Maria Fernanda Benavides

I have been a Cochlear Implant (CI) recipient for nearly 25 years. I was fortunate to be one of the first ones implanted with a Cochlear Nucleus 22 device in Quebec City under surgeon Dr. Pierre W. Ferron, when I was 19 years old. I have had this implant for nearly 25 years and I was recently recommended to get reimplanted with a new device soon. My CI road and experiences along the way has been a success and with full discoveries experiences, trials and errors, more than words can describe.

I was an alumni of the MOSD (Montreal Oral School for the Deaf, Inc.) who lost her hearing post-lingually as a child, and clearly have benefited from the use of the CI. While reimplantation with a newer modern device sounds exciting, in my case, the prospect of having to travel to Quebec City for the surgery is an anxious, worrying and complicated one, not to mention the financial burden. I am a stay at home mom, married mother of two now, my youngest soon starting kindergarten, and the prospect of having to travel twice to first undergo this surgery, then return for the programming of the processor, means that my whole family will be impacted by this situation. As a mother, I just cannot deal with, consciously, think about leaving my family behind in Montreal, especially my youngest, while I go to have the surgery in Quebec City. I would feel much better if my family is there with me, I believe feeling their support, closeness and encouragement is important for anyone requiring to undergo surgery, be either for implantation or re-implantation, especially this being a life-altering experience. But for us, this would mean that my husband would have to be off work to care for our child, while I have the surgery, while I am recovering, when I have to have the stitches out, and while I have the programming done. This also means that we would have to find lodgings in Quebec City which is not cheap, buy food and attend to the needs of our children, among other things.

With all this, I fully support that a team of CI specialists and/or surgeons could be had here in Montreal hospitals, maybe one in the CHUM and the other in the MUHC and that the surgery be done here – this would drop a weight off our shoulders, albeit a financial one at that, and not to mention that family could be close by for close support and not have to have to take time off work and/or could be able to work more effectively from home if needed, while at the same time attending to the needs and support of the family along with those of the newly implanted individual.