Posts Tagged ‘doctor’

Fickle Butterflies

Posted: June 28, 2010 in ADHD, Life
Tags: , , ,

“My thoughts are like butterflies”, he said.  “They’re beautiful.  But they fly away.”

It was a lament offered up a little boy, and quoted in the book “Delivered from Distraction”.

I nodded furiously.

Kind of stupid isn’t it?  Nodding at something you read in a book.  Sort of like clapping at the end of a movie, when you know none of the production folk or actors are there to appreciate it.

All of my life I’ve heard about ADD and the favourite companion topic: Ritalin.  Usually, Ritalin is said with a slight hesitation, or in some circles, a gasp.  It was the go-to drug for every unruly child (or so the legend goes).  It became the excuse drug, the alternative to discipline as an answer to bad behaviour.

ADD has been relegated to the annals of mental illness.  A disorder if you will.  Something We Don’t Talk About.

Not surprising, then, given its history, that some people get annoyed by the topic.

I was aware of this ambience around ADD all my life.  Aware but disinterested, really.  I couldn’t have cared less.  I know my sisters were on Ritalin for a while, but didn’t know why.  I knew they didn’t exhibit bad behaviour.  Being a kid myself at the time, I just didn’t pay attention. (Did you know that ADD only affects about 4% of the population, on average?  Not quite the catch-all most people have assumed over the years).

I was not an unruly kid either.  I mean, well I was at first, before hitting kindergarten.  I ran away a lot.  Not because I was angry at Mom.  It was because, like most little boys, I was curious.  Probably a little more curious than most, because I wasn’t really running AWAY so much as running TO – whatever it was that caught my eye.  One of the earliest memories was of riding my tricycle down the street and into a construction zone.  I remember my Mom being so very angry (read: worried), and I recall getting a spanking out of that deal.  The first of many, actually.

They say that ADD is the comedian/actor’s disorder.  There’s a reason for that.  The same condition that provides a lack of concentration in so many of us actually promotes creativity.  It’s not that we can’t focus, it’s that we focus only on bright spots.  For many of us (me included) it’s actually a plus, in so many ways.  A lot of ADD folk don’t like the idea of taking any kind of meds for it, because they’re worried they won’t get those bright ideas anymore.  Rick Green, who is a producer and comedian and an actor – said that the meds actually don’t stifle his creativity at all.  It allows him to corral those same ideas and follow them to completion.

Another myth:  people who have ADD can never focus.  In fact, the opposite is true.  We either lose focus easily, or we hyperfocus, to the exclusion of all else.  We can be so heavily focused on something that we won’t notice that there’s a fire in the house.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late for an appointment, or forgot something really important, mostly because I was hyperfocused on something.

There’s another aspect of ADD that you may find to be of interest (and we’ll make this the last one for this blog).

Over the years, both here and on MySpace, I’ve spoken about my various forays into activities that turned out to be suspiciously addictive.

The other day, when I sold my doctor on the idea of buying an iPad (mentioned in the last blog), I asked for a refill of a narcotic prescription to alleviate migraines.

She said (as she tends to say every time this prescription is refilled):  “when’s the last time I gave you this?  Don’t want you getting addicted to them again.”   

Every time she says this, it irritates me.   She makes it sound like I could so easily become addicted and need to go into rehab or something.   So, this time I addressed it.

“Doctor, I wonder if we could spend a few minutes talking about addictions and ADD?”

She leaned back, and peered at me over her glasses.  “Sure.”

“Years ago, I developed a dependency on this medication….”

She interrupted with “yes you did.”

I continued.  “But I weaned myself off of it, gradually.”  I wanted her to know that back then, that *I* took control of the addictive behaviour and did something about it.  That the change in behaviour wasn’t forced on me; it was something I chose to do, on my own.

“I then got into drinking wine, actually quite a bit.  So much that it scared me, so I stopped drinking it at all for quite a while, just to make sure I wasn’t an alcoholic.”

She gave me her rapt attention, and I could tell she was actually listening.

“I got into pot, with the same results, and with the same concerns, and took myself off of it, just to make sure I didn’t actually need it.   And I’ve done the same with fatty foods and chocolate.”

“So” I said “I’m aware that people with ADD have a tendency towards addictions and addictive behaviour….”

“That’s right” she said.  “And it’s good that you’re able to recognize it and do something about it.”

