Monday, April 23, 2012

Step 23: The Mistreatment of Autism.

I would have never, ever thought before autism, that I would have such disdain for doctors or the pharmaceutical industry.  Before autism came into my life, I actually wanted to be a doctor.  When I realized that may have been a bit out of my financial and mathematical league, I wanted to instead be a Pharmacist.  But that proved to be even further out of my league simply because in Organic Chemistry I couldn't get past enantiomers and being able to visualize them for tests!  But I loved medicine and pharmacy nonetheless.  I study it every chance I get and read about it when I have spare moments to read.

So it behooves me how since my son was diagnosed with autism, it has been most everyone but doctors or pharmacists who have helped me help my son, with few exceptions.

I guess I'm glad I never became a doctor if that would mean I would forever be closed-minded.  I'm glad I'm not a Pharmacist pushing drugs as if they're candy.  I'm glad I've been able to do what doctor's can't any longer:  Practice Medicine.  Not publish about it, not make money off of it, not meet the paperwork guidelines of it.  Just simply take the time to practice it.  Problem-solve for it.  Things doctors cannot do any longer.  I'm glad the Pharmacist in me is one who looks to nature and nutrition to heal, and not drugs.

I remember my first run-in with the medical malpractice that is autism.  My Pediatrician simply said that my son has autism and that I should go home and love him, there were no treatments and he would end up in an institution one day.  I guess I should have been thankful that I was simply told there was nothing to do about it, not that I caused it as mother's before me were told.

Funny how there was no good to be found in autism treatment back then as there is now.  You were simply thankful for bad, not the ugly of the generation before.

This child that my Pediatrician had no treatment for was my son who at one year of age was smiling and wearing a hat, and who by two years of age could not stand for anything to touch his head.  He lost language and preferred to be alone in his room banging his head relentlessly against the wall.  Any doctor I took him to, merely prescribed drugs to counter those behaviors.  Not one doctor actually looked further or did tests to see what might be causing those behaviors.

By then the internet was exploding with autism information and autism "quackery" in alternative approaches to simply drugging a child to death.  Pediatricians could not and did not even try to take the time to keep up with what was new, with what was actually helping these children live a better life.  When I would ask my Pediatrician about "secretin" "chelation" or "gluten-free-casein-free diets" I was told those things were quackery.

But I researched those approaches and in my mind I could rationalize them and found a way to try them.  And they worked.

What he called quackery turned out to be treatments that helped my son.  When he said he couldn't help me because of his "Do No Harm" oath, he never understood how by doing nothing he was actually doing my son the most harm.

Fear is the worst kind of medical malpractice.  Fearing something new, something unknown. Being so caught up in the business of medicine that you forget how to even practice it.

Doing nothing for autism is doing the worst kind of harm.  To not understand what an abnormal test result means is one thing. But to write it off as simply "autism" and do nothing further because you don't know what to do, is doing the most harm.  I know that because for the decade my son suffered from chronic diarrhea I had to live through that mentality of "If we don't know what's wrong, we'll just ignore it."

It was one of those few exceptions in physicians who actually took the time to properly diagnose and treat my son to the point where now he is healed in a period of two years of that chronic diarrhea he suffered from for ten years.

I don't know if mainstream medicine will ever get that, and that is what haunts me about all these 1 in 88 parents who are taking their children to traditional medical centers where they are given drug after drug to mask behavior after behavior.

Everything that has made the most difference in my son has been from alternative medicine, non-traditional practices, or quackery -- whatever you want to call it.

That my son doesn't bang his head anymore is not because of Clonidine, Risperadol, or anything else.  It's because his stomach doesn't hurt anymore because we have used the GFCF diet to aleviate allergic reactions that were causing that behavior.

That my son can now focus and learn, is not because of Adderal or Ritalin, but because of nutritional supplements and digestive enzymes that allow him to absorb the nutrients so his brain is no longer starved and in a fog.

That my son understands how to be a part of his surroundings in an appropriate manner is not because I just "took him home and loved him then put him in an institution" but because I sought out applied behavior therapists to help me help him.  To teach him in the way he can learn. To be consistent so that he is not further confused or frustrated.

Despite how much further my son has to go, I am so amazed at how far he's come! 

He is happy.
He is for the most part, pain free.
Except for seizure medication, he is drug free.
He is learning, growing, fitting-in, healthy, healing, and thriving.

Isn't that what medicine is all about?

I've never been more thankful to parents and forward thinking (yet few) physicians who have helped us, not harmed us.

I've never been more ashamed at the medical & pharmaceutical community who collectively continue the malpractice of autism and who in doing nothing but write a prescription, do the most harm.