It was cold. Cold enough, in fact, that Satan found a number of his prize winning flames frozen to death in mid flicker!
It was mid-winter, and a few months earlier I had vowed to myself that until that lake of fire and brimstone had become an ice skating rink, I would not be seeing a doctor about my ADHD. How fitting, I thought, that it would be just as cold in the mortal realm as it must’ve been down below.
As I imagined the inhabitants of Hades forced into attempting impossible jumps and spins- and wearing ice skating boots two sizes too small- my wife and I pulled off the road and into the frozen arctic tundra of a doctors’ office parking lot, wondering the while what the doctor was going to be like. What would he think of a grown man coming into his office wanting ADHD meds? I had heard stories of people going from doctor to doctor trying to get a prescription so they could abuse the drugs. Would he think that is what I was trying to do? How was he going to verify what my wife and I suspected was, indeed, ADHD?
Once the car was positioned roughly where we thought a parking space may have been, (it’s tough to see the lines through a layer of packed snow), we looked at each other, and decided to make a mad, but cautious, dash for the door. The wind was biting, and we pulled our coats tight around our necks in a vain attempt to keep it from invading our personal space.
After crossing the parking lot, we navigated the mountain range of snow that the plow had conveniently created along the length of the sidewalk while, somehow, managing to leave most of the snow right where it had fallen. Does Hades have a parking lot? I wonder to myself as we approach the door. If it does, I bet it looks a lot like this one does by about now. I gasped at the thought and checked the marquee. Conveniently, however, the wind was coming from that direction making me so teary-eyed that I couldn’t verify if we had, in fact, just pulled into the very parking lot of h.e. double hockey-sticks…
The floor of the lobby was wet from all the people coming in with snow on their shoes and, although we had stamped our feet outside, I’m sure we contributed generously to the wetness.
While we waited to get signed in I noticed two men standing in the hallway. Still nervous about our actual location- I check them both for horns. They appeared safe enough and I observed that one of the men was wearing a stethoscope around his neck, and the other one had a small briefcase, out of which he pulled a brochure.
The doctor nodded as the salesman explained the benefits of the drug he was pushing, and I was surprised to hear that it was an ADHD drug. I had never heard a conversation between a doctor and drug rep before, or since, but was surprised at how simple it seemed. No biochemical jargon, or scientific explanation why the drug worked, just a simple “It works great for the kids, but has also been approved for use by adults”. The doctor didn’t ask any questions, and he seemed a little disinterested. He must already know about that drug, I assumed.
After checking in, we found a couple of vacant adjoining chairs and waited… and then waited for a little bit more once we were called back to an exam room. I, in the meantime, imagined that the poor souls in Hades had to have bruised knees by now from all of the failed jumping attempts.
After a few minutes the door swung open and through it walked the same stethoscope-wearing-man I saw earlier talking to the salesman. I breathed a sigh of relief that I got the doctor whom, I still assumed, seemed to know all about ADHD and the drugs to treat it.
He took a seat on the round black vinyl topped- casters on the bottom- exam stool, and with a condescending air asked what had brought us in to his office. My wife and I exchanged glances, and I began explaining what had transpired in the previous couple of months. That we had found a test which indicated that I had ADHD and that the books we had read since taking that test confirmed those results. So the purpose of our visit was to officially get diagnosed and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
We assumed he would want to verify for himself what we had just told him, and he almost made an effort to do so. He began by asking about some stereotypical ADHD behavior that I may have at one point or another exhibited. “Have you ever lost your keys?” Followed with, “Do you have a hard time concentrating?” The clincher for him was “Have you ever had an accident?” When I responded yes to that one he was convinced!
He put on his authoritative voice and with an air of bored superiority recites, word for word, the sales pitch he had just received from the sales guy, which ended with “it works great for the kids, but has also been approved for use in adults.” After the fact, I realized I shouldn’t have laughed, but I thought he was making a joke. He must have seen me in the lobby, I thought, and is trying to be funny by quoting the sales guy like that… He wasn’t… He looked as if my chuckle had been an off-color joke about his mother, wife, kids, favorite elementary school teacher, sports team, and his hair cut all in one.
I suddenly felt very hot. Hmm, I think His Awfulness’ furnace is running again, and it seems to be connected to this room! I should have checked that blasted marquee when we drove up!
My mind raced back to those moments in the lobby. Did he see me? I wondered to myself. No, I don’t think he did. Um, he sure looks offended, I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings, although, he hasn’t been very careful with mine. Why does he seem so self conscious?! Has the obnoxious condescending attitude been an act to hide his inadequacies? Does he know any more about ADHD than what the salesman has told him? They must’ve gone over this in med school right? Does he really think that people with ADHD have a monopoly on losing their car keys, or getting distracted, or having accidents? I know I do those things, but does he really know enough about me to feel that putting me on such a powerful drug is the right thