| I of the Storm |

I of the Storm: Chapter 12

Daniel — usually the patient one — gritted his teeth. “Does she ever turn off?” he muttered


Daniel swiveled the wheel with one hand, making a nauseatingly wide turn. He swerved to avoid a hooded teen who ran across the street. “Lunatic,” he grumbled. “So. What are we hoping to achieve with this consultation?”

Classic Daniel, moving into male mode.

“I want to get a clearer picture of Shira’s difficulties.” I said, applying some MAC lipstick for resurrection purposes. “Right now, it’s one big jumble — attention, sensory, emotional, maybe learning disabilities? We have to pick apart the strands —”

“Mom, I see a truck! A tractor trailer! A police car! Mommy, are you LOOKING????” Shira cried.

I looked darkly at Husband. “Forget it. We can’t have a normal conversation now.”

“Mommy, why is there traffic? And why do we need red lights? And why does the lady in the next car have such long hair?”

Daniel — usually the patient one — gritted his teeth. “Does she ever turn off?” he muttered.

I took a deep breath, then began expounding on Traffic 101. Why was this so exhausting? Because it doesn’t end. It’s like the whack-a-mole arcade: you answer seven questions and there’s twelve more.

Daniel was still uncomfortable about the prospect of meds. Shira’s behavior was slowly wearing him down, but old habits die hard — his was the kind of family where antibiotics were given grudgingly, supplemented with a million herbal concoctions.

“I bet kids didn’t need Ritalin before white sugar was invented,” he declared, zooming through a yellow light. I bet yes, I wanted to say. They just bounced off the walls and got spanked regularly, ultimately becoming scarred, dysfunctional adults.

“Mommy,” Shira interjected pensively. “I don’t need to go to the nurkocologist. I won’t eat sugar — then I’ll be able to concentrate better in class!”

Right. Cuz that’ll last about…three minutes.

The neurologist was humorously archetypical: paunchy stomach, slight balding, ridiculously stiff Brooks Brothers shirt. Happily, he seemed to have a comparatively mild case of physician ego-itis. He handed Shira paper and markers and asked her to wait right outside while we gave some background.

120 seconds into our conversation: scratching on the door. Then gentle taps, feeble knocks, firm pounding. Daniel and I plunged onward. Finally, a wicked kick.

I flushed.

“It’s fine,” Dr. Blakely said softly. “I’m used to this. “ He chuckled, pointing to a magnet on his mini-fridge: “Think of ADHD this way…You have a Ferrari brain — but with Chevy brakes.”

Shira jaunted in, smiling sweetly. He began his assessment: “Kevin went to the store and bought soda, pretzels, apples, and lemonade. What did Kevin buy?”

Shira fiddled with a pen on the desk, then scrutinized the diplomas on the wall. “Apples and lemonade!” she replied triumphantly.

“What kind of animal is furry, sometimes brown, and likes to eat carrots?”

“A monkey!” she blurted out, not stopping to process the question.

I cringed. Why are you embarrassed? My inner voice asked. This is why you came!

That’s the funny thing about emotions: they’re layered, conflicting, impossibly intertwined. So you desperately want the doctor to see her challenges, you crave the validation and guidance, but when you actually see your child’s difficulties bared to the world, it hurts.

Will I ever reach the level where my ego won’t be so convoluted with Shira’s persona? I wondered.

A battery of motor tasks followed; Shira did better with those. Then it was time for a summary and queries.

“There’s no question in my mind,” Dr. Blakely stated, taking off his Armani glasses. “I see extreme distractibility and impulsivity. For example —”

“MOMMEEEEEEEE!!!” Shira clambered onto my lap and began pulling at my wig. I frantically held it down, praying the clips were fastened tight. “I want to GO already!” Daniel thrust a pen and paper into her arms. She scribbled furiously, then grabbed another random sheet from the desk — Dr. Blakely’s appointment list. I snatched it away.

“Sorry, sweetie, not that one.” Dr. Blakely cleared his throat. “I’d like you to come for a more comprehensive eval in four weeks. We’ll —”

Shira stuck two fingers in my ears. “Stop talking already!” she hissed.

Dr. Blakely looked at us compassionately. “Look, I don’t have to detail the challenges. See how much you have to deal with?”

I blinked hard, willing a tear to stall. I’m not crazy. There really IS something going on here.

We’d come back for an eval. Maybe we’d go the medication route. Until then, just knowing that an objective professional agreed with my gut would give me the strength to soldier on.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 478)

Oops! We could not locate your form.