Sitting on tacks, gratitude, and other unmentionables
“In explaining to my patients how I go about the detective work involved in unraveling their problems, I sometimes recite the “Tacks Rules” to make my point.
- If you are sitting on a tack, it takes a lot of aspirin to make it feel good.
- If you are sitting on two tacks, removing just one does not result in a 50 percent improvement.”
-Dr Sidney Baker
About 2 months ago, through some networking in the Calgary autism community, I met the doctor we’ve chosen to work with to oversee Hannah’s biomedical testing and treatments. The great thing is that she’s trained by the Autism Research Institute and is knowlegeable in the latest approaches to treating underlying conditions that are part of autism. After a consultation, the first biomedical test we’ve chosen for Hannah is a 3 day stool sample. The stool sample will test for overgrowth of bad bacteria, parasites, yeast, and any other goodies, and also let us know how the good bacteria that should be present in the gut are faring.
Collecting a 3 consecutive day stool sample from Hannah was a bit trickier than you might think, for reasons that I’m sure you’re happy not to read about. When I’d successfully collected and stowed the 3rd sample, I was fist pumping and doing a happy dance. About poop. Awesome, huh? (Having a child with autism can change your life in ways you never imagined!) Why was I so excited? Well, one of the current theories about a contributing factor in developing autism is overgrowth of gut bacteria that produce toxins that affect the nervous system. (If you’d like to know more about this research, but aren’t into reading medical journals, and you live in Canada, you can watch an interested segment by David Suzuki’s show, The Nature of Things. The episode is called The Autism Enigma) Because one of these theories, I’m hopeful that in 2-3 weeks, I’d have a better idea of what was going on in at least one portion of Hannah’s digestive tract. That might give us information that might help us select treatments that may pull out another “tack”.
My excitement died down just a bit when I phoned in to tell the office that the sample was ready, and to ask just how much the lab fee would be. ( I should have asked earlier, but knowing that we’d do this test anyhow, I hadn’t asked.) Gasp!
Because the doctor we are seeing is a naturopath (with 4 years of medical school!), her services are not covered by Alberta Health, and our insurance company will cover very little.
Here’s where the gratitude comes in: If there’s one positive to having your child diagnosed with autism, it’s that here in Alberta, that qualifies you for the Disibility Tax Credit, which how we are financing the biomedical testing and treatments. Hearing the official word that my child had autism and was “disabled” was one of the hardest moments of my life, and one I will never forget. But, at this point I can be grateful that those determinations are paving the way for us to investigate solutions that may help.
So now, I wait and count down the days until I the mysteries held within Hannah’s GI tract are revealed. 🙂