I was looking so forward to our appointment for the developmental and behavioral evaluation at the Olson Huff Center. I was counting down the weeks and then days. I was so hopeful, I thought, for a diagnosis. Now that we have a diagnosis, I think I was actually hopeful that the deficiency in writing skills was causing the behavior and not the other way around. We are told the behavior is causing much of the school problems (at this point I think his biggest deiciency in school is that he cannot complete any assignments/tasks without 1-on-1 supervision). He was diagnosed Monday afternoon with ADHD.
I thought I had prepared myself for that possibility. I told myself that a childhood on medication was better than feeling inadequate, unhappy, and angry all the time. I told myself if the medicine created the opportunity for sucess he otherwise couldn’t achieve, then I would welcome the medicine. I was apparently kidding myself.
When the doctor finished playing games and puzzles with Luke, he had me fill out a “symptom” questionnaire and gave Luke a physical examination. Then he wheeled closer to my chair and told me he’s sure it is ADHD. I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights from that point on. He was reviewing printed materials on ADHD and I was still trying to process that my child, my Luke, my baby, has ADHD. And when he told me his advice for treatmet would be medication, it was all I could do to hold back tears.
My first thought was that he had just spent a meer 1.5 hours with my child in a controlled environment and couldn’t possibly have seen enough to be able to diagnose ADHD. There must be a myriad of other tests he should perform to rule out everything else. In our minds ADHD is a last resort and it didn’t feel like the doctor’s last resort. But I had to realize that this particular doctor has been working in this specialty for about 20 years. Plus he had writing samples from school and a statement from his teacher and a host of questionnaires we had completed that he had already studied before ever meeting Luke. I had to accept that the doctor knows more than I do about this.
While there are a lot worse situations to be in with my children’s health, in our lives at this time it is somewhat devastating. I don’t mean to diminish the pain, anguish, and sadness of a parent who’s child has cerebal palsey or cancer or the like. But in our lives at this time, this has brought us disappointment and sadness. Luke’s dad was diagnosed with AS (ankelosing spondylitis) about 5 years ago and we have been battling to find the right medication to lessen his pain ever since. It has been tough to see beyond his struggle at times. Now we have added a second struggle in our family of four. It will be overwhelming sometimes.
For the first 24 hours after Luke’s diagnosis of ADHD, I couldn’t think for a moment about it without breaking down and crying. But yesterday afternoon I found the resolve to accept the situation and take control, the strength to examine with rational thought. I know things could certainly be worse. I know that I need to accept whatever treatment helps Luke find success in school and happiness. I need to make peace with our reality.
So, as I do when I’m up against the unknown, I hit the library and the Internet. I had to stop myself from checking out the 7th, 8th and 9th books — I can’t possibly read that much in a couple weeks but I wanted everything I could get my hands on. I have submersed myself in ADHD information. I read about it every free moment I have. Facts certainly have a way of halting an unrational thought process.
Now 48 hours later, I still tear up if I have a chance to quietly reflect but I know we will find our way through this journey.