Calling All Angels

You radiated love and strength and triumph when I met you a few years ago. You’d been tried by fire, and had been made resilient. The fire you’d been tried by—serious illness in your baby, almost losing her—was behind you. She won’t live for more than a few years, they’d told you, not without treatment. So you trusted them, and began treatment, but she stopped thriving. Stopped growing, stopped playing, and was in pain all the time. The doctor said it was her disease killing her, the medications apparently not working, even though she’d been well before she started on them.

A biochemist and virologist familiar with both the medications and the virus told you, when you asked, that it was the medications not the virus, most likely to be the cause of her death. Up against a wall—lose her to the treatment, or the virus; what more horrible choice might a parent have to make?—you took a terrified leap of faith, and took her off the medications that had so quickly begun robbing her of vitality. She revived. Two decades later, when I met her, she was as vivacious and beautiful as ever, going strong.

And now, she who once as a very young child was unable to walk or eat or grow and was told she would not live, now all grown up, she was ecstatic to meet her own beautiful baby. And then devastated that he was tested for her disease and put on medications, but happy when they eventually let her take him home.

And then they came into her home and literally wrenched him from her arms after all, and took him away again. They took him not because his parents weren’t giving him his medications—they were. They know how these things can work. They came and took the infant because his parents had cancelled a single doctor’s appointment in order to make a trip to consult a second opinion.

It’s a chaotic, insane, tragically cruel world out there.

They took him, and did surgery so they could begin pumping these medications directly into his tiny, failing body, which at two months now on these treatments weighs no more that it did at birth.

This baby, whether he lives or dies—does he not deserve to be in the arms of his parents and grandparents? And his parents and grandparents—do they not deserve at least a vote at this point, after seeing the effects of these medications up close, after living them first-hand? After seeing a return to vitality once the mother of this child was taken off them all those years ago?

They know something that not everyone knows, after all–the 11 other children in their state with the same virus at that time, all of whom continued on with the medications, they are now dead.

I know exactly, from personal experience, the efficiency with which these kinds of drugs stop living organisms in their tracks. How can it be, in an apparently modern and progressive part of the world, that our medical care doesn’t involve consultation between medical experts and the human beings directly involved? How is it that we’ve lost the right to determine for ourselves which experts to trust? To determine when enough poison into the body is enough? When did the simple suspicion of potential non-compliance down the road become enough to give to the state the right to separate mother and child?

I can’t tell you how my heart breaks for you right now Cheryl, and thank you for your courage through this from the beginning, and again now. Calling all angels.

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