Monday, January 30, 2012

Little Blue Pills

Yeah, I abandoned things for a bit. I just got sidetracked. Imagine, me, getting sidetracked....
That little blue pill... oh, what wonders it can do! It can raise you up, bring you out of the dumps, and show you a life you never thought possible. That little blue pill... it can be a miracle worker. It makes things work.
I was talking about Adderall... what were YOU thinking of?
Yeah, I've got my own "little blue pill" these days. My check-up was on Thursday, and after discussing my migraines (could I maybe get a pill that ISN'T $300 a perscription?), my knees (still with that cornflakes crunch!), my vitamins (still taking them!) and my stomach (nope, no issues), I did it. I broached the subject. I won't lie, I felt like an eight year old boy (only more articulate and less interested in Bakugon) as I confessed to the fog I've existed in for thirty-four years. I'm lucky to have a doctor who really listens, who I feel comfortable with, though, and soon I was giggling over the memories of how utterly and completely DESTROYED my desk was throughout grade school, and how I envied the girls with their perfectly decorated and organized lockers, while mine looked like something from Kandahar High. At the end, he sat on his little rolling chair and faced me. "There are many tests, or questionaires I can give to assess a patient for ADD," he said with a slight smile. "And you essentially just took every one."
Imagine, he said, that you are in a room filled with televisions. Dozens of televisions, all of them turned on. For the average person, life is like being in that room full of televisions, only they're all turned way, way down, almost muted, while they focus on one screen at a time. The background noise is there, but they are able to completely tune it out and focus on what's important. Now, leave the room, and come back in. When you return, every television is turned up as loud as it will go, and you're asked to find the ONE television in the room that is broadcasting a particular episode of Friends. You need to watch it, pay attention to it, despite all of the noise and interfering stimuli. That's the world of a person with ADD. Our minds are constantly open, unable to shut down the rest of the world, taking absolutely everything in... and losing the majority of what we're supposed to be focused in on.
Enter the little blue pills.
Adderall, or rather a generic form of it. 10mg, 2x daily, for one month. I'm to keep track of how I feel, of the changes that are made. I had to practically sign my name in blood for them, initialing and dating alongside the doctor, making sure to make my next appointment in LESS than a month, since I have to have a physical prescription to get more. We'll likely up the dose, he said, if this works. With no real physical test that can be given to nail down a diagnosis, the only thing my doctor could do was perscribe the drugs. If I started to tweak out, then stop. If I didn't tweak, but instead found it possible to carry on a normal conversation, well... there's your diagnosis.
$78. $78 for a month's worth of little blue pills. Twice a day, when I first get up and about six hours later. $78 for the ability to put one foot in front of the other, accomplish the little things that have always gotten lost.

Hey Ho, let’s go J

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Think PinkRedYellowGreenTealBeigeOrangeMagentaCyanCornflower For the cure!

I was going to blog about something light and pithy, and then I got irritated. Irritated enough to stop doing laundry. Okay, it really doesn't take much to get me to stop doing laundry, but still- I'm irritated.

For the last few weeks I have been absolutely BOMBED by people insisting I do something involving telling people that I'm going someplace (that I'm really not going to) for X number of days or months (when I'll really be at home). I'm not supposed to tell ANYONE that it's not real, and thus they'll get themselves all worked up in a tizzy. Somehow, in some way, this is going to raise breast cancer awareness.

*blank stare*

So, by lying about a vacation I am going to make more people aware about breast cancer.

*blank stare*

Does anyone else see a problem with this? First off, who in the hell is NOT AWARE OF BREAST CANCER? What with every month bathing us in a sea of baby pink, from our yogurt cups to our socks to our water bottles to our toothpaste, how can every man, woman, and child NOT be aware of breast cancer? Second, how are we raising whatever this awareness is by telling a cutesy fib that has absolutely zero to do with boobs? At least the bra thing was related to the girls.

