Current Issues

We are off to visit Martin’s biomed doctor. I made a list of issues to discuss, which includes the following:

  • skin rashes, in the form of blemishes that Martin scratches and picks at until they bleed;
  • itchy skin overall;
  • impulsively calling out words he doesn’t mean, in a manner almost like Tourette Syndrome (Martin does not have Tourette);
  • obsession with foods, allergies, which foods he can or cannot eat, which are treats, and so forth;
  • trying to understand tough situations by putting Minions into those situations, like, “Bob [a Minion] was on the playground and another kid said he couldn’t use the swings. Is that nice?”;
  • constantly apologizing, which has been an ongoing habit.

(There were other issues on the list, too personal for sharing on the blog.)

What are your guesses, readers? Parasites? Metals? Lyme activity because we started using cryptolepis to treat babesia? A different form of the yeast beast? Dry winter air? Noticing differences between himself and other kids?

I’ll fill you in after our appointment with the biomed doctor.

And before you worry that Martin’s recovery is off the rails, I will add the following:

First, Martin’s self-awareness is blossoming. Even his teachers have noticed. After school last week, Martin confessed that he had hurt his friend Nicole’s feelings by calling her “racist.” (In light of Black History Month and Martin’s classroom unit on civil rights, our family has been doing a lot of talking about racism and our country’s legacy of segregation. I think he was angry at Nicole, and “racist” was the first insult he happened upon.) He added, “Sometimes words come into my head that I know I shouldn’t say, but I can’t stop them before they come out of my mouth.”

Second, this morning, by phone, Adrian said, “This past month or so, I’ve been having these awesome moments with him, where he’s just acting like a regular kid, and I can finally think, ‘This is it. This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is the reward’.”

What Will We Remember?

Friends visited us recently with their son Robert, who is younger than Martin and less far along the autism recovery journey. Robert kept his mother busy, as she had to pull him repeatedly away from his fixations—trains, colors—to get him to eat or otherwise join the group.

After our guests left, Adrian said, “Robert can be a handful!”

I replied, “Reminds me of Martin a few years ago.”

“No, Martin never had obsessions like that.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“I remember when we always had to take the Brooklyn Bridge home, and how he liked certain train lines, but he wasn’t so challenging as Robert.”

“Are you talking about our son, Martin?”


“So you’ve forgotten when I had to buy placemats in different colors so he could practice using something other than yellow without having a meltdown?”

“That’s right. I did forget that.”

“And the panic if he boarded a subway and no yellow seat was available?”

“I guess he did that, yeah.”

“Then there were the times when he and I had to wait for the No. 2 subway, because if a No. 3 came instead, he’d scream with fright, even though he knew it went to exactly the same place.”

“You did used to tell me about that.”

“How about when he couldn’t go to school unless he had that pink stuffed bear from Chicago in his backpack? When he had to approach and open every mailbox we passed on City streets? When he refused to enter the wine bar if ‘our table’ was occupied? When he—”

“Okay, fine. He did have all those obsessions. It’s easy to forget what those days were like.”

This conversation made me reconsider the previous posts “So Far Gone” and “Manifesto.” One day, when someone says, “Maybe Martin never had autism,” will I respond, “Maybe not,” because I too have forgotten? How will we bear witness to recovery as more and more symptoms become so far gone that we forget they ever existed?

I have his earliest developmental neurology reports, the ones that describe a child unresponsive to his own parents, unaware of his own name, echolalic, in the first and third percentile of expressive and receptive language. Those tell the early story.

And I have this blog.