Tonight I'm sitting in a hotel room in Hartford. My son and husband are using the other laptop to video conference with my parents. The lowercase, having decided a few moments ago that he is, in fact, a cat and not a boy, is doing nothing but crawling around the bed meowing.
And I can't help but feel grateful. My friend took her son for his appointment with the developmental pediatrician. Since we aren't home, I only got the briefest of details. Her son was officially diagnosed as autistic. Her husband, who had been sure that the only thing wrong with their son was a slight speech delay (at 29 months, he has yet to speak a single clear, correctly pronounced word -- his closest is that when pointing at a car he will say "kuh"), is having a really hard time with the diagnosis. And they finally had a doctor tell them that her epilepsy medication is almost definitely the culprit. She cited recent research linking the drug to increased rates of autism when compared to the general population. They won't definitely say it since both my friend and her husband each have a cousin with an autistic child and the research on the connection between her medications and autism is still based on a sample size that isn't large enough to draw that conclusion.
My heart is breaking for them. They had begun trying to have another child, but she hasn't yet gotten pregnant. Now that they know that her medication has likely caused their son's autism, they've decided that maybe they shouldn't do that yet, if at all. And my friend is devastated at the thought that she caused this.