Before anyone begins frothing at the mouth, I am a HUGE supporter of breast cancer research. I have boobs, afterall. I have friends who have fought the battle and won, friends who have supported family members in their long journeys- some successful, some not. I myself have had a scare, a lump I gamely named "Maria" (as in "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" Hey, I like musicals.) I believe we have to keep fighting... but how is a facebook status going to help anything? How is a random internet ribbon going to help a woman whose been told she has to have a mastectomy or face certain death?

It's not. And neither is my wearing socks with pink stripes on the bottom, or carrying a pink water bottle. How many of us really look at how much a manufacturer REALLY gives to breast cancer research? Do we just get so excited to "do something" that we can't help ourselves? Or, in purchasing that pink Swiffer, do we feel we've done our part?

When did actual action fall out of favor?

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women across the board? It is. According to the CDC, Heart disease accounts for 25.2% of all female deaths. No, dammit, don't go put a red ribbon up on your Facebook profile and buy a red t-shirt. Instead, get four of your female friends to commit to a daily walk, lowering your risks. Find a cooking class that teaches heart-healthy recipies and make a girls night of it. Talk to your workplace about it's tobacco cessation programs, and get others on board. If you really need to use social media, what about Facebooking or Tweeting or even doing a YouTube lego video about the signs of stroke and a heart attack in women?

What about all of the other causes out there that don't have a month, don't have a national shoe sponsor, don't have a voice? My husband and around 600,000 other Americans have Polycystic Kidney Disease, one of the most common life threatening disesases. You've never heard of it, have you (unless you have a friend or family member who has it)? We don't have sexy "I love kidneys!" bracelets, or formfitting teal t-shirts, or major celebrity sponsors. We also don't have a cure, or even a treatment. We walk to raise money, and even that is ignored by the local media. So it becomes even more important to talk about it, to get out and advocate, to do the things that MATTER. But while I'd appreciate a teal ribbon on someone's Timeline, I'd much rather see them out walking with me, or signing their organ donor card, or writing congress.

Look, if you want to post a ribbon or a banner, or a picture of a little kitten holding a sign touting the cause that is important to you, fine... but tell me why you're posting it. Has one of your closest friends been diagnosed with breast cancer? then tell us- "This is to honor Cathy Jones and her fight against the big C. Kick it's ass, Cathy!" Did your father die of a heart attack? Then how about "In loving memory of my Daddy... heart attacks aren't always obvious! Know the signs! 1- discomfort in the chest...."? Or "Nick Jonas isn't the only cutie with Juvenile Diabetes! Let's help my nephew Carter find a cure in 2012! Go to...."

Or even better, do something. Offer to bring one meal a week to a woman in the midst of chemo. Offer to walk with a friend who needs to get her blood pressure under control. Quit smoking and form a support group at work for other struggling to do the same. Raise money for the cause that goes under the radar. Go through your closets and take everything you don't need to a women's shelter; homeless and/or battered women like to feel pretty, too.

Then maybe we can all go to Argentina for 12 months! Just don't tell anybody.

Monday, January 9, 2012

01/09/12- From Point A to Point B? Ridiculous!

I'm a new years resolution kind of girl. I know, I know, they're silly and a good way to set yourself up for failure, but dammit, I like the idea of fresh starts, 366 (this is a leap year, you know) days of possibility open in front of you. And one of my resolutions was to write this blog post.

It's January 9th. Oops.

I've always been a procrastinator of sorts, the person who gets sidetracked while being sidetracked, the daydreamer in math class, the girl with an IQ in the 150s who couldn't make it through a single semester of college intact.... any of her 5 attempts. My friends have called me Squirrel, you know, after the dog in "Up" who keeps getting distracted by squirrels? I can do a conversational 90 degree turn in any given topic range. My husband has a game called "Now where did THAT come from?" in which I outline how I got from one point of conversation to another. Case in point:

Eric: "So, you want to go to China Palace for dinner tomorrow night?"
Me: "Sounds good! Did you know Mr. Rogers was color blind?
And here's how it breaks down:
-- We're going out for dinner at China Palace.
-- I'm dressed kind of grubby, so I should change.
-- I want to dress casually, but neatly.
-- Maybe I'll wear my yellow sweater.
--I like yellow.
--Mr. Rogers also liked yellow.
--That's because he was color blind, and yellow was the one color he could see clearly
And that's a SHORTENED version of my thought process.

