Queen of the Distracted

Imagine life in a house with 6 kids - now imagine if 5 of those kids and their father have ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - that is our house! Welcome to an inside view of my life and our home dominated by ADHD... THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!"

Those were our oldest daughter Rachel's first words, from the time she was a toddler she would belt them out proudly standing on the arm of the couch. At the time we had no idea what ADHD was or that it would play such a central roll in our lives.

Since then we have learned a lot, not the least of which is how many individuals and families suffer in silence. We have experienced first hand how misunderstood and misrepresented a disorder can be.

As a family we decided to take action - to risk embarrassment and labeling to get this important message out to the world. Come join our family, share in our lives, and see ADD/ADHD as we see it...
A gift with a heavy price tag.

WELCOME to life in the ADD/ADHD House!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All Roads Lead to the ER -- Even the Road to Prom

It was a magical day and night as the three oldest girls prepared for the prom, almost like time and trials paused to lean towards a perfect memory.  Like the fairy godmother had waved her magic wand over my three daughters as they sashayed their way to the Hanford Stake center, now a Fairy Forest Prom. They left reality behind as they crossed the arched footbridge over a sparkling river that flowed from a beautiful waterfall.

For one of my princesses, the magic wore off a little early Saturday night when she was jumping and jiving to a great 50’s song at the Prom.  Fortunately, it was the last dance when she ended up a heap of sparkly white gown and crown on the dance floor. 

Within minutes her ankle swelled
to the size of a pumpkin.

We joke about having a prominent klutz gene in my house. Some blame confetti or water on the dance floor.  The more likely culprit is a complete lack of attention to surroundings.

That klutz gene is closely related to the ADHD gene that swims so predominantly through our gene pool.  Impulsivity and inattentiveness are constantly factors in the injuries within our family.

In a March post I wrote about Hunter getting stitches just below his eyebrow and about Mariah’s mysterious ankle injury in “Life Used to be so Simple.”  Shortly before that, in “A Sticky Situation” I wrote about Mary Crazy-Gluing her tongue.

Now, it’s Rachel’s turn. Sunday was spent pursuing x-rays at the ER.  Today, and for a long time to come, we will be dealing with the pain of her ankle and all the fun that comes with torn ligaments. 

Watching her navigate with crutches makes me want to follow her around with a stack of pillows.  I am fairly sure we will have another injury before she’s through with them. In fact, just yesterday she fell stumping up the driveway.

Rachel has a long history of injury. If Rachel has a catch phrase it is, “Don’t worry, I’m okay!” hollered shortly after loud crashing noises.

Rachel actually tore the ligaments in the other ankle a couple years ago running back and forth from a TV show to her room to talk to her best friend about the show.  She caught her foot on the lever of a Lazy Boy chair.  She also got whiplash, from a flying basketball while walking through the gym, her freshman year of high school.

Back when she was eight, her ear had to be stitched back together because she pulled an old heavy TV onto her head.  If you ask her, none of these “accidents” are her fault -- all of them can be explained away as someone else’s “neglect.”

Of course, it is not just Rachel; all my ADHD kids have similar stories.  Not so surprisingly, Hannah, our non ADHD child, is the only one that has had almost no visits to the ER.  No torn ligaments for her, no stitches, no x-rays, no whiplash from a basketball. Poor Hannah.

In addition to the injuries that the kids sustain there is, of course, the injury to our finances.  Maybe that seems petty in the face of my children’s wellbeing, but it is a factor that really affects us all.  At $100 a pop for the ER or urgent care, money for follow-up doctors’ visits, not to mention the splint I will buy at Walgreens, since injured rodeo cowboys got to the Clovis hospital before us and cleaned out the supply closet of ankle braces. Costs add up quickly.  Ultimately ADD/ADHD is expensive.

 Consequently, I often say, 
“Stop that!  I do not want to go to
the Emergency Room tonight!” 

That’s where I sit for hours surrounded by all kinds of germs, hemorrhaging money.  Money I can’t afford to lose out of my tight budget.

That’s the same place I sat on Sunday, next to my pretty, pretty princess transformed into a pained teen, wondering why the Fairy Forest godmother abandoned us so close to a perfect night.

Consider This: 
ADD/ADHD is a complicated disorder with behaviors that go beyond the classroom.  One of the ways inattentiveness and impulsivity manifest themselves in daily life is through injury or accident.  A recent study compares ER visit rates of children previously diagnosed with ADHD and those not diagnosed as having ADHD.  In each case the rate of injury was higher among children previously diagnosed with ADHD, with one exception where they were the same.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9832578)

Many people with ADHD are attracted to danger.  Add impulsivity and inattentiveness and your sitting in the local ER.

This is one way that ADD/ADHD adds stress, emotionally and financially, to families struggling with this disorder.  In our family, though injuries have been frequent, we have been fortunate that they have been relatively minor. Many families are not as lucky.

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