Archive for August 14th, 2008


"Tell me, do you like working?" he asked, pointedly.
"Oh, heavens, no!  I hate it!" I reacted immediately, without even thinking.  "I mean," I recovered, "I used to.  I like the idea of working.  I’m good at it.  Or I used to be.  You know, it’s my field.  But then I had all these kids, and really, that wasn’t even the tricky part, it’s just that then all this with the J-man and all this coordinating and I’m pulled in all these directions.  You know, sooner or later, something has to give.  But I have to work.  How else would I pay you?"

Where did that come from?  There I was in the developmental pediatrician’s office babbling as though I was at my own therapist’s office.  Not that I have a therapist.  Maybe I should, but who has the time?  But seriously, since when do I hate working?  When did that happen, exactly?  Who is this person that I’ve become? 

I actually don’t think it’s all these kids that’s changed me this way.  Yes, to some degree having the kids has made me want to be with them in a way I never wanted to be home before.  But it’s more than that.  The pressure that this diagnosis – those four little letters – has put on my time, my schedule, my way of life has been enormous.  Every day there’s another appointment to be made, a new adjustment in schedule, a different specialist to talk to, a new assessment to squeeze in, a school to talk to, a form to fill out, a new parenting technique to try, a different medicine dose to measure.  My life is consumed with those four little letters, looming above me. 

A. D. H. D. 

The fact of the matter is that the reason my life is so consumed by those letters is because things ARE getting better.  And the reason things are getting better is BECAUSE my life is so consumed by this.  If we were half-assed about this, nothing would be working, but we are methodical, thorough, careful, every step of the way.  We are leaving no stone unturned.  But clearly, it’s taking its toll.

The J-man just finished some extensive speech-language assessments because the developmental pediatrician had some concerns that he might have dyslexia or similar learning disabilities.  I haven’t gotten the formal, written report from the Speech Pathologist yet, but yes, in fact, new words have entered our lexicons already.  Developmental Dysnomia.  Dyslexia.  And more.  No formal diagnosis, yet, but possibilities, words we play with on our tongues, words we work to understand.  The J-man has no sense of visual organization, cannot distinguish any visual cues without prompting, and even then falters.  Auditory cues are right on – no problems there.  His verbal skills are above average.  But his ability to distinguish letters and numbers on a page?  Non existent.  To him, they probably look like random little squiggles – all the same, indistinguishable from one to the next.  Yet he can pick out the tiniest differences from one dinosaur to the next.

Learning disabilities and AD/HD go hand in hand a lot of the time.  Researchers aren’t actually certain why.  It’s a bit of a peculiarity, but still, it means these new words entering our vocabulary aren’t in the least bit surprising, just one more thing to work with. 

Every day it’s a balancing act:  Get enough hours in at work, get
enough work done, do a good job, enjoy what I do.  BUT, get the
appointments made for the J-man that need to be made, coordinate with
the professionals who are there to help make things happen for him, get
all the paperwork filed that needs to be filed (on time) for the
school, for insurance, for whatever, evaluate each day’s progress with
regards to the medicine doses, be a good parent (or at least as good as
the day allows), and on and on.  Nevermind the other three kids in the house, the dishes, the laundry, the straightening, the chores, the grocery shopping that needs to be done, the cooking that’s been neglected, the calls that need to be returned, the board meetings to attend, the thank you notes that still haven’t been completed from the triplets’ birth nearly a year ago… 

Yesterday’s appointment with Ye Olde Developmental Pediatrician was supposed to be with the J-man, but he was sick, so it turned out to be just me, and I’m not sure what prompted his initial question to me.  Perhaps it was that I walked in looking so tired (I was sick).  Maybe it’s because he’s got two ADHD/LD kids of his own and knows how much work it is to juggle it all even without the triplet factor.  Maybe it was the way my badge was swinging around my neck, looking sad and out of place with the rest of me as I flung it out of my way.  Maybe he could just sense that at that moment, I had just about had enough. It’s funny how this pediatrician – this man who specializes in working with children is so brilliant with working with parents.  I firmly believe that no pediatric specialist has any business being in pediatrics unless they can handle parents, too, but this is different.  He has a sensitivity and an awareness about what’s going on from the parental side of things – it makes you instantly trust him.  That’s important, I suppose, when you’re trusting a doctor to evaluate medication needs for your son.   Trust.  Whatever it is – Dr. S. got right to the heart of the matter – I’ve changed.  AD/HD has changed me.  This diagnosis has changed me.  I don’t even enjoy the same things I used to enjoy.

Where exactly have I gone?


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