This morning before coming to the office, I have spent an hour on 10m, which was again widely open to North America. I ran into a friend in the west coast, whom I have known for over 30 years. He seemed to have read my mails with the others and already knew on my plan of retirement etc. He, an 87 years old retiree, would like to go on living at the present home for at least 3 years before he comes into the retirement facility. I was almost smiling to hear he would keep his feet in cement there while his wife insists to go into such a facility. I could not help wishing him very good luck in the last phase of his voyage of life.
He has a grandson in the east coast, aged 7 years old. My friend used to tell me of him whenever we talk on the radio. That boy has autism. My friend has a background of psychology and may know of this illness well. He seems to be concerned about the etiology of this illness. He asked me what causes this illness this morning. He believes some environmental factor is responsible for that. My answer, though I am not a specialist of this field at all, was that such factor may be involved especially in the fetal period. But it is essentailly an illness in the gene level, I believe. The text says the concordance rate in the monozygotic twin is pretty high while it remains low in the dizygotic twin. I don't believe such an answer is of help to him at all. He must has been asking himself what has brought this to his loving grandson.
I told also that whenever I do with parents with their children of such illnesses, I am always surprised at their admirable attitude to their way of life as well as to their own children. I have noticed this in real situations as a pediatrician for long time. The parents, especially the mothers, are always very eager to live together with their children and to try to do best for them. The families are always united very strongly. It is really a miracle in the ordinary life, even though they are not conscious of that. My friend told me his son and his wife are working on a part-time basis which enables them to care for their son with autism. I could picture the couple have been eagerly living for and by their son. I could understand, with much sympathy, what my friend worries about his grandson. The parents might have had to face much difficulty in actual living for years. But, from the standpoint of viewing through the whole lives, it could be a blessing for them to have a family member with such illness, if I could say without fear to be misunderstood.
May they be blessed with happy holiday season.