I nodded, satisfied that I’d made my point, and so we sat there, silent for a while.

“Doc I really don’t know what I’m asking, here.”  In truth, I wasn’t asking anything. I just wanted her to acknowledge that I’m fully aware of all the dangers of narcotic medicines and am therefore armed against abusing them.

She said “maybe you’re wondering about the science of it all?”

I nodded.

“Well, people with ADD are lacking stimulation, so they tend to self-medicate where possible.  That’s what that’s all about.”

She was silent for a moment.  “In fact,” she said “for all the talk about alcoholism and drug addictions being an illness, I don’t buy it at all.  If it was truly an illness, you wouldn’t be able to control yourself.”

I agreed with her.  “Yes, even when I was heavily into wine, I can tell you that I wouldn’t have sat in front of my boss with a bottle in my hand.   So there has to be some measure of control.”

She nodded, and we finished the appointment.

The bottom line is that addictive behaviour, while not in itself indicative of ADD, it is one of the many factors.  In fact, when a person displays any of the individual factors, it doesn’t necessarily mean that person has ADD.   It’s the combination of those factors in overwhelming numbers that may indicate it.

And it’s not always a bad thing.  In fact, with a bit of control (read: cognitive therapy and meds), ADD can be the best thing in the world.  I certainly see it that way and am looking forward to exercising some of my creative ideas to completion.

I mean – I really like the shiny butterflies, and would rather see them stick around a little longer than they typically do.

Wolf Sales

Posted: June 25, 2010 in Life
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For once, the office was quiet.  Me and my iPad came in and found a seat among the multitude of empty chairs.

The doctor, who was standing by the reception desk looking through medical charts, glanced at me over her glasses and smiled.  I smiled back.

I like her. 

But then, I have a predisposition of goodwill to people who smile at me.

A few minutes later she finished with the file and then motioned me in.  I closed my iPad and followed her into her small office.

The first thing I did was show her my latest toy, like some 10-year old boy, at show-and-tell.  “Check this out, doc!”

And with that, I opened up the iPad and started showing her some of the cool applications.  Like the weather application that shows videos of weather, depending upon the city that you choose. 

I don’t mean videos of news reporters, giving weather reports.  No, these are videos taken of clouds, at cloud-level as the plane races through them.  Or overhead straight-down videos of rain hitting the ground.  Or amazing videos of a full moon, as it gazes over a field, while the wind ruffles the grass.

Most people humour me when I give this demonstration.  I know this (remember my last blog?  I read people, right?  How could you forget so quickly?  Geeze, people.) and I show them the device anyway.  Their patient reactions don’t matter.  I love this thing.  My iPad and I are coming up on our third week anniversary.  I may have to buy something for it, in appreciation.  Or just send it an email.  Maybe a poem. 

Oh my iPad
How ever much  I love thee.
Playing with you always and for too long
Even when I have to pee

(Yeah.  I’ll work on it.)

The doctor didn’t humour me though.  I saw a spark of true appreciation in her eyes.

“Can I use it?”

I beamed.  “Sure!  Go ahead.”  And with that, I turned it completely to her and watched as she smiled and began playing with it.

She tried out different applications, all the time asking me questions.  “How much did you pay?  Are you keeping your iPhone data plan?  Can I use this for my recipes?  I love to cook.”

This appointment had turned a direction that was much more interesting than I had anticipated.

“Well doc, they start out at around $500.  This one has the most storage and has internet access so I paid about $1000.00.  How many songs do you have?”

She looked at me thoughtfully.   “Not many.  Only a couple of hundred.  I don’t do the music thing that much.  I’ll probably only use it in the kitchen.   Wait – do I need a data plan or can I just use it on wi-fi?”

“Well you probably won’t need one with large storage, and yes you can get one that just has wi-fi.”

“Hmmm” she said.  “We don’t have wi-fi in the office but we will have internet soon.”

I could see the wheels turning, as we both sat there in silence.

Her eyes focused back and she looked at me.    Then she smiled again.   “I’m going to treat myself to one of these.”

I couldn’t help grinning back.  “You won’t be sorry.  I promise.”

“And I think I’ll get the large one.”   Her eyes fairly glowed.  “You know – I can get one of my friends to fill it with all of his songs.  He has a massive collection.”

Her excitement was infectious.

My first bona fide convert.   As Barney Stinson would say:  “This is awe…….(wait for it)…..SOME!”

