Injection #3: Compounded Folinic Acid and Subcutaneous Methylcobalamin

Poor sweetheart. I guide him to bend over the couch, watching videos of trains on my phone. While he is completely entranced, I rip open the alcohol swab.

What if the pharmacy gave us the wrong stuff?

I pull down his diaper. Then wash his buttocks. Smooth skin. Today the right cheek.

MotherBear5: It’s the only thing that’s helped.
AutismWarrior: After eight years, my son finally said “mama.”

Slow, as if I am conducting music. My hand goes up and down. His skin radiant, alive. I press the alcohol-soaked pad.

Rumor said a doctor once killed an autistic child with alternative treatments. Rumor said a child was healed. The CDC said autism cannot be cured. The New York Times said 10% will “grow out” of it with the right support. A local autism parent told me to avoid all supplements and just accept God. An anonymous neighbor online said autistic children should “be euthanized.” A friend of the family said autistic children should be taken into custody if parents use alternative treatments.

I could run this swab over him for hours. He could watch trains for hours. I take off the cap. Needle hovers. Fucked-up little machine.
Thin as a shred, sharp as a steak knife.

The National Institute of Health conducted a meta-study showing this improves symptoms 30%.               The National Institute of Health says this has little to no side effects.

I hold his skin taut. Our pediatric nurse said to aim between 15 and 40 degrees. Sink the needle into his baby fat.

Autistic brain cells. Lesions. Atrophy. Studies of dendrites. Recent headline: Brains of Autistic Children Like Alzheimer’s Patients.

Blur. Sofa mealy-colored. The room appears pixelated. His bare cheeks. It’s done.

He flinches. Sticky bubbling in his throat rises. Then roars, wail delayed. He pulls his feet, arms, fingers tightly to his body, away from me. Betrayed.

I want to collapse. Table with broken legs. I wish he could somehow comfort me, how inappropriate.

I approach him like a stray, brush the hair around his ears, then rest my head on his smooth back until the video ends.

Sherine Elise Gilmour graduated with an M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Green Mountains Review, Public Pool, River Styx, So To SpeakTinderbox, and other publications.

 

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