Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery
Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to twitch his neck. From that day forward his life became a hell of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances, and Cory embarked on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist to discover the cause of his disease. Soon it became unclear what tics were symptoms of his disease and what were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. The only certainty is that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman's life was a living hell.
AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE is the true story of Cory and his family's decades-long battle for survival in the face of extraordinary difficulties and a maddening medical establishment. It is a heart-rending story of struggle and triumph with a climax as dramatic as any James Patterson thriller. (2008)
the way it was. Fluvoxamine is one of the worst drugs I try because its side effects are so extreme. At first it calms me down quickly. My dose is increased, and I have another great day at school. Right after that I can’t stop laughing in art class and am asked to leave. From there I become depressed, and the dose goes up again. Three more calm days in school are followed by a sudden burst of more tics and cursing in front of friends. I begin clenching and unclenching my right hand so hard
chair. “We’ve been driving for hours.” The two guys look at each other. Not happy. “We’re closing up for the night,” the chair guy says. “We open at eight tomorrow. Where are you staying?” “We have no place to stay.” My father nods in my direction. “I promised my son we’d be able to ride. It’s really important to us.” The tension in the air makes my body twitch. Maybe they notice, maybe not. After a long silence, the boy in the chair gets up and trudges to a small shack on the dock that
hugging me. When I get a chance, I search the stands for my family. Dad’s arm is wrapped around my mom, and he’s beaming with pride and happiness. This is almost too much for me to stand, all this happiness and joy. A short while later, the stadium is emptying out. As I walk to our car with my family, I can see how proud they all are of me. Jessie has been a star athlete in basketball, soccer, and lacrosse, but no one expected me to be back in sports after baseball ended. And they know that a
betrayed and confused. I thought Terry was my friend. I thought I could trust him. After the principal listens to Terry’s story, he looks up my record, which already includes the other smoking incidents, and he tells me I’m suspended for four days, starting Monday. “They all know about my smoking,” I try to explain. “They understand that I have to smoke.” “Who lets you?” the principal wants to know. I don’t want to give him the names of my teachers. “Nobody actually said I could smoke. It’s
e-mail and has shown it to the principal. I don’t even remember what I wrote, but the message says something about “getting even” and that he’d “better watch out.” “I didn’t mean it,” I say as soon as I’ve read it. “I was just mad. He was supposed to protect me at school, not make things worse.” The principal begins speaking differently than he ever has, choosing his words carefully. “When threats to school personnel are received, they are evaluated by degree. The words you used fall into the