days in order to achieve better results. Not seeing our child for such a long period was very hard. Each time we were leaving with broken hearts. But due to the atmosphere of kindness and understanding reigning in the Center Kristina adjusted very soon and stayed there without crying. And it led to good results: by the end of the year she was able to recite short rhymes and had a decent vocabulary. There were tears in our eyes when we heard the words "Mom" and "Dad" for the first time. We got an incentive to give even more to our child. We left everything and moved to Soligorsk — the town where Kristina could have a chance for further rehabilitation and development. And as they say, the world is not without good people. We were welcomed by the Soligorsk Center for Remedial and Developing Instruction. They helped us to select a day care with a speech therapy group for Kristina, where wonderful specialists and really understanding people worked. Kristina liked going to the daycare very much. She was taught to write and read, started attending several study groups. But most of all she likes dancing. Kristina is a very frank and kind girl, she is very sincere. She knows how to be happy and love with all her heart. Sometimes her openness moves us to tears. Kristina has a little brother Kirill. The day I was discharged from the hospital and brought Kirill home she took him up in her arms and started crying so hard that frightened us. When we asked her what happened she answered: "I love him so much! He must not ever get sick!"
Kristina always helps in everything. She takes pleasure in playing with her little brother. Kristina likes to tidy up, helps me in the kitchen. She is fond of nature and animals. But unfortunately she has few friends since sometimes kids have a hard time understanding her and occasionally it is difficult for Kristina to understand them.
Once in a while her speech processor stops working for no reason. At such moments Kristina starts crying of fear that the device has broken down and she will not be able to hear any more. The specialists recommended us to buy a more powerful OPUS-2 speech processor produced by MED-EL company. It will enable Kristina to hear better and understand speech regardless of the noise, hear quiet sounds, better hear the music. And consequently, she will have more opportunities to socialize. And it is very important, taking into account that Kristina starts school in fall. A new speech processor will help her to feel more confident and adjust better. But unfortunately, our family can't possibly afford buying the OPUS-2 speech processor for Kristina. I am on maternity leave. And my husband works even at the weekend. We want our daughter so much to get a chance to hear this world better, not feel inferior and socialize with her peers.
We believe there are compassionate people capable of helping and understanding other person's trouble even in today's hard times. We thank the Chance Foundation and all the people that will respond to our call for help.
With respect and hope,
The Osipov family