Some themes get old on Finding My Kid. If you’re a regular reader, you can probably name a few: sleeplessness, detox and die-off, food, the New York Rangers. These are the light motifs that underlie our journey. They are the stuff of my day-to-day.
I have to add another theme to the list: skepticism and rebuke. At least, skepticism and rebuke as pertain to Heilkunst. Recall that we started Heilkunst late in 2014, and that it’s a method of sequential homeopathy designed to help the immune system clear various insults it has suffered. I went into the process with doubts. Then the first clear Martin received (for coxsackie) made him puke and also produced a light coxsackie rash, and I started to see the light. Later, when we cleared the H1N1 and MMR vaccines, plus antibiotics we’d previously used to treat SIBO, Martin’s reactions and improvements were so dramatic that I became “non-skeptical.”
At least for a time. But there were no dramatic improvements for a while, and I grew complacent, and complacency, evidently, reopens the door to doubt. I asked myself: Is Martin still benefiting from Heilkunst?
If you happen to write fiction, you’re probably familiar with Chekov’s gun, which is the rule that a story (or play, or scene, or essay) should be free from extraneous detail. I poked around and found that the gun is usually attributed to a letter Chekov wrote in 1889 to playwright Aleksandr Semenovich Lazarev: “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.”
Writing rules are meant to be broken, but I will respect the gun—which is to say: I raise my Heilkunst doubts because I intend to erase those doubts.
It isn’t supposed to be all about me. Is it?
To this day, I carry guilt about Martin’s birth. I won’t describe all the circumstances again, except this brief enumeration: In the 42nd week, against my better judgment, I allowed induction by Pitocin, which led to Martin getting “stuck” sideways, which led to continual drops in his heart rate, which led to an unplanned C-section, which upset me so much that I got a fever, which (“maternal fever”) caused the hospital to place my healthy baby in the NICU and pump him with intravenous antibiotics, in an incubator away from skin-to-skin contact.
Here’s a portion of the story I haven’t shared before on this blog: After Martin was taken, I was wheeled into a “recovery room” and told to sleep. Even then, my instinct told me that something was wrong. I needed to get to my child, and so, fresh off a surgical table, I pulled myself from the hospital bed and tried to find Martin. I made it only a few paces before blood collected around my feet and I slipped. A nurse entered and found me on the floor, a mess, trying to rise again. The nurse insisted that I get back into bed. I said, “No. My child. I have to get to my child.” Finally, I agreed to lie on the bed on the condition that she find Adrian: “Get my husband! Go get my husband!”
She left the room. Somehow, Adrian and my mother appeared in the recovery room with Starbucks drinks. (It was early morning.) Though even I didn’t know why, the sight of Adrian and my mother smiling with Starbucks drinks in their hands enraged me. When our child needed us, they’d gone to Starbucks. I told Adrian to go to Martin, to find Martin and protect him. Adrian said Martin was fine, that the doctors were taking care of him, and that I needed to go to sleep. I said Martin needed to be with me, and that Adrian needed to find Martin immediately.
I don’t know what happened after then. I have no more recollection. My next memory is being wheeled into my own hospital room. I may have fallen asleep, or fainted, or become delirious (if I wasn’t already). Or maybe I’ve blocked the memory. In any event, what remained was the impression that Martin was in danger, and I was at fault, and Adrian was at fault, and nonsensically even my mother was at fault. Three years later, when I began to understand what antibiotics do to the gut biome, and the gut biome’s connection to autism, I wanted nothing more than return to the day before Martin’s birth and refuse the Pitocin, and refuse to surrender him to the NICU.
Please don’t chime in and point out that my guilt is unjustified, or that it is ridiculous to be angry with Adrian and my mother for getting Starbucks. I know that most first-time parents have neither the foresight nor the wherewithal to realize how destructive our medical birth culture can be. I know all that. Yet, when Martin was five, I attended a wedding and was seated next to the bride’s brother-in-law, who was holding a six-week-old baby and also full of bravado. “They tried to put her in the NICU,” he declared, after describing some minor complications. “They said they’d call family services if I didn’t let her go. So I said, ‘Go ahead and call family services. My lawyer will be here long before they will.’ They gave up and left us alone. Ha! I know my rights!” His performance upset me enough that Adrian and I had to leave the wedding early.
Two months ago, the envelopes with Martin’s latest two Heilkunst clears arrived by mail. When I had talked with the homeopath, he mentioned which clears were coming, but I hadn’t paid much attention and wasn’t thinking about that when I tore open the big envelope to extract the smaller envelopes with remedies.
