Updates – July 4th

The past couple weeks have been pretty darn good as far as visiting Alex. The whole family was up for a while (still preparing for the move, but they visit when they can), and because of the extra support, we were able to have Alex visit our home instead of just going to visit him in his. He had a blast every time he visited, and got his first baths in many months (his facility has a shower – no bathtub).

I give him hash whenever I can, but I don’t know if it’s having any long-term effect, because he’s still sporting new bruises and scratches at least once a week. He’s been mostly happy around his family, but it’s clear that he’s still having regular bouts of self-injury away from us. It’s really nice that he’s so happy when he’s around us, of course — six months ago, he was rarely happy for more than an hour at a time — but I still feel like his best hope is a twice-a-day (maybe three times?) low dose of marijuana. The side-effects of his current medications are not only concerning, but also would be impossible to spot. How could a non-verbal, autistic child let us know he’s feeling vertigo, confusion, or memory loss? How would we know if new seizures were brought on by a medication when he’s already got a seizure disorder? How would we know if he’s nauseous and that’s causing him trouble eating? How would we know if he’s feeling abnormally depressed or angry? How would we know his heartbeat is occasionally erratic? How could we contact a doctor in the cases where “severe” side effects should be immediately reported? Alex couldn’t even tell us when he had a staph infection that caused horrible sores all over his head!

In better news, my radio interview is available — check out http://www.marijuanafactorfiction.org/ for the MP3 of Radio Free Moscow’s show that features Alex’s story. The interview starts around the 95-minute mark or so. I think I did a poor job of explaining the full situation, but it’s better than nothing.