Monday, October 9, 2017

Uplifted by Downs

Isaac Levya, actor
It's been a while since the last post but not much has happened. Still the daily 3-5 intense seizures which wear me down.

So we finally wrote to the neurologist for guidance, enquiring specifically about starting a daily dose of THC to try and tackle them. (We now thankfully have a precious new bottle of the stuff.)

She recommended that we raise the dose of Keppra by 250 mg/day. But our THC idea didn’t appeal to her. She noted that a colleague who is more knowledgeable about cannabis assured her there is no evidence that THC affects seizures in any way, notwithstanding our anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

Nevertheless, she OKed one drop of it/day maximum.

For now, we’re trying the additional Keppra, so far without success. We’ll give it 2-3 weeks and then return to the previous dose of 2,500 mg./day. Afterwards we’ll try that daily drop of THC. Not that I have any hope a micro-dose like that will help. To zap C.’s long strings of seizures, we give 17 drops.

I’ve been encountering many Downs children lately when I pick up one of my grand-daughters from kindergarten. She attends a semi inclusive kindergarten. That translates into a small group of Downs students joining her “typical” class for a couple of hours each morning. The group then returns to its segregated class for the rest of the day.

I know, I know, that’s just token inclusion and the school could do more. But it’s better than none at all.

I mention this because I’ve noted how longingly I watch the Downs kids. I envisage the rosy life we’d have if only C. had been blessed with Downs instead of the disabilities she’s lumbered with.

That’s quite a switch from the days of my pregnancies when my deepest dread was giving birth to a Downs baby. It seemed the direst scenario possible.

Live and learn.

A propos of Downs Syndrome, I just learned of a film starring a Downs actor, "Any Day Now". As usual, I’m playing catch up – the film was released back in 2012. It hasn’t aired yet on TV in these parts so I’ve only seen clips from it on YouYube. It strikes me as a gem and the many awards it’s won attest to that.

Playing alongside its stars, Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt, is a young actor with Downs, Isaac Levya. The film is about a gay couple in the 'seventies trying to adopt a child with Downs Syndrome and the legal battles they face along the way. In an interview [here], Dillahunt describes Levya’s professionalism and how, during filming, Levya would occasionally tell his co-actors: “Give me some quiet; I’m trying to get in character”.

He attends acting school, auditioned for the part and endearingly discusses his acting experiences here.

I live in a place where mothers are still known to abandon Downs newborns in the hospital and where some who do bring them home later institutionalize them. Success stories like Isaac Levya's are particularly uplifting in this environment.

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