Steve Edwards in Orion:
Our move East had been necessitated by a pair of crises. Bouts of unemployment during the economic meltdown left Rebecca and me mere weeks from homelessness, and Wyatt — with his blue eyes and blonde curls, all sunshine and prairie — was chronically ill. A series of shifting, catch-all diagnoses followed him from doctor to doctor: colic became a protein intolerance, became reflux, became the suggestion of autism. He put on weight but had low muscle tone. He could say and repeat words but couldn’t really talk. And though he was meeting developmental milestones for growth and development, by two he still required the attention of a newborn. He raged and whined, napped in fitful spurts, spent half the night crying. If Wyatt played at helping with the chores, or if he had a peaceful afternoon nap, I’d think we were turning a corner, that the sweet boy we knew was inside him somewhere might now come blossoming out. It’s what we thought with each new doctor’s appointment, too. In the weeks following the hurricane, we discovered from a geneticist at Boston Children’s that his glycine numbers were high and his carnitine numbers were low. From an allergist we learned he had milk and tree-nut allergies. Each new clue brought with it changes we thought might somehow break the spell. We ditched the almond milk an old doctor had suggested in favor of rice milk. We went gluten free. On the advice of a nurse practitioner, we began giving him melatonin before bedtime.
Exhausting every option until he was healthy was our duty as his parents.