I have always considered my silliness, my conversational hopscotch, my impulsiveness to just be "me." My friends crack up at the way I jump around, and let's face it, it's fun to be with the chick who will suddenly scream "LET'S GET SNOWCONES!" and swerve across four lanes of traffic to get the right exit. Yeah, other aspects can be frustrating- I wish I'd stuck out college somehow, gotten my act together; I could be qualified for a whole lot more than the retail hell I deal with. I struggle with billpaying and keeping a tidy house and getting things like permission slips done. And I won't lie,for my husband (who is generally a good sport), the bloom is off the rose when it comes to my Impulsive me. Sometimes a guy just wants a little dependability, you know?

That is, in some small part, what landed us in therapy. This past fall we finally hit the marital wall, after fourteen years of slogging through. We started with a few sessions together, then split for our separate times. When it was my turn I expected to gleefully lay out my frustrations and wait for her to tell me how we could get Eric to just do what I wanted, dammit. Apparently it doesn't work that way. Instead, our slightly granola-crunchy therapist with a co-dependent dog, leaned forward and softly asked me a single question:

"Have you ever been tested for ADHD?"

Look, it's been a joke most of my adult life, but really? ADHD is for the kid down the street that eats glue and runs screaming in circles around his driveway. ADHD is the daughter of an old friend who I once watched actually climb up the living room curtains. ADHD is not for 34 year old mothers who don't seem to have an overly hyper bone in their bodies.

Except maybe it is. Not ADHD, per se, but ADD. I left my therapist's office with a list of websites to peruse and a strong recommendation to make an appointment to be evaluated. It was mid-December, though, and we were no place close to meeting our deductible. So I made the choice to wait to make an appointment in January. And until then, naturally, I would play Internet Shrink. Really, I was looking for a reason to NOT call the doctor. See, I've got this thing about being seen as a hypochondriac- I don't want to be. And to me, waltzing into Dr. S's waiting room (after the terror of BEING WEIGHED) and saying "ZOMGWTFBBQ I think I've got the ADD-Miggly!" smacks of "give me some druuuuugggggggs!" Hey, i watched that episode of Degrassi: the Next Generation where Drake steals that Spinner kid's Adderall and gets all high as a kite. I know these things. So I was looking for any excuse NOT to make that appointment, anythign I could take back to Captain Crunchy that said she was WRONG.

What I learned, though, is that 4% of adults have some form of ADHD. It doesn't just appear in adulthood- it's a lifelong thing. It isn't just kids climbing up curtains or running in circles, though; it's the daydreamer that can't seem to get her head in the game, the procrastinator who is always turning in homework late, the kid that is so incredibly bright, but why can't she just live up to her potential? The more I read, the more I realized... it's me. I was that kid. Intense about subjects I enjoyed, barely able to pass subjects I didn't (see my summer school stint in Algebra 2). Disorganized, always late, never turning anything in on time, a day late and a dollar short. That was me then, it's me now. No matter where I looked for dissenting information, around every corner I found another mirror I was staring into. Eventually it's hard to look away from yourself.
I have ADHD.

Or ADD. Or not, I guess. I did make that phone call to my doc at the beginning of the year, scheduled my general check up that is covered by insurance. It's possible that they'll say I don't have ADHD. It's possible.... but is it probable? Not freaking likely. Even the husband reads the websites over my shoulder, points and goes "Oh my God, that is so totally you! Look at that! Lookit!" Thanks, babe.

This could be very interesting. How do you balance it out, the manic energy that feeds the fun and the creativity with the need to, you know, do things like get dinner ready at a reasonable time and actually have clean underwear in the morning. What would life be like starting at point A and actually getting to point B, without going to point 3, sidebar Egypt, and notation Phylark before remebering there was a B to get to? What could I accomplish?

Crap. Right now I need to accomplish dinner. It's a little late. Oops.