Many who read this will recognize my last name and many of you will be my relatives. You may be surprised that the youngest son of former District Attorney and District Judge J. Taylor Brite would be writing an opinion piece supporting the legalization of medical marijuana in Texas. But, that is exactly the case. My beliefs do not come from my political thoughts, but from an actual life experience that has touched my soul and caused me to be a strong proponent of medical marijuana in Texas.
The subject of medical marijuana conjures pictures of back alley smoking of a joint or wasted lives thrown away because of addiction to the horrors of cannabis. Nothing could be further from the truth. Medical marijuana comes in many forms: oil, cream, lotions, and, yes, full leaf plants. Each form has it’s own use in different situations. Sadly, in Texas, only a very limited form of oil will soon be legal, but with unworkable restrictions.
On October 3, 2004, we received the phone call that all parents dread. On a hunting trip with friends, my 14 year old son, Alan, had been involved in an accident that crushed his skull. Alan had bleeding on his brain and required immediate surgery. We were told that Alan would likely not survive the injury and were told to prepare for the worst news a parent could receive. And yet, prayers were answered and Alan survived. After three months in the hospital and fourteen surgeries, Alan was able to finish his four years of high school. Two years after completing high school, Alan felt he was ready to attempt furthering his education in college. However, his injury was not yet through with him. About six months before beginning school, Alan began having gran mal seizures as a result of his head injury.
Nevertheless, Alan enrolled at Abilene Christian University and suffered through 15+ seizures per year, even on various seizure medications that his doctors prescribed for him. Most people do not understand the results of a seizure. Alan best describes it as being hit in the head with a sledgehammer. Needless to say, this makes being able to think clearly impossible for at least three days. It is not hard to imagine what this would do to a student in an educational environment.
The seizures began to happen with more frequency culminating in March 2014, when Alan was airlifted from Abilene to Dallas with uncontrolled seizures. I knew that this condition seriously threatened his ability to complete his college degree and even worse, being a productive member of society. As a parent, I felt helpless. I did not know what to do. There is no worse feeling in life than seeing your child suffering and being completely helpless to stop it.
But there was a miracle coming for Alan. Next week, I will tell the story of the answer to hours of prayer.
Tom Brite is a Pleasanton Express guest columnist. You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.