Her normally serious face dimpled in actual pleasure.  It was great to see.

“Now, what did you want to see me about?”

I told her, while thinking the whole time that…..

I’m pretty sure Apple owes me some money now.

Miracle Wolf

Posted: May 11, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

It was to be a regular checkup, three weeks after breaking the fibula in my leg.   The date I was first diagnosed, they set up the appointment for yesterday.

So, yesterday, I grabbed my cane and hobbled my way to the hospital.  I didn’t see the point of favouring my leg.  It seemed fine.  A week earlier I had asked my regular doctor about it.

“Doc, how long did you say bones heal?  I mean, it doesn’t hurt that much.”

She can be forgiven for glaring at me as this wasn’t the first time or even second time I’d asked her this question.

“It takes a minimum of six weeks for bones to heal.”   She stressed the word “minimum” in hopes that I would stop bugging her.

My face fell at the news.   Took me about a half hour to find it and place it back on my head, what with all the stumbling around with my cane.

“Ok doc.”

Yesterday I congregated with the rest of the gimps in the fracture room at the hospital.

“Mason” mumbled the medical assistant.   “Wolf”, he added.   I perked up my ears.

“Please follow me to x-ray”.  So we did.

Mason was hobbling just as I was.  I didn’t want to hobble.  Didn’t feel like it.  But my good doctor had told me I must.  That I had to favour the leg, and not put weight on it.  I’m an obedient wolf.

I looked at Mason.  “Hey.  I’ll race you to x-ray”

He looked over and smirked.   “Maybe later.”   Then:  “so what did you do?”

I shrugged.  “Well I was assembling my sex swing and…”  I grinned as he laughed.  “Actually I broke my leg while getting on a bus.”   Then: “…while trying to read my iPhone.”

We hobbled on for a few moments.

I looked at the medical assistant.  (Let’s call him “Joe.”  “Medical assistant” is too much and I’m lazy).    “Hey bud.  We have a problem with our legs here.   How much further is the x-ray?  Do we have time to stop for a coffee or picnic or something?”

Joe didn’t look back.   “Not much further.”

I looked over at Mason “so how did you mess yourself up?”

His face was a mask of pain.  “I twisted my ankle playing soccer.”


“I guess that will get you a lot more of the female vote than someone who hurt himself using his iPhone”

Mason grinned.  “I guess so.   I’m getting my fair share of attention, for sure.”

We walked for another half and hour and finally Joe said “Mason, you go here and sit down.”   Mason, obedient to a fault (and probably tired of hobbling in pain) did just that, while Joe and I continued on.

Three days later we made it to the x-ray department.  Joe said “Wolf, you sit here.  Sit.  Stay.  Good boy”

I sat.

A very pretty little Japanese girl came out and said something to the hallway.

I looked at her. “I’m sorry.  Were you talking to me?”

She smiled shyly.  “Yes sir.  You’re Wolf?”

“Yes, I am.”  I gave her my best Hank Moody grin.

“Hi Wolf.  I’m Michelle and I’m an x-ray technician in training.”

“You are?  Where are your wheels?”

Her blank look confirmed what they all say about my humour.  “Never mind.  Sorry.  Am I up?”


“Is it my turn?”

“Sorry.  Yes it is.  Could you come this way please?”

I followed her into the x-ray theatre.   I don’t know if they call it that.  Theatre.  It’s a place where people view someone and someone is there to be viewed.

There was a heavyset woman in there who was coaching her.  “Sir, you’ll need to remove your pants and sock so we can get a good picture.”  Then she said to Michelle “you can get him a gown over there.”

I shrugged.  “I don’t think I need one.  I’m wearing boxers.”

The heavyset woman (let’s call her Jane) said “oh good.  That’s fine.  That’ll work.”

I began unbuckling my pants.   It was a fairly dim room but I’m pretty sure Michelle blushed.  She ducked her head and mumbled  “I don’t know where to look”.  Jane ignored her.

After crawling up on to the x-ray altar, Michelle came over and started moving the x-ray machine around.  It looked heavy.  An ironic thought pushed its way into the thoughts crowding my head.  What if that thing came crashing down on my legs?   How painful would that be?

Michelle did her thing.  Under micro-direction from Jane, she placed a triangular cushion on the altar, and had me turn onto my side and launch my good leg over top of it.  Despite wearing boxers I worried briefly (ha!) about stuff falling out.    Maybe I should have taken the offer of a peekaboo gown, for safety’s sake.

After they had bathed my body in x-ray radiation they shooed me back to the fracture clinic, there to be seen by the doctor.

“Wolf? ”

I nodded.

“Did you hurt your leg a while ago?  Like maybe a few months ago or something?”

I sifted through the flotsam of my brain.  Nothing.    “Not that I can recall”

Of course I’m always hurting myself on something or falling down.   I’m not an entirely graceful wolf.   It comes from just not paying attention.  (Man.  Childhood memories start to crowd in, with teachers and parents parroting the same phrase.  “Wolf you just need to pay attention.   You never pay attention.”)

“No I’m pretty sure I didn’t”.   I’m always aware when I hurt myself because usually there’s a big old bruise to go with it.  Although there were a few bruises I can’t to this day explain.  Maybe I’m a self-wolf-beater who goes to town on himself during the sleepy-time hours.  Oh God.  That didn’t sound right at all.

“Well I just don’t get it” said the doc.   “You obviously did break your fibula.  The x-ray confirms it.  But the thing is:  it’s completely healed.”

I looked at him.   “It is?”

“Come look at the x-ray”

We walked over to the x-ray viewer thing on the wall.

“See here?” He pointed at the white on black picture.  “That’s where new bone has grown in and overlapped.”

I looked at it and took his word for it.  “So tell me:  did I break it all the way through?”

He seemed excited.  “No!  You didn’t.  See here?” and he pointed to some obscure line on the picture.  “The fracture happened but it didn’t make it over to this side.”   I looked at the blur.  The blur looked back.


“Right then.  So I guess that’s that.”

I picked up my cane.  “So I guess I don’t need to use this anymore?”

He shook his head.  “But,” he said “you can’t go running for a while.  Just ease into it.”

I almost laughed.  I never run.

“How about the elliptical machine?  How soon can I get back on that?”

He thought for a second.  “You could probably start that this week.”

Slowly a feeling of joy, the joy of movement dawned in my heart.  Either that or it was gas.

“I suppose trampolining is out”

“Yes, you can’t do that.”

“What about having a three-legged race?   Line-dancing?  Pogo-sticking?  Kick-boxing?”

He chuckled.  “No, you can’t do any of that for at least another three or four weeks.

It would be a lot longer before I did any of that.  I’d never done any of it before and had no intention of starting.

“Well thanks doctor.”

“You’re welcome.  Take care.”  Having said that, he rushed off.

So that’s it.  I’m healed.  Don’t have to look for elevators when I want to go anywhere.  Don’t have to hobble slowly while the rest of Toronto steps around me on its way to the store, or the theatre.

I can kick ass.

Well maybe not kick ass.

I am so jazzed right now.

Appointment With A Dead Doc

Posted: April 18, 2010 in ADHD, humor, Life
Tags: , , ,

My motto at the top of this blog is “Awake, Aware and In Constant Movement”

Well tonight’s the “awake” part.  It’s 2:06 a.m. and I’m just so jazzed to be so vibrantly awake right now.

In earlier blogs I mentioned that I’m getting assessed for ADD.  I just learned tonight that the doctor who was going to do the assessment has died.  I don’t know if I should keep the appointment anyway.  I doubt he’ll be able to shed much light on my situation.

Doesn’t matter.  I can talk better with him dead anyway.  For one thing, he’ll have a hard time interrupting me.

Dead people make such great listeners.  And they hardly ever complain about your hygiene or what you’re wearing either.  I can wear age-inappropriate leather pants with rips and coloured beads and I can wear a t-shirt that says “FUCK  WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I BOUGHT THIS SHIRT” and it won’t matter.

His hygiene might be a problem though.  I can always take off my t-shirt and wrap it around my head so that my nose is covered.   Won’t matter if I’m topless.  My words will be muffled that way but then again – it’s not like he’ll complain.

I’m worried he might nod off though.  Nod off and fall to the floor.

Are dead people shatter-proof or do they just fall apart at the slightest provocation?

He’ll probably just lay there, looking stupid and lifeless.

(No, that’s not what my last girlfriend said about me.  And anyway I was drinking)

(Like I am now)

Roses are red

My doctor is toast

I had an appointment

But doc’s done gone and give up the ghost