Cute kids are notorious scene- stealers on the stage—and on the magazine page, too. Our Fall cover (reproduced below), featuring adorable little Geneva Durgin, drew plaudits from readers—as did the substance of the accompanying story by Geneva's mom.
A sign of success
Thank you, Jennifer Durgin, for sharing your personal experience with the journey from silence to sound for your daughter in the Fall issue of Dartmouth Medicine. Your story will be invaluable for many parents and families in similar shoes going through the big decision-making process. In fact, I have already shared your article with several of my patients and colleagues.
Most of all, I must applaud your efforts to embrace early access to communication, which is indeed the biggest challenge and barrier for infants with a hearing loss. I loved the beautiful pictures of you signing and talking with your daughter. The eye contact between you and your daughter is powerful. She is one very lucky girl to have such committed parents, who explored and learned about all the different aspects of deafness: Deaf culture, mainstreaming, language development, communication, and technology. And she has been offered all the options of communication, maximizing the two main senses—visual and auditory—so she can choose for herself which method is best for her.
As a deaf doctor with a connexin- 26 mutation who grew up mainstreamed and got a cochlear implant as an adult, I use both daily—my cochlear implant and sign language—as I speak, lipread, and sign. I am envious of children who have it so good these days, with early identification and advanced technology.
Keep up the good work—Geneva will do very well.
Wendy Osterling, M.D.
DC '95, DMS '04
Salt Lake City, Utah
Osterling is currently a fellow in pediatric neurology at the University of Utah's Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
I must comment on the Fall cover story by Jennifer Durgin. I have been absolutely transfixed by the cover photo of her with her husband and daughter and keep looking and looking at it. It is one of the best covers the magazine has ever had. Everything about Geneva is so sweet—she's a real heart-winner.
All of Jon Fox's other photos with the article are just great, too, and the story by Jennifer is superb—bringing in so many elements that I would never have known about otherwise.
It's evident that all concerned are taking this story step by step. Even as Geneva's hearing gets better and better, I suspect she and her mother will still always have a "sign" between them.
Lunardini is a former associate editor of Dartmouth Medicine; her byline has appeared on many a superb story in these pages, too. She still contributes to the magazine occasionally and, in fact, wrote a piece for this issue—see "DHMC Auxiliary marks 75 years of service as a 'fairy godmother'."
Applause for emotion
I loved your article "Sound and Silence." I work with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and applaud how Geneva's mom was able to capture the factual background of the family's journey and blend it with the huge emotional component for parents and support personnel.
A physician I know shared the article with me, noting that he had enjoyed it and knew I would, too. I am gratified that thanks to this article, many physicians will learn about the process of grief and acceptance of hearing loss/aids/implants for kids (or adults, for that matter). This process involves a lifetime of growth for the parents, affecting how they view the future for their child, even through college and marriage.
I will be ordering some of the "pilot caps" mentioned in the article to help keep aids on kids' ears. My most recent six-week- old hearing-impaired child will definitely benefit from one!
Thank you again for sharing this story with the world.
Karon Lynn, Au.D.
I came across a copy of the Fall issue of Dartmouth Medicine and would like two more copies, if I may. The issue contains an article very important to my family, as my granddaughter is getting a cochlear implant in a few months. I was so much more informed after reading the article.
Karen Mbiad Palm Harbor, Fla.
We are happy to send out extra copies of a back issue if we have them.
The teachable moment
I very much enjoyed the profile of Dr. Connie Brinckerhoff in the Fall Dartmouth Medicine. Her happy smile in the photo reminded me of an important experience I had as a first-year medical student.
I can't remember what class it was—maybe biochemistry—but it was early in the year and I was still of the mind-set that somehow my acceptance to DMS had been a mistake that would soon be discovered, at which time I would be sent packing. Science and medicine were foreign to me, having come from a family of lawyers and literary people and having majored in English at UC-Berkeley. Further, it seemed to me that I wasn't a dedicated memorizer, and my mind tended to wander when I was in class.
I felt my only hope was to simply swallow