We met with the otolaryngologist this morning. We got no answers. No cause, no prognosis, no expectations, no cure, no relief.
We got a referral for an MRI, as of yet unscheduled. Our insurance requires it to be pre-certified. Circumstances require it to be an open MRI, since we will have to use visual cues instead of audio cues to give directions.
My eight year old's face is blotchy in the rearview mirror.
"Baby?" I query.
"I can't even hear you!" The words burst out, angry. "I can't hear you and I can't hear Ms. ________ and I need my ear back." These last words collapse into tears.
I pull into the first parking lot to the right. A sign announces that this lot is for Gastroenterology. An old man is being guided to a car by an equally old woman in a bright pink windbreaker. I take off my seat belt, turn the engine off, and turn around in my seat.
"Baby, can you hear me now?"
He looks up, nods. His hair is sweaty and ruffled at his temples, and I want to smooth it but I don't.
"We will do this together. TOGETHER. I need you to trust me. I am on your side. If there is a way on earth, I will find it. Do you understand?"
He holds my gaze for a few seconds, then nods and drops his eyes. Behind him through the back windshield, I see another man come out of a side door, another woman guiding him with a hand at his elbow.
"I love you."
"I love you, too, Mommy." Defeated. Deflated. Asea.
He does not look at me again.