The Voice That I've Been Waiting To Hear

Micah's Voice showed up on our doorstep yesterday morning, an hour before I had to leave for speech therapy. Sam is working evenings this week so he was here to share in the joy. You'd have thought Ed McMahon himself was standing there with an over sized check and helium balloons, we were that giddy.

I called Mr. PR immediately, as the note said to do. (I've changed his name. It's short for Prentke Romich. I should really ask him if he minds if I use his name because that would make things easier. But in the meantime, it is what it is.) He gave me his cell phone number so that I didn't have to get routed through the company and wait until they tracked him down, or leave a voice mail message. I love this company, they make things so easy for the consumer.

Mr. PR gave me over 30 minutes of his time walking me through some basics, and assuring me that we could not break it. Please play with it, please use it and get to know it. We cannot break it. He really wanted me to know that, and it was rather reassuring since our home gets busy on occasion. Ahem.

And then I packed it in my purse and took it in to give to Micah for the day. His little face lit up like the Griswold's house at the holiday season when he saw it. I asked him if he wanted to go eat. (This is a rather rhetoric question with Micah. He's a good eater, according to every evaluation done by every teacher he's ever had.) He started growling like he does when he's upset, and stopped himself short. I then heard NO. It was a rather coincidental random key, but I had to wonder if he did it on purpose or not.

He continued to play with buttons and I heard all sorts of things. The last thing I heard before he laid it on the seat was HURT STOMACH. He must have gotten frustrated when he couldn't find something to eat on it and put it down. But no worries. He'll have a lifetime to play with it, so he doesn't need to learn it all in the first 5 minutes. Besides, we had to scarf down lunch before speech therapy.

I showed it to the therapist who was as enamored as a techie given the newest gadget. Her job is to teach kids to talk, so she doesn't work with AAC devices. But oh, she was so interested. She took it back to the session with her. She handed it to me when they were done and said he wasn't much interested in it. I was a bit disappointed, but again I had to remind myself that he doesn't yet know the impact it'll have on his life. He's only had it for an hour, after all.

In the van I realized that the screen was glowing white, but no buttons were lit up. It wouldn't turn off, and it wouldn't turn on. I had the thing 2 hours total and it was broken. GAH! Prentke Romich will regret their decision to help a desperate mom very quickly. They'll probably ask for it back.

When I got home, I called Mr. PR. He said, "I've never had this happen before in all the years I've dealt with them." (How's that for "I sure made a mistake in giving it to you?") I apologized profusely, but in reality it didn't happen under my care so I couldn't even tell him what had caused it. But you know what that angel disguised as Mr. PR did? In less than 5 minutes he helped me fix it. And then? He apologized profusely. I was taken aback - I broke the thing and he's apologizing? He said this was not normal for the product, he's never seen it happen before, we did not break it, and it was okay.

How's that for customer service? I love Prentke Romich, and Mr. PR.

So after we got it working again I spent the afternoon reprogramming it because I read the book and it showed me how. But then I realized that I chose too few keys and spent the evening re-reprogramming it. And that ate up the batteries because they were low to begin with so I charged it overnight. While it was charging, I stood at the counter until 1:00 AM and personalized it for him.

At 3:00 AM Micah woke up fussing, which is highly unusual for him. He and I were up for hours until he finally puked in the sewing room at 6AM. (Well what else was I supposed to do in the middle of the night?) Thankfully it was on a blanket that I spread for him and was easy to clean up, but by the time I got laundry taken care of it was time for the other kids to get up for school. There's a fun start to any day.

I also had much time to contemplate in the early morning hours about the random, frustrating buttons Micah pushed yesterday. You know, the HURT STOMACH. I'd love to believe that he didn't feel well then and was telling me so, but one cannot believe in that kind of miracles this quickly. Although I'm letting that miracle simmer on the back burner because what else are miracles other than miraculous?

The good news is that Micah promptly fell asleep after being sick and slept until 9:30. And he should have gone to school because there was not a thing wrong with the boy the rest of the day. Kinda weird, but there it is. He was thrilled to be presented with his Voice this morning upon waking, and immediately pressed HI, then walked away. I know this was on purpose because as soon as he sees me in the morning he holds up his hand and says IIIII.

He seemed to be kinda tired of dealing with the Voice by mid afternoon so I put it up on the counter and ignored it for a while. I was a bit disappointed by this because of course I had visions of him taking the thing in his arms and dancing with it through sunny fields of flowers in slow motion, twirling it around and around like the reunion of a long lost love. So much for that grandiose dream. But it was rather far fetched.

My afternoon was kinda dragging from the disappointment of the shattered field of flowered dreams, so Prentke Romich stepped right up to dance with me. I got another email. It started with "I read your blog." Apparently my blog is garnering a whole lotta attention from the company lately. It went on to say that they would like to link to my blog so that others could read the glowing report I've been giving them (without pay, even!). This is kinda fun, one has to admit. But the second half of the email asked if they could do a story on Micah for their newsletter.

