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Doctor Niparko

I could finally take a deep breath and relax. The painful drive through traffic to Baltimore is never fun. Although today it was completely worth it. 


It was a regular ‘tune up’ with his audiologist that brought us there.  They were running behind schedule so after a trip to the bathroom, snacks and playing bubble breaker on the phone Ajax and I went for a walk.  It was then that I recalled my strange prompting that morning to pack my camera  in case we happen to run into Alexander’s (nationally recognized and talented) cochlear implant surgeon, Dr. Niparko, which is completely out of the norm since he is more often in surgery then not. 

I spotted him down the hall just leaving a patients room.  It was full steam ahead into the Otolaryngology area to find him.  It crossed my mind that I might seem a bit strange stopping by for a picture and to share a brief update on Alexander’s progress, but I still felt prompted to anyway.  A nurse stopped me before I got too far and asked my reason for being back there. I explained I wanted to say hello and snap a picture of my child with his incredible surgeon.  She immediately said he was too busy.  I don’t take no for an answer, so I patiently said, “Really?” with the hope the Dr. would pass by and I could stop him.  He did.  To the dismay of the nurse he stopped to talk to Alexander and me. 

As it turned out, Dr. Niparko was hosting some businessmen from South Africa.  They were only in town that afternoon leaving the Doctor a few hours to inspire them about the miraculous, although expensive, technology of cochlear implants and the opportunities they give to deaf individuals to fully function in society.  Their purpose for visiting was to find out if they could establish and support a listening center in their home country.  They did not know much about cochlear implants so Dr. Niparko was more than enthusiastic to have Alexander stop by.  We went on a walk and he interviewed me so the businessmen could gather as much information from my experience about the process of surgery, activation, therapy and family life. 

Dr. Niparko lead Alexander to a huge window overlooking the hospital entrance and asked him a few questions. “Alexander, can you see the cars down below?”

Alexander gave a detailed response, “Look there are three yellow taxi’s. I also see a bus, do you see the bus?! Can you see it, it is blue?”

With enthusiasm the Dr. turned to the businessmen and said, “See, this is how I envisioned it!  This generation of children implanted at or before a year old would be able to listen and talk without the use of sign in a natural environment!”


I took the picture I was prompted that morning to take. Our audiologist was around the corner, calling our name.  It was time to go to Alexander’s scheduled appointment.

Many of times in life I am prompted to do things, this was one of them. Whether it was for Dr. Niparko, the businessmen, or simply a photo for Alexander’s scrapbook; someone was touched by the miraculous cochlear implant devices implanted into my son’s head.

Hopefully it leads to many other children in South Africa sharing the same hearing successes as Alexander.


Elizabeth said...

What a fantastic story. Who knows how far the "echoes" of your experience will go to change the lives of children with hearing loss around the world as the businessmen take this experience home with them.

Melanie said...

I have the chills. So, so cool.

Dr Efrat Schorr said...

That is a wonderful, inspiring story!

MB said...

Lovely story! We are always hoping to run into our surgeon but it hasn't happened. We miss him!

(Kudos to you for driving to Baltimore as pregnant as you are!!)

tammy said...

What a great story! I have never been at JHU that Dr. Niparko (if he wasn't in surgery) didn't stop by to see how Aiden was doing and to say hi. He is an AMAZING man.