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!]
You’ll understand the picture once you read the story … I promise.
A beloved friend’s e-mail this week may contain a line worthy of being carved into my headstone:
“What you do every day is a dangerous thing. Wake up, that is.”
Miss Beth’s right, Black, confirms Screen Four. The moment your eyes open, the world’s a dangerous place.
For others, laughs Six.
I’ve said this many times before, but apparently such potent truth bears innumerable repetitions to you Real Worlders: “We in the ADHD realms actually don’t seek trouble. It finds us. Is drawn to us. Desires to have us.”
And there’s no such thing as just “a little trouble,” clarifies One. The trouble is magnified, multiplied. Like some crazy cell inside the human body, trouble splits and splits again, causing still more variants of trouble in ever increasing quantities.
“Wow – you’re not usually so eloquent, One. That is inspired.”
Thank you, Boss. Hope that sets you up with a nice lead for your story.
“Wonderfully. I’ll take it from here.”
Sitting silently in a bustling hospital ward, I try to describe the two nurses’ reaction to what they’ve just seen.
Wild guess, says Five, but “horrified” might work.
This surgery on my left shoulder absolutely has to happen. The dog attack occurred more than two years ago. Since then, I’ve tried to smile and grit my way through the pain. Finally understanding that healing would not be occurring –
Not in this lifetime! remarks Five.
– and that I might be at risk of losing any use of the arm, I put in for time off from my overly hectic job. I cannot undo my request if the operation is postponed. I also cannot bear the pain much longer. Already I struggle to wield a mere pen.
Please! moan all six screens, hoping to sway the lead nurse. She holds her staunch stance of refusing to allow surgery to proceed.
The second nurse leans in, wrinkles her face, quietly asks, “You say a dog did all this damage to you?”
Black, whispers Three, this is your chance. Turn her horror into compassion and she’ll be on your side. Swing the one nurse and the other will follow.
Begging my screens to supply the nonstop patter that needs to follow, I respond, “Yes.”
And no, says Two through my surprised lips.
“What?” Nurse Two replies, confused. “Did or did not the dog do this?”
The six-screen chatter flows nicely into a single-strand feed, smooth and uninterrupted.
“Yes, a tiny dog caused the original damage. But that was more than 24 months ago. I’ve just tried to tough it out since then.”
The Man! exults Six.
“However, the newest condition is the result of my volunteer work.”
The lead nurse just stopped writing in the clipboard notes, coaxes Three. Speak, boy, speak!
I’m at my church on a super-hot Saturday morning. Though originally I signed up to landscape –
Weed! laughs Three.
– just six of the parking lot islands –
Six islands! shouts Two. Just like six screens!
– I wind up clearing almost 40 of them. Encouraged by my progress, I strip off my heavy sweatshirt (which earlier blocked blood sampling by eager ‘skeeters) and go after some of the weeds engulfing trees we’ve planted around the lawns.
Sorry I encouraged you to do all four trees, sighs Four. Just liked the number.
The fourth and last fir tree is in failing health. A closer look reveals it is strangled by an incredibly tough vine.
But our man is tougher! cheers Six.
I have nothing with which to cut the rough vine, so I wrap it around my arms and give a mighty tug.
The Babe Ruth of yanks! claims Two.
Rips your arms right open, says One in surprise.
I step close to the tree, wrap the loose vine around my bare chest and burst into running steps that end five paces later. Abruptly. When I flip on my back.
The vine is bloody strong. I am just bloody.
Put your shirt back on, champ, coaches Six. Gave it our best.
Miss Rebecca looks closely at my lacerated arms and exclaims, “Poison ivy – everywhere!”
“Everywhere!” repeats the lead nurse, interrupting my story to tell the just-arrived Dr. Foetisch the surgery is off. She points at my vine-scarred arms, shoulders and chest, feigning a convincing wincing as she does so.
Don’t give up, Boss, urges One. She’s just a medical professional.
The good doctor smiles. “Not enough to rebuild a shredded shoulder? You have to give me additional challenges?” He eyes the affected areas, carefully marks where he plans to cut (to avoid infecting me with the poison ivy’s extremely contagious juice) –
Urushiol, chimes Five. For the science-minded among us.
– then tells the nurses, “Prep him.”
Huzzah! shout the screens.
Nurse Two discreetly winks and steps quickly away to secure the needed supplies. Lead Nurse narrows her surprised eyes to glare at me.
Gotta tell you, Black, shivers Three. I’m glad she’s not handling the cutting tools.
No hard feelings, says Five. Stand and hug her. Tightly.
Postscript: Teens celebrated the Fourth of July by draping our neighborhood trees with several dozen rolls of toilet paper. I put in almost three full hours retrieving the less-than-charming Charmin from branches while risking limbs. By chore’s end, I collect two good-sized boxes full of unrolled quality tissue.
Don’t discard all that paper, advises One. Be green. Take it home for “personal use.”
Proud of this brilliant and ecologically minded money-saving measure, I tell a friend. He laughs out loud. “Aren’t you the guy who ran into the poison ivy right before shoulder surgery?”
“I don’t see the connection.”
“How do you know this toilet paper wasn’t wrapped around poison sumac?”
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