Dude. I feel like a mini celebrity. And yet it's a bit awkward because they're the ones doing all the great things. They're giving me things for free, helping me unbreak things and not yelling at me for breaking it, giving me personal one-on-one customer service, and overall being more than I ever thought a major manufacturer could be. That personal touch speaks volumes, you know? I'm so humbled. They want to put a picture of my boy with his Voice on the front page of their website. I feel kinda like I've just been carried on someones shoulders in the Disney parade. I am not quite sure when my feet will touch the ground again because it's rather surreal. Surely I'm dreaming.

But moving on...

The best part of the day happened at bedtime. I took the Voice upstairs with me to put Micah to sleep so that I could further customize it for him. (It's gonna take a month to program that thing just right. But that's a good thing. There are that many options available. And we can upload our own pictures of family members, places we go, and other things.) But I was not allowed to program it because Micah wanted to navigate around his new digs. He took my finger and pushed every button over and over and over. I am sure he's memorizing what each says. That's the way his mind works. After he went over the main screen several dozen times we moved on to sub screens and he was thrilled beyond measure to find the one with his family member's names. After he pushed Mom, Dad, Becky, Josh, and Luke he seemed to get a bit frustrated. I then realized that I did not have his name on there. (I know it sounds obvious, but I was thinking that he'd use the page to say he wanted *this person* and one doesn't ask for themselves.) Once I added his name, and he pushed it, he was content. Poor kid, he just wanted to belong to our family.

I turned it off because it was past his bedtime and he needed rest. But he turned it back on and wanted to memorize more buttons. This? Is so exciting. Better than the Disney parade feeling even. Because Micah is learning how to talk to us. This is why we persevered for months - to have our son communicate. Oh, the joy! And yet, he needed sleep. I turned it off and set it aside.

Micah reached around me and picked it up again. He tucked it under his arm, rolled over, and fell asleep.

My son has a Voice.

Yeh, I cried again.

39 comments:

Pam said...

so I am a million posts behind- but YEAH! Yeah for the box coming and an answer to prayers. Yeah for Micah finding his way around it and finding his voice. I'm so happy for you!

LaskiGal said...

And I am crying with you. This is a huge, whopping groundbreaking milestone for your family. Micah's life will be forever changed.

I think I love this company . . . what they are doing is amazing, life-changing. Do they even know? Yes, of course. They are reading your blog, following your story.

And you know those sunny fields of flowers . . . I'm thinking you just might get it yet.

Sweet Micah . . . what life will have in store for him (and for his mama).

I LOVE techy gadgetry, especially when it does something GOOD.

Trannyhead said...

This is so huge! I'm sorry I'm playing catchup with this saga now, but I've been following it on plurk while I was out of town. I'm beyond thrilled for you and like I said, if ANYBODY deserved to have something good happen to them, it's definitely you. I look forward to reading about Micah's continued achievements!

Michelle said...

oh you're not the only one crying after that story. WOW! Karen, WOW! How totally awesomely cool is this? For all of you!

And funny thing as I started read this post, I was wondering when they were going to ask you to be a spokesperson or testimonial. I guess I have my answer now!

YAY!

(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

I'm thrilled for Micah and you! How exciting. And, yes, PR rocks! But so do you. You're the mom who has fought for her son all this time. Go Karen!

One of my closest friends' son is DS and turned 13 last month. He has asked me to marry him more than once - and if there weren't 20 years difference and The Mighty Hunter between us, I just might do it. He is as dear to me as my own kiddos.

I'm thoroughly enjoying learning about Micah. Give him a hug from his new fan, Keri!

Flea said...

*TEARS OF JOY FOR A FRIEND*

Miracles are very real. Sleep well, friend!

Andrea said...

That last picture is worth 1000 words! I love it! And I am glad he loves his new voice. How wonderful. I am so excited for you and for him. Oh I bet he has so much he wants to say. I am so excited for him!!

Cecily R said...

Me and my emotional self are here, being blubbery right along with you. Oh, I am so excited and happy and optimistic for you both!

That picture just made me want to hug him.

I'm so happy he has a voice!!!

P.S. I think I love Prentke Romich too!!

SgtSudsWife said...

That is great!I am so happy for Micah and for all of you who will now finally know what he has to say.

The Sports Mama said...

Something tells me that Mr. PR could build himself a happy little harem just by plucking some of your readers!

I am so beyond amazed and awed and the incredible gifts that God has given your family. If ever there was an example of how simply taking things on faith rewards the truly faitful, your family is it.

Karen said...

"Where there is great Love, there is always miracles"

God Bless Micah and his voice!

Irene said...

OMG!!!!! This is SO exciting!! I am so incredibly happy for you! And I can't wait to hear every single detail.

Burgh Baby said...

