Little Mis-Diagnosed

 My name is Alexa Opal Hamilton and I am the first child in history to be diagnosed with ADD.
Seriously, back in the 5th grade when I was put on Ritalin, kids had never heard of ADD.

 Nowadays, if you asked a kid if they knew what ADD was they would probably punch you in the face with their IPad.

                I think my trouble in school started by day 3 of kindergarten. By the 5th grade, my mother lost all hope that my grades were naturally going to improve on a diet of Lucky Charms and Nestle Quick, so she took me to our family doctor.

                Lo and behold, Dr. F made an insightful diagnosis after one minute of looking over my straight C+ report card.

Dr. F: You’re right. These grades are terrible! I’ve never seen grades as bad as these before.

                Is that so? Well, it’s probably because YOU’RE A DOCTOR! So yeah, I’m sure you haven’t ever seen a C before. What’s that you say? You say you have a daughter who is also a doctor? Well holy shit. Mystery solved. Now give me my damned orange sucker.

                Honestly, he probably didn’t know what they were. Like the letter C was some sort of oozing boil that was bleeding out all over my report card. The guy probably panicked and scrambled to prescribe me the latest medicine the one and only drug rep in West Texas was pushing that week.

So, when I got back to school, my mom had to go through this entire process of writing notes to my school nurse and teachers.

                Dear unsuspecting victims of generation X:

            Alexa has been diagnosed with ADD—a new disease that stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. Although this sounds like some foreign made up drug company conspiracy, it’s actually not. Anyway, her doctor has prescribed her a drug called Ritalin, which she’ll need to take every morning in first period.

            I know this ADD weirdness sounds scary, but the doctor assured me that this disorder was rare and you shouldn’t see any more cases in the future. Thanks, CJ

Nowadays, I hear we’re in the middle of an entire ADD epidemic. The germs have even begun to mutant-ize and produce a strand called ADHD. Which as you may know, the “H” stand for “hyperactivity.”
Which, brings me to my next point, why in the hell would we ever want to try and cure what is in effect, ENERGY? It makes no sense to me.

As adults, we’re always complaining how “we don’t have any energy” and that we “just wish we had more energy” and we would accomplish so much more in our lives.
Here we are downing cups of Starbu-mocha-frapa-latte-latte-chinos just trying to defibrillate our system, and then we turn around and try to stamp out the exact same quality in our kids.
But that’s a whole other post.

Anyway, people are trying to figure out the underlying cause of this massive ADD/ADHD menace to society. I hear them try and blame television and MTV. As the leading lady of this disorder, I’m here to tell you, it’s not because of MTV or from all the “modern world distractions.”

How do I know? Because I literally grew up in the middle of nowhere. When I say the middle of nowhere, some of you probably think of a lovely country side with a lake and trees.
No ma’am. I’m from West Texas.
The breeding ground of dirt, tumble weeds and John Deere green.

So, for some reason my parents felt that with everything going on in BFE there was no need for the distraction of cable. Therefore, my “ADD” couldn’t have been caused by TV because we only had 3 channels for the entire expansion of my youth and adulthood

I’m not exaggerating. 12, 9 and 32. Those were the channels.  12, 9, and 32. 12, 9, and 32. 12, 9, and 32.

Forever and ever and ever.

Apparently the people who lived in our house before us had cable because when we moved in, they had left their giant 1980’s satellite dish in our backyard. For some reason, I thought this was going to be the coolest toy ever so one evening I decided it could be a good idea to play in the disc, but that just got me a bunch of fiber glass stuck in my legs.  I ask: Why did no one stop me?

 

 

 Well, I’m from a really small town and went to an even smaller school. So, whenever a student was given a new prescription we were required to give it to the nurse and then she would come around to all the classrooms and deliver the medicine to us. Therefore, every morning the nurse would show up at my classroom door to give me my brain adrenaline. Since class was so boring, any time a new person would walk into the room, it always drew a lot of attention, which in this case, I didn’t particularly enjoy. 

All the kids began firing off questions as I tried to swallow my jagged little pill[i] while looking as inconspicuous as possible choking it down.

                Anyway, the problem though, wasn’t in my brain. In my opinion, it was a combination of factors which I will outline below:

1)      School sucked. Teachers were boring.

2)      Food.

I’ve learned as an adult that I am a hungry hungry lady. I have to have a big breakfast,2 hours later a mid-morning snack, 2 hours later lunch, 2 hours later another snack, 2 hours later dinner. I understand that formula only gets me to about 3 o’clock in the afternoon so I think there may be some discrepancy in my food schedule. Regardless, you get my point.

As an adult, I’ve learned this; plus I now know that I have an adverse reaction to sugar.
Unfortunately, not I nor anyone else for that matter, understood these connections and therefore, the combination of said factors with Ritalin added in the mix produced the following unfortunate results:

5:45am Morning Breakfast: cereal and milk would begin digesting now.

 

I lived way the f%&* out in the country and rode the bus. So basically I’ve had a “commute” ever since I was a 5 year old.

 

6:30am-7:45am Busride: violence ensues.

 

 

Cereal and milk status: almost depleted.

8:00am Reading. My favorite subject. Feeling good. Oh, but look, brain here comes the Ritalin.

9:00am English. Breakfast completely gone. Now hungry.



9:05am Still English : Want to eat. Having difficulty paying attention.

 

 9:17 Ritalin kicks in. Brain doesn’t know better, so treats it as cocaine. No longer feeling hunger.

 

10:00am: Math. F&*% math. I do my work because I feel like I’m supposed to. Or maybe it’s the pills. Not sure, but all I know is that I’ve now counted every single tile on the ceiling (526) and the leaves on the plant (62).Can feel education becoming of quality.

10:30am Feeling hunger again. There are 17 rubber bands scattered on teacher’s desk.

11:00am No idea the subject. And no idea where I am anymore. Another hour until lunch. Now soooo hungry. Blood sugar has plummeted down to soles of feet.

11:15 Gnawing on pencil so hungry.

11:17 Drooling on desk.

11:21 drew picture of sandwich on a piece of paper and ate it. Was surprisingly satisfying.

11:22 Teacher coming over to desk.

11:30: Am moved to the front of the classroom.

11:40: Spot what looks like a candybar in Teacher’s pocket. I go for it.

11:41: Find out the hard way it’s not a candy bar but an eraser. I take bite anyway to make sure.

11:42: Teacher gives up and moves me to the back of classroom where I’m no longer her problem.

11:42-11:59: Acid boring through stomach lining. Ritalin is singing Jimmie Hendrix to my brain.

Noon: LUNCHTIME!!!!  GLORY-AL-LE-LU-IA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many a knee caps were smashed to be first one in line.


After a solid week of my wolverine like behavior, with the support of my teacher, I asked my mother if I could please get off the Ritalin.

Since she wasn’t a big fan of me taking it in the first place, she agreed and I never had to take it again.

I wish there was a happy ending or even a moral to this story, but to be completely honest, I still went through the remainder of my school years acting like an anorexic-rabid Shih Tzu until lunch time.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Little Mis-Diagnosed

  1. Laura Hunt

    Awesome photos and drawings. Loved them. You have a great sense of humour.

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