Monday, November 3, 2014

#20 Mandatory Scan

The nurse said it like she was doing us a favor, “Based on your son’s brain scan, we’ve given him a diagnosis of potential sociopath.”

I glanced at Kerry, who sat on the floor, rolling a toy car over the white tiles. He was only five. All his life, now, he’d have this mark. His mandatory brain scan had showed him to be a potential sociopath.

The nurse continued blithely, “It means he’ll be eligible for special services. He can go to an intervention school. We have a wonderful program in our state, with very good success rates.”

Intervention school. The joke was that it was a place where they graduated you right to prison. I knew that wasn’t true, but how could Kerry ever be normal if he was going to school with all the kids whose brain scans showed they had tendencies to dangerous mental illnesses?

I stared at the report, the fuzzy grayscale printouts of Kerry’s brain, the sample “normal” brain images lined up next to his. I could barely see a difference. Through my mind ran all the little incidents, the things I had brushed aside. Kerry had always seemed indifferent to my feelings, to the feelings of other children, but that didn’t mean we had to put him in intervention school.

Could I afford a private school for him? There were still some private schools that didn’t require a brain scan. Maybe I could find one that wasn’t too expensive. A private internet school, so I could keep him at home, away from other children, so no one else would ever be able to guess. Maybe I could teach him, somehow, to understand that he had to act normal, even if he didn’t feel that way inside.

“Thank you,” I said blankly to the nurse, and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper from my purse. There was the kindergarten enrollment checklist. Immunizations. Physical Exam. Eye Exam. Brain Scan. I crossed off the last item on the list.

That was it, we’d done everything on the list and now Kerry was ready to start school.



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