Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!]
“How are you even writing? That arm is held in place by one tendon. One!”
Dr. Christopher Foetisch scrutinizes a greatly magnified X-ray of my dysfunctional left shoulder. His words explain the pain I’ve had for –
“Two years? You’ve been like this for two years? What happened?”
“Finished my morning walk and strolled up behind my friend and his pup. Caught the dog by surprise and it attacked.”
“No bite marks, but so much internal damage! The dog must’ve been huge!”
Lie! commands Screen Six. We will never live this down.
“He’s about a foot high, sir,” I reply, face reddening. “If he’s standing on something.”
This being Dr. Foetisch’s first meeting with me, he has not yet learned of my ADHD ways and accident-filled days. So he laughs and says, “What really got you?”
Three sings, Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
“That’s the truth, sir. Tiny dog, teeth bared. I clipped him with a soccer-style kick that sent him tumbling.”
“You’re a walker. Don’t you carry dog spray?”
Stun guns from now on, says Four, grimly.
“Yes. Yes, I do. But, umm, the guy’s my friend, and the dog is so little. That’s why I only clipped him and, as he rolled across the lawn, asked Rob, ‘What’s up with your dog?’
First mistake, points out Six. Took your eyes off the target.
“Didn’t see the pup recover. Suddenly he’s in the midst of my feet, yapping and fiercely trying to land a solid bite. Jumping to avoid him, I lose my balance – actually, lost it years ago in The Accident – and flip off the curb out into the street. Shoulder takes the entire impact.”
The good doctor studies my face for humor but finds none. He sighs and taps the X-ray. “See this? Bicep is ripped free of the bone.”
That’s why you can’t heft the milk jug and drink from it when Laura’s not looking! says One.
“Rotator cuff is torn. Bones are chipped. Ligaments are ripped.”
Hey, Scarecrow, whispers Three, better pull yourself together.
My lovely Laura, who has for several weeks gently questioned my pen-dropping struggles, asks, “Any good news, Dr. Foetisch?”
“Good news?” He looks at the X-ray again and laughs. “We may be able to pull together just enough parts to create one muscle through which we’ll drive a big screw.” His tone grows sober. “One shot at this. You’ve got to do everything I tell you.”
Best patient ever! affirms Two, but Three adds quietly, We don’t really have to do everything he says, guys.
Laura believes otherwise, counsels One, and I see by her direct look that One is correct. We’re even more motivated when we see the post-surgery X-ray of that lonely, oversized screw in its present and highly desirable position.
No more surgeries for us! declares Four. See ya, Doc – this rock is gonna roll!
And roll we do. For about two years. Then …
Dr. Foetisch scrutinizes a greatly magnified X-ray of my failing right knee. His words explain the pain I’ve had for –
“Seven weeks? You’ve been walking this way for seven weeks?”
“Thought it would get better. Stuff usually does.”
“Hadn’t noticed. What story have you got for me this time? How’d it happen?”
Lie! commands Screen Six. You will never live this down.
“I stopped my car to pick up garbage. Swung my legs out – I hadn’t yet put them down to stand up – and heard this loud POP. Searing pain! I slowly raised the cuff on my shorts, expecting to see the bone had pierced the skin.”
This being Dr. Foetisch’s umpteenth meeting with me, he has learned of my ADHD ways and accident-filled days. “C’mon, that’s all you were doing? Picking up garbage?”
“Actually, I hadn’t got that far, sir. But yes, that was my intent. And yes, that’s all I was doing.”
The good doctor studies my face for humor but finds none. He sighs and shows me a high-tech, spankin’ new model of a titanium knee. “See this?” He taps white, rubbery, flexible material between the metal-encased bones.
Femur and tibia, declares Four, the other doctor in the house.
“You have none,” resumes Dr. Foetisch, tapping what should be the same material-filled spot in the X-ray. “Your natural shock absorber is gone. It’s bone on bone, and that’s not working well.”
Total knee replacement, muses One. Now they’re swapping out entire body parts.
Ask how long this will last in your body, says Five. I give it a decade.
Other screens guess anywhere from a couple of years to as high as 15. But the doctor laughs and says, “Titanium. Even you, Mr. Blackwell – even you – won’t wear this one out for 20 years!”
Wow, says Five, I stand corrected.
If you can stand at all, notes One, it’ll only be because of the new knee.
Smirks Six, Twenty years, eh? Well, Titanium Titan, let’s show that doctor what you’re made of.
Postscript: By now you all know that in the midst of any emergency or tragedy, I can count on family. Oh, not to help me … just to help me laugh my way through it. This rather unexpected surgery coming Oct. 07 is no exception and, undaunted by the challenge, my next-youngest brother (good ol’ Ted) rises to the occasion once again …
Total Knee Replacement??? Sounds like you’ve been in pain for a while, my brother. So I broke into your doctor’s office last night and this is what I read in your medical records …
1-04-13 Patient Blackwell (aka “Blackie”) comes in, dragging leg and complaining of pain. Blackie suggests tests. I suggest plastic surgeons. Patient doesn’t think this is funny.
3-09-13 Blackie is back. Patient, still dragging leg as he walks, says knee bothers him. I suggest he try out for “Walking Dead” TV series. Patient doesn’t think this is funny.
4-24-13 Blackie back … again. Tenderness in lower right leg; calves MASSIVELY swollen. Clear diagnosis of Cankleitis Syndrome (medical terminology for “ankles blend with HUGE calves”). Blackie says, “That’s how my calves always are.” Back to drawing board. This guy challenges my medical capabilities.
5-11-13 Blackie shows up with no appointment – I can’t take this! Nurse shows him to exam room Number Three, then leaves him unattended. I check on him. (Now I’m late for hospital rounds!) Find all room supplies rearranged as well as demo skeleton contorted in “unique position.”
6-21-13 Blackie here. AGAIN. Complaining. Wasting my professional time! Diagnose KneeMoanYa and surgically remove leg from thigh down. Doubting Obamacare has category for this, I check “height challenged” box.
9-19-13 Unbelievable. Blackwell returns. Has no knee but says knee hurts. We prep for Total Knee Replacement, but I tell Blackie it is Number 952,355 on our million-item “Required Blackie Improvements” list. Patient doesn’t think this is funny. I will add “humor” to list.
A weary mom’s hilarious version of “Nothing at All”
October is Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder Awareness month and – oh, look, a squirrel (who is ADHD)!