I remember when I was growing up; I had so much trouble in school. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the subject matter, I did - It was my inability to retain some of the information and some of the time, I just could not focus on it. It was not through lack of trying either. I would cry about these things, usually after a good ass whipping (which always seem to help me focus better).
I felt like there was something wrong with me. I eventually got the gist of things, but it was as if I had to go around my elbow to get to my rear end to finally understand what was being taught to me.
I was in the last semester of 5th grade before long division hit me. Since then, I can do most problems in my head, without paper and pen. Poor Mrs. Rodocy. I am sure she was glad to see the back of me. For years I secretly thought she passed me just to get me out of her class.
I was in the 9th grade before it finally sunk in the difference between an adjective and an adverb. I still have problems with present, past tense, and present past tense. Funny. Most of my teachers said I would make a fantastic writer one day. Who would of thunk? They must have seen something in me I hadn’t yet found.
I was in my late teens, sitting in a doctor’s office, reading an article about Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.). I had all the classic symptoms so, I told my doctor, “I think I have ADD.”
“No, you don’t,” he rebuffed. “For one thing, you’re female.”
Boy, I’m sure glad he noticed that about me with him being a doctor and all! “But I have experienced more than 80% of these things,” I continued.
“Even if you were, you’ve outgrown it by now," he insisted.
I didn’t think I outgrew anything. I really felt I just learned to compensate or taught myself a different way of reaching the same end result to a problem.
Two years later, the same doctor - I was sitting in his office reading an article, also about ADD. It said, “Recent studies have shown this learning disorder affects males and females, equally.”
I showed it to him. “You’ve outgrown it,” he said again.
A couple of years after that, same doctor again (You'd think I would have learned something), another article I was reading said, “Children never outgrow ADD. They train their brains to learn to do the same things a different way.” In other words, we can do the same as anyone else, we just do it differently (isn’t that what I just said?).
I showed him this article as well. He poked me in the tummy and said, “You’re gaining weight and getting fat.”
I threw the magazine down and said, “Thank God you've cleared that up for me. I was starting to think I was suffering anorexic nervosa because every time I looked in the mirror I saw a fat person staring back at me!”
Now we know why he has the “MD” after his name, right? Most people with ADD have high IQ’s and are over achievers. We excel once we put our minds to it. I love that I have ADD. I love what I can do with my brain; it's wonderful. So what that I cannot follow the directions on a box of jello, much less a recipe card. I can still cook though. I do it all from trial and error.
I even have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) secondary to my ADD, as most ADD’ers do. I do not like for certain foods to be touching. Wet foods cannot touch dry foods or cold foods cannot touch hot foods. It’s complicated. Numbers are my downfall. If KFC were to give me a seven piece hot wing instead of six, I’d make them take one back. It’s crazy. I know.
Just as the article explained, I’ve taught myself things by routine. I do things a certain way all the time so I do not forget things. Whenever I shower, I wash in a pattern so as not to forget the “important parts.” When I dress, I do the same. If I forget one thing, it totally screws me up. First my under-clothes, then my shirt, then my pants, socks, followed by shoes. That is the way it is for me.
Talking about getting messed up - When I first started on the morning shift (7-3), I woke up early, around 5:00 AM, to shower. It was a cold December morning too. I jumped in the shower hoping it would wake me up. Afterwards, I ran into the bedroom real quick, not sure if I were even awake or not, and quickly dressed.
I had to leave for work by 5:30 AM because it took me an hour to get there and I had to be on the clock at 6:30. I was falling to pieces as I was rushing out the door. I grabbed my purse, slung the front door open and headed out in a dash. Even though it was still dark, I could see my 84 year old neighbor riding his scooter by the front of the house. He was always up before the sun and puttering around.
He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at me, and then he waved and smiled real big. It was at this time I felt a terribly cold draft and looked down. I was in such a hurry to warm myself; I skipped my routine and went straight to my socks, then my shoes. Here I was standing on the front porch with a wet towel on my head and holding my purse. I was naked except for my shoes and socks. But, I was ready for work.
