|The Third Circle of Dante's Hell, The Inferno|
Today's visit to The Neurologist included the usual bringing her up to speed on the amounts of medication Sophie is currently on, how much of the Onfi we've weaned since the last visit and a couple of jokes about the drug Fycompa (that causes homicidal and suicidal ideation) and the drug Potiga (that causes blue lips and nails). I made the jokes, and The Neurologist gamely laughed. We also discussed the CBD and the THC and how well they're working for Sophie. She even walked in without a wheelchair! The Neurologist exclaimed. Then, apropos of nothing -- or maybe because of the homicidal/suicidal ideation and blue jokes -- she mentioned the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, a medical device that I've heard about since it was first introduced in the late 1990s when two of my friends at the time traveled to Ohio to have one put in their young children with refractory seizures. The various neurologists we've seen over the years bring it up in a sort of lethargic way, so I've never really thought of it as a compelling treatment for Sophie, and I still don't, even with what I learned today from The Neurologist -- that They've made some enhancements, namely an ability to be adjusted in smaller increments. Such is my lethargy, I don't feel like telling ya'll what the VNS is, so feel free to look it up on the Google. My mind wandered a bit when she told me about the enhancements -- toward wondering why mini-vans were first made with only one sliding door and why having them on both sides was such a genius innovation and couldn't have been done in the first place.
At worst, The Neurologist skipped over the extraordinary results of CBD and THC on my daughter. At best, she was doing her job and sharing information, and I'm grateful for that.
I'm going to call a spade a spade. Sophie's neurologist is Dr. Kalayjian. I really like and respect her. She is very supportive of what we're doing and sympathetic, always. She's a good doctor. At some point in the otherwise enervating discussion (remember that word?), she said that Another Neurologist exclaimed the other day, I need more research! I get questions all the time now about CBD, but we just don't have the research! In calling a spade a spade, I'm going to call the Another Neurologist, Dr. Heck. I've known Dr. Heck for a really long time and even sat on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles with her for a time and at the same table at a gala or two. She never remembers me, but that's fine. She's clearly got a large gargantuan doctor mind.™ It was Dr. Heck who summarily cut off our panel discussion about CBD last February at the Epilepsy Brain Summit. I'm calling spades, spades, when I also name Dr. Hussain as the doctor who also patronized us that afternoon and who continued to do so in private emails I exchanged with him. I believe I reached the point of no return in the email thread when I pointed out that when he was in high school, Sophie was diagnosed with infantile spasms, and that today, twenty years later, as the head of the infantile spasms program at one of the best epilepsy centers in the world, he's still using the exact same treatment (well, now we've got Vigabatrin formally approved despite it causing serious eye damage and then there's The Knife) with the same abysmal results. I might have added that it would behoove him to have a bit of humility, or maybe not. I can't remember because my tiny little mother mind™ had spontaneously combusted in the confrontation with his large gargantuan doctor mind.™
Why am I typing this out here, calling spades, spades? As I made my way through the circles of Hell that constitute the USC parking garage, mainly curse words and phrases came to mind as responses to Dr. Kalayjian's comment about Dr. Heck "needing more research." I didn't have it in me in the moment back in the office, distracted as I was by Sophie's formidable strength and drive to get up and out of the joint (no pun intended). To be honest, these phrases might have included if she and the rest of the docs got their heads out of their asses..., and f**k your godforsaken studies, and try looking them up because there are reams of them!
Reader, I was not directing these ugly thoughts at Dr. Kalayjian, as her head is decidedly on her shoulders, and she's very supportive or at least superfically so. They were directed at Dr. Heck and all the other large, gargantuan doctor minds™. Again, these thoughts only came to me as Sophie and I stumbled through the parking garage looking for our car (I am directionally challenged). When I'd finally found it and situated Sophie in her seat, given her a cold drink and turned on the engine, all curse words flew out the top of my head and what I was left with was this:
How about Sophie?
Why the hell are you not responding to Sophie?
Here's your study!
Here she is!
Look at her!
Listen to me!
Listen to others like me!
Stop blowing us off!
Stop reporting us to Children's Services!
Stop prescribing multiple drug regimens!
Follow our progress!
Take it seriously!
Don't dismiss us as anecdote!
Open your minds!
Remember that with few exceptions, you are no more intelligent than most of the people caring for their children with refractory epilepsy and in many cases, you are less experienced!
Your field is a dark one, and you do not have all the answers!
You missed the train eighteen months ago, and I'm giving you a chance to get on board!