As soon as I touched the remedy envelopes, my hands began to shake and I started crying. I had to catch my breath. Unsure what was happening, I set the whole packet down and took a minute to compose myself. Sometimes I experience generalized feelings of unease and have to pause to remember what’s got me anxious—an unaccomplished work project, an upset friend, a fight over a bill, whatever. The feeling that overtook me when I was opening the remedies, however, overran generalized unease or emptiness. It was an immediate affront, and I couldn’t connect it to anything happening in my life.
At length, confused, I retrieved the first remedy envelope and noticed what was inside: the first of several clears related to Martin’s birth trauma and NICU experience.
I have no explanation for this event other than to believe whatever energy was in those envelopes—homeopathy is energetic medicine—provoked a reaction in me, from the spot of my regret.
Just had to get that out.
Along with the clears every few weeks, Martin also takes daily Heilkunst drops. One dropper helps with Lyme disease, and the other is a drainage dropper that helps him move stuff through his system generally.
About a month ago, his drainage dropper became contaminated and I had to order a new one. I could have replaced the drainage dropper with a “paper remedy,” which is where you write the particular remedy on a piece of paper and keep it near the recipient. Believe it or not, however, some aspects of homeopathy, like paper remedies, still seem too far out there even for me. So I ordered a new drainage dropper, which had to be sent from Canada and then reconstituted upon receipt, and a lot was going on, and yadda yadda yadda, Martin went a couple few without his drainage dropper.
Martin’s final week without the drainage dropper was dreadful. He was defiant, resistant, downright crabby. His teachers reported silly and unfocused behavior. His personal trainer said he seemed “out of it.” He demanded constant attention. He couldn’t fall asleep. I had an extra glass or two of wine. (Food for thought on that topic, see this opinion piece.) I connected none of this to homeopathy.
Sunday, the end of that week, was no exception. Martin vacillated between wanting to accompany me to church and wanting to go with Adrian to the gym. Actually, he spent more time complaining about both choices. He wanted to stay home and use his iPad. He wanted to stay home alone. He complained about lunch. He complained when Adrian “made” him go swimming. He whined so much about the notion of going out to dinner that we decided to eat on our back deck instead. (We don’t usually yield to whining. A great blizzard can snap even the most stalwart bough.)
Meanwhile, I finally got my act together and prepared the new drainage dropper, which had arrived at least a week earlier and sat on the counter. Mid-afternoon, Martin had his first drainage drop in several weeks.
He ate dinner without incident, other than grumbling about what I’d prepared. He was two bites into dessert (chocolate quinoa cake, leftover from entertaining Saturday guests) when he said, “My tummy hurts.”
“Why don’t you go to the bathroom?” I asked.
He went in the house.
He didn’t return.
Five minutes later I found him sitting on the toilet, hunched over. “My tummy hurts,” he said.
“Did you go to the bathroom?” I asked.
“Let’s see if a warm bath helps.” I ran a warm bath with Epsom salt and baking soda and helped Martin into the tub.
I’m going to yadda yadda some more details here. I’ll report the highlights: a bathtub of water, Epsom salt, baking soda, and puke; Adrian yelling, “Get him to the hardwood!” as Martin started to puke on the family room rug; me grabbing the countertop compost bin to catch more puke.
When Pukefest concluded, Martin said simply, “I need to go to bed.” Within two minutes, he was asleep, at least an hour earlier than usual.
When it comes to Martin, I’m prone to overreacting. Once the house had been scrubbed clean, I proceeded directly to Google to review the signs of delayed drowning, because Martin had spent the afternoon in the pool and now was unwell. Excessive tiredness was on the list. Vomiting, maybe. Martin had none of the other symptoms of delayed drowning, and he’d identified a tummy ache, not any pain in his lungs or chest. None of that stopped me from waking every hour during the night to check on Martin to make sure he was breathing well and not foaming at the mouth. And so I can tell you this: That night, Martin slept. For thirteen hours he barely stirred.
When he woke, at 8:00 Monday morning, Martin was utterly buoyant. He bounded into the kitchen and said, “It’s already 8:00! I slept late!” I replied, “That’s no problem. I will drive you to school after you eat breakfast.” (Martin attends summer school, for which I usually wake him by 6:45.) I steeled myself for protest; Martin will exploit any excuse to get out of school. The protest wasn’t forthcoming. Instead, he said, “Sounds good! I’m going to get dressed.” For breakfast, he ate eggs and veggies in a tortilla. When I picked him up from school, his teachers said he’d had a “fantastic” day. His personal trainer reported “big improvement.” He ate dinner without a whimper. He went to bed and slept soundly again.
Coincidence? Or just undesirable stuff—who knows what?—building up without his dropper?
Once upon a time, I would have said the former.
P.S. According to Wikipedia, Aleksandr Semenovich Lazarev was a pseudonym of A.S. Gruzinsky. Other than that, I can’t find out much about him. Poor Lazarev/Gruzinsky appears to be remembered only for Chekov’s gun.
Martin prepares to take a swim lesson.