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! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
“Leave work, Dad, and come see me.”
Woo hoo, Black! exults Screen Six. Your busy high-school daughter is making some time for you.
Amid the disarray of an Orlando neon light repair shop, I look for car keys and cleaner sneakers. Keys I find; sneaks I do not, so I pop on flip-flops and slide into the tired company car.
Is it a Neon? cracks Three.
Firing up the engine, I punch the gas, then slap brakes just in time to avoid smashing through the gate. Locked from the outside. Sighing, I climb over the seven-foot fence, drop to far-side ground, grab the padlock and spin the dial. Too dark outside. I shine my pocket flashlight.
Dim bulb, murmurs Five, offending me. Naturalist that he is, Five adds wisely, An owl could not see the numbers in this low light.
“Why is everything so difficult?” I mutter. “I just want to see Leah! Dang. Back over the fence for a real flashlight!”
As I jump to grab a smooth bar above the sharp chain-link fencing, a flip-flop flaps. My leap goes askew and I do not reach the expected height. Yet I do not return to Earth.
You seem caught in a netherworld of sorts, observes One. Neither up nor down, really. You simply hang by hands in mid-air. Why not let go and drop?
“I – I can’t. I can’t let go.”
Kick your feet, coaches Six. That should help.
I do, and feet hit Earth. But my fingers burn with unbridled intensity. Breathing is tough. Thinking is tougher. Beneath a flickering streetlight, I see that four of my fingers – the second and middle of each hand – seceded from the Union my hands once represented.
Wow! admires Five. Fence ripped them right off!
My cell phone rings. “Whatcha doin’, Black?” asks friend Craig. I answer through torturous gasps, “Looking for … my … fingers.”
This will not surprise Craig, soothes Two. He knows you lost your pinky years ago.
Craig also knows I am ADHD. He immediately persuades me to walk the half-block around shops and businesses rather than attempt to scale the fence once more. As I walk, he calmly speaks of reasonable approaches to addressing this accident. Once he is sure I’ve re-entered the neon shop, he disconnects, then calls a hospital emergency unit to warn them of my coming visit.
With Craig’s counsel gone from my ear, screens speak up. Germs are a concern, reminds Five. Use the neon shop sink to run warm water over your hands.
Oreo-tossing is imminent, reports Four.
Black, counsels Six, just pour on rubbing alcohol and be done with it.
I do and vomit. Violently. But as I heave, I notice my four missing fingers have not departed.
Must like you, quips Three. They seem very attached.
Not really, shrugs Five. The digits are peeled back so far, bone and flesh are not visible.
Craig again calls. I – with better light – am just undoing the gate lock. My friend, concerned I am driving, stays on the line, guiding my emergency room run. There, doctors recoil at the hemoglobic horror diapered in dirty shop rags. “We may LifeFlight you to a more advanced facility.”
“Not necessary,” I reply. They predict two of the four fingers will die. “Try to repair them, please.” They warn swift care is vital. I sign releases as best I can, sit on a gurney, call Leah to say our evening is delayed and ….
In the tented space beside mine, a young Hispanic woman softly moans, “Cucaracha!” Across the hours, her quiet sighs give way to exclamations, shouts, eerie shrieks and, finally, noises suggesting humanity may exit her body.
In the midst of those soul-snapping sounds, a young doctor steps up to me and hoists my hands. “Sir,” I yell to be heard, “shouldn’t you check the woman next door?”
The doctor slowly, calmly speaks. “Fell asleep on the floor of an infested tenement. At least one cockroach climbed in her ear.” Leans closer, lowers voice. “It’s walking around inside her head.”
My stomach involuntarily retches, but my gut fully emptied earlier during the alcohol rinse. Unfazed, the doctor lifts my left hand, whistles and asks, “Missing pinky part of today’s mishap?” He laughs, whispers “ADHD,” magnificently sews all four fingers –
A stitch in time saves nine! quotes Three.
– murmurs he didn’t know chain-link fences could slice through hands this way, and sends me off into the night.
Early the next morn, I make my long-scheduled apartment move, driving 22 hours to Rossford, Ohio. Painfully perched atop the steering wheel are my throbbing hands, their gleaming white bandages causing a passing highway patrolman to do a double-take.
Your fingers, whispers Two, are taped in positions suggesting the officer do something anatomically impossible. Smile, but do not wave.
Postscript: Insurance won’t cover the out-of-state removal of stitches. Ohio friend Travis offers to cut them – “How tough can that be?” – then sees the sutures overstayed their welcome, healing into the fingers.
As he struggles to snip the “catgut” free of new skin, Travis loses the color in his face. I wonder how full his stomach is.
With you groaning so much, says One, Travis wonders how full your stomach is.
All fingers finally freed of their surgical bonds, we two stand, pleased but perspiration-soaked. “Welcome to Ohio,” he says, extending his strong hand in success and greeting. We look at my trembling paws and decide against the handshake. Travis laughs. “Great to have you, Black. Should be a good time.”
I can only give him a thumbs-up.
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