“Do you know it is exactly one year ago today that you received your hearing aids from Natalie?”. Excitedly he runs to his grandparents room “Ma, Pa, do you know today is my hearing aids birthday! I’ve had my own hearing aids for a year today!”
You know I’ve had an unfortuante experience with public health sector when it came to my son’s hearing loss diagnoses and interventions and it is with this in mind that I set out to find an exceptional audiologist in the private sector to work with us once my son left Carel du Toit (CdT) at the end of the 2013 school year.
I contacted a few practices in Cape Town and was disappointed when the Receptionist came across uninterested/unfriendly, when I left a message and no one returned my call or when I sent an email and had no response.
Thus in my frustration, as a by the way kind of question, I asked my friend Dan (knowing my expectations) if he didn’t perhaps know of any exceptional audiologist in Cape Town. Now you need to realise that Dan lives in the States, so you can imagine my surprise when a few days later he sent me two options, an audiologist in Durbanville and another in Sea Point!
I reviewed both audiologists websites and told him that logistically NB-Hearing in Sea Point would be easier (we live in Fish Hoek, a hour’s train ride and 10 minute taxi ride!). Dan corresponded with Natalie Buttress from NB-Hearing. He even gave her a call, professional courtesy he said, before I made contact with her directly.
I contacted Natalie after Dan informed me that he’s personally spoken to her and she is expecting my call. The first thing that striked me about Natalie was her professionalism, direct manner and her honesty.
A few weeks later we were welcomed by Gwen, at NB-Hearing’s reception and soon met Natalie in person. Kai was a bit shy at first, but soon warmed up to her. She engaged with Kai, she asked him questions, she wanted to know the boy behind the smile!
I was very transparent with her. I told her that we weren’t on medical aid and I would in all likelihood need a payment plan for any consultations, test, devices, etc. I think I had R500 and told her that I would pay the rest at month-end, but would really be grateful if she would take Kai on as a patient.
It is here where I truly experienced Natalie’s dedication and passion. She spent two hours with us. She tested Kai’s hearing. She explained in detail the reasons why the donated Oticon hearing aids (another blog post!) were too powerful and why the Phonak’s limited fitting range would not be suitable for Kai fluctuating loss. We also looked at the fitting range of the donated Widex hearing aids he had on loan from CdT.
I almost burst out crying at the end of our two hour consultation when she said “I’m not going to charge you for this consultation. I want you to save your money towards hearing aids. Also let me make contact with Widex and one of my clients who have a pair of hearing aids that they want to sell and see what I can do.”
That afternoon I left NB-Hearing with a strange feeling, a feeling that said “you are in good hands.” Natalie understood that I wanted the best for my son. She was not dismissive of my many questions, but rather complimented my thirst for knowledge and understanding.
About a week or so later, one evening, after 7pm I received a call from Natalie “Chevone, are you sitting down? I spoke to Widex and they are DONATING a PAIR of hearing aids to Kai” – my mind literally went blank, all I could say was “are you serious, really?” while jumping up and down!
I ran to my parents bedroom and could not contain my excitement, I struggled to get the words out “Widex is donating hearing aids to Kai!” then my mom got excited, and I stopped jumping up and down “wait, wait, let me just call Natalie again, maybe I heard wrong!”
Yes, I called Natalie again to confirm that I heard right and that Widex was indeed donating hearing aids to Kai! Yes! Yes! Yes!
When I gave Kai the news he also could not believe it, “really mommy, my own hearing aids, I won’t have to give it back, it will be mine…?”
So a year ago, on the 16th October 2013, Kai was fitted with his own brand new pair of hearing aid!
Today, we celebrate our audiologist, Natalie Buttress, an amazing individual who has crept into our hearts forever and a day. Not only did she motivate for this donation, but she also took Kai on as a pro-bono patient (free consultations) for two years, whilst his hearing aids are under warranty.
Again I want to thank Widex for their generosity and Dan Schwartz for the referral and introduction.
Natalie – no words can express our gratitude. Sitting here, writing this blog post in celebration of you, I am once again overwhelmed by everything that you’ve done for Kai – I am wiping the tears off my cheeks as I’m typing this. THANK YOU FOR ROCKING OUR WORLD IN THE MOST PHENOMENAL WAY! You inspire me to be the difference…