The more Micah learns to use his Voice, the more speechless I become. Just wow.

Allison Says said...

Oh, Karen! This is all so amazing. I'm so happy for you and Micah.

Caution Flag said...

Please don't stop the posts now. How exciting to read every single detail! Keep on talking, Mighty Micah!

caramama said...

Okay, I'm going to have to stop reading you at work. I can't keep crying and having this goofy smile at work!

I'm just so thrilled for you and Micah. I'm sure he'll go through periods where it frustrates him or he isn't interested (just as kids do with speech, right?), but overall I'll bet he will love it and be so happy to have his Voice!

Way to go, Mama! And way to go, Prentke Romich!

mommaof4wife2r said...

oh i am sooooo excited...i am beaming reading this post. i know micah is getting his orange Voice and learning ...and i can feel your thankfulness. i can't wait to see what God has planned for this little guy...i just know it's a life of great big things! and your faith...it is keeping micah strong too! well done...and way to persevere!

Kim said...

Him wanting to sleep with it is pretty much the same thing as him running through a field of flowers with it. I am so happy for you and him.

Jenn said...

This is so wonderful, I'm so happy for you guys. I love the picture of him sleeping with it tucked under his arm..too cute !

the planet of janet said...

this is, without question, the best thing i've read all day.

jumping for joy for you and micah.

Momisodes said...

I am crying right along with you. That photo and this story is so moving. I am thrilled the Voice arrived, and your needs are being met so wonderfully by the company. I am so happy for you all :)

Karen Deborah said...

pure joy.

Leanne said...

Yeah, I'd be crying too. Sorry about the lone flea though, but I must admit, the second part of the post was what I REALLY wanted to read. :) I'm so GLAD it's all working out. Mr. PR, you and yours ROCK!

Nap Warden said...

Girl...I am crying with you. Such great news for you and your whole family...and that picture!

Karen said...

Miracles........I have never been as happy for you as I am right now. There is no question that God sent Micah to you for a reason. Your fight and advocacy for your son benefits us all more than you realize.

Aimee said...

Well of course you cried! I haven't even met him and I am getting misty :)

I am SO, SO happy for you all - what a great blessing.

Now how long do you think it will take your clever boy to figure out how to program the thing by himself? ;)

Debbie Yost said...

What an inspiring story! I for one tend to believe it is no coinsidence that Micah said his stomach hurt. He's a smart little boy and has so much to say. I'm so happy for all of you. I can't wait to hear what else little Micah has on his mind.

Kidzmama said...

Again, you did it. You pushed and pushed and won for Micah.

I bet he was looking for the "thank you" button.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I am not attractive when I cry, could you stop doing this to me?

BLESS YOU Mr. PR!!!!

Karen MEG said...

I am crying tears of joy for you, sweetie. This is wonderful!

My Two Army Brats said...

I'm so excited for you all!

Yeah for Mr PR!

I can't wait to find out what all Micah has to say!

just jamie said...

Man...seriously...I'm crying. First it was goosebumps, then warm cheeks, and now, that picture, my GAWD, I'm crying. What a blessing. Truly. So happy for your family!

Shellie said...

THAT is even better than dancing through fields with it!! I am so excited for you!

JennyH said...

Awww- he is the sweetest! Glad he seems to love it! The company seems great and I am so glad they are trying so hard to help you and Micah.

Colleen said...

I asked Justin while we were in my mom's car driving to her house Thursday night if he had checked whether-or-not Micah had gotten his speaking device (he hadn't checked...such a waste of a fancy web-surfing phone).

I am still so excited and happy for you guys...and am still giggling about Micah running through the field of flowers with the device...totally with the filtered lens and sappy music. :)

And is it me? Or does it look a little like a Speak and Spell? At least the little bit I can see in this picture it seems to.

Michelle said...

I love that picture of Micah sleeping with his new voice! How awsome that he is already figuring things out on there and being able to communicate with you! Talk about a great company!

CC said...

Darn it that I missed another amazing post about Micah. Consider me a "follower" and subscriber as of now!

Annette said...

I am not officially crying, but the tears are welling up...and my nose is running. My 2 1/2 daughter has a speech disorder called apraxia, so she has to learn how to say each sound, and until it is truly learned...hard. With God's grace, she is overcoming this quickly, saying new word approximations each week...sometimes each day.

I am so glad that Micah now has a voice to be heard. Meghan is frustrated enough...to be six like Micah...

God bless your family!

~Alison~ said...

I am so happy for you and especially for Micah. I ran acroos you letter on the PR site when i was trying to get intouch with the rep for our area. I am an SLP and an avid supporter of AAC.
I look forward to reading your blog and following Micah's wonderful story as he tell the world all he has to say!
I noticed you enjoyed Robert's book Schuyler's Monster. It is one of my favorite books! I just had the privaledge to meet his family at our state conference! It was truly a pleasure!