My neighbor now stalks the front of my house and smiles real big, winking at me, when I come out the front door.
My daughter recently made a post on Facebook: “Some people really shouldn't reproduce. I mean seriously, America should consider implementing China's one-baby policy.” She then follows it up with talking about birth control being free and who doesn’t know about that (she‘s always been an advocate for contraceptives, hence, I‘m not a grandmother yet). I replied to her that she’d be surprised.
Sometimes though, it is not they don’t know it’s free: it’s they don’t know how to use it correctly. When I was 18, I worked with a girl, Carolyn, who was pregnant with her 3rd child. She was in the break-room saying, “I can’t believe I’m pregnant! Again!”
“You should use birth control pills,” a co-worker said.
“Yeah, you can get them from the Health Department for free,” I offered.
Carolyn shook her head, “I’m not going back there again. That’s how I ended up this way in the first place!”
“Oh! I thought it might have been because you were having sex,” said the co-worker (she always was funny).
Upon further inquiry, we learned Carolyn was not taking the pills correctly. Carolyn was under the impression if she had sex on Monday; she took a pill labeled “Monday.” Friday sex had “Friday” labeled and so on.
“What happens if you run out of Friday pills?” The co-worker asked thoughtfully.
Carolyn explained, “Well, then I don’t have sex on Friday but, there’s only 4 Fridays in a month and if I run into an occasional fifth week, I use one from another pack I have.”
I have never forgotten that day; it was truly amazing. We had to explain to her how it worked - the everyday thing about taking birth control. I saw Carolyn years later, about 20 years or so after the fact, and asked if she ever had a fourth child. She laughed, apparently remembering that day in the break-room too, and answered, “Hell no. I took your advice and I’ve been taking them every day until I had my tubes tied.”
When I was studying to become a nurse, I had to work in a doctor’s office during one of my clinical rotations. One of his regular patients couldn’t take birth control pills. She had serious adverse reactions to them. The doctor explained to me, before seeing her, he had advised the foam method instead.
The foam method is the use of spermicidal foam (or gel) in a diaphragm and then inserting it into the vagina prior to sexual activity. The sperm usually cannot squirm their way through the spermicidal and if they do, there’s the diaphragm to catch them.
The doctor and I enter the exam room and he says to her, “So how is the foam method working out for you?”
“Pretty good, I guess,” she laughs. “I’m not pregnant but, it sure does taste nasty.”
The doctor had to excuse himself momentarily.
Another day, we had a patient come in whose chief complaints were symptoms of pregnancy. Naturally the doctor had me run the pregnancy test which came back positive.
“Oh, I can’t be pregnant,” the young lady insisted. “That is impossible.”
This prompted a series of questions from the doctor, “Are you taking birth control? Are you sterile? Are you sexually active?”
“No, no, and yes,” she answered.
“Then why is it you do not think can be pregnant,” he asked a little exasperated.
“Because, I’ve never had an orgasm before.”
Another pick-the-doctor-up-off-the-floor moment. The look on his face as this information was processed was quite comical. And, I had to do all of this with a straight face. I had to be “professional.”
It isn’t just ignorance of where to get these contraceptive at, or that they’re free. Sometimes it is a case of being ignorant on how to use them, or just ignorance.
Lack of parental teaching is a big problem. I’ve heard parents say they didn’t need to have the “sex-talk” with their child because a) they have sex education classes at school; b) they can learn more from their friends; c) they probably know more than I do.
My response to that is this: a) it’s not the school’s responsibility to teach your child, it’s yours; b) you really want to leave it up to another child and their misconceptions (pun intended) to teach your child about sex, safe sex, and birth control?; c) you should never assume they know things you know. You have the experience, they’re just learning. Besides, when you assume things, you’re making an ass out of U, and well, just you.