True Life: My Attention Is Deficit


I only have trendy disorders. In 2011, I was gluten free. When I was 17 I crashed my car into several things that cars shouldn’t make contact with and was failing high school. After moderate amounts of Googling my Mom discovered that those are key symptoms of A.D.D. Coincidentally, those are also symptoms of being a teenager, and we got a second opinion. I was put on Concerta, which is like Adderall, but not quite. Over the years I’ve been on Concerta, Focalin, Dexmethylphenidate, Focalin XD, and now at the ripe age of 25 I’m on Adderall, a.k.a. the holy grail of amphetamines.

The only problem I’ve had with Adderall was in 2009; I got really into Farmville during the LSATs and I started to farm while I waited for the productivity surge. 9 hours later I’d become a mega tycoon of agriculture and had drifted into a nap.

I still did ok on the LSATs.

I haven’t quite discerned if I am, in fact, deficit when it comes to my attention span. While I do have the concentration of a goldfish, I also have no other brain to serve as a comparison. It’s the year 2013, isn’t everyone kind of like a goldfish? When people go on tangents about how “A.D.D. is not a real thing”, I just shrug. Maybe it isn’t real. I have no idea. All I know is that I keep 2-3 bottles of addy squirreled away just in case someday someone decides A.D.D. really for real isn’t a real disorder and the well dries up.

I’ve gone to the same doctor for 8 years. I have to come in to see the doctor every 4 months. I’m not sure what the point is, but I follow the rules. The office is called “The Doctor’s Office”, basically it’s like I’m in a drug addled corner of Sesame Street. I would never, ever go to this physician for any legitimate medical concern, but she approves my prescriptions without asking 21 questions trying to figure out if I’m peddling the goods on the streets. They don’t make actual appointments there, it’s walk in status. It touts the organizational capacity of a very, very busy Planned Parenthood. By going in for a prescription you are going into the depths of the unknown.

The TV in the waiting room is set to NJ 12 news. I don’t believe in local news, and as far as local news goes, NJ 12 is the last stop. I learn that it’s been 199 days since Hurricane Sandy, and they play clips from Prince Harry’s visit to the Jersey Shore. Governor Christy gave him a fleece. What to get the man who has everything?

I read 31% of Samuel Beckett’s Godot, and they call me back. I’ve been chosen.

In the examination room I ask if I can sit on the chair next to the padded table with the paper. “No” “Why?” “It’s closer.” I question this because the chair looks pretty close, but whatever. I’M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE.

She checks my blood pressure. I always ask what my numbers are, they don’t automatically tell you, so I always ask. It means nothing to me, but it seems fair that I know. They only check my blood pressure, nothing else. Not my eyes or ears or weight. Doctor don’t care. Just the pressure of her blood, please.

The nurse leaves and I wonder where my file is hiding. I don’t want to look at it. I mean I do, but I remember that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine reads her chart and gets physician black listed. I can’t take the risk. I’m not a hypochondriac, but paying for my own health insurance has given me a sense of entitlement to professional knowledge.

I once went to a dermatologist for the exclusive purpose of finding a cure for blushing. Shes a very good doctor, she was ranked in a magazine, and she had pretty good skin, which enhanced her credibility.

“How can I stop blushing?”

“You can’t.”

It was a 3 minute appointment.

She didn’t take my blood pressure. But she probably made $300 dollars or whatever doctors make, so obviously I don’t feel bad.

Back at the Doctor’s Office the time between the nurse leaving and the doctor coming is about the same amount of time as the waiting room. The whole appointment structure is extremely deceptive. Though, I prefer this waiting time because there aren’t all the other sick people and the TV that are on display in the waiting room. I lay down on the padded table and try to go to my zen place, which I’ve never been to before but I’m sure will be great when I get there.

I’m distracted by the “Take off your shoes and socks if you’re diabetic” poster on the door. What? Must Google. Très concerned. Note never to get diabetes. There is also a book on the counter on type two diabetes, the pages are made of cardboard, as though it was meant to be read as a bedtime story to small children. The photo in the diabetes book features someone eating an apple. I hope if I get diabetes it’s not because I ate too many apples. What a sincere bummer. Should have eaten more cheeseburgers, more cheesecakes, whole cheesecakes in fact! Probably wouldn’t have this disease eating away at my toes.

Enter the Doctor. She always asks why I’m here today, as though there’s a variation. I think of the movie Memento and how dangerous of a condition that would be for any medical professional.

I’m literally typing this sentence you are reading right now as she is talking. I would be a pretty good legal transcriber. Anyway, I get my prescription.

The lady at reception is wearing a scrunchie. She tells me $110 has been in collections. We argue and I discover that the problem was there’s, they also discover it but are in denial. My face gets red out of frustration. This can also be called argument blush and I’m sorry to say that there is no cure.

After my trip to The Doctor’s Office I go to The Coffee Store, a.k.a. Starbucks. I run into a my friend Stav who is with his friend who I have never met, and whose name I now forget. Rude. He introduces me, “This is my friend Jess, she’s a writer” I tip my Iced Macchiato and smile awkwardly because no one has ever followed my name with that identifier before and I’m processing the moment.

I consider that I’m probably the first person to be called a “writer” who borderline has no concept of where to place a comma. Comma placement is my own personal state of delusion. I had shared my grammatical woes with another friend on a different day who replied, “Does anyone really understand commas?” I reply that I think that they do.

After introductions at the Starbucks Stav and I talk about a camping trip to KY that we’re leaving for in 2 days and debate whether I can teach him to drive stick shift in time. He also says he just came from a day of hiking, and now has work to catch up on. I say I just came from a doctors visit, and I’m writing about it.

He laughs and asks, “Is that really something you could write an entire article about?”

I reply, “We’ll see, I guess.”

You should like Thought Catalog on Facebook here.

image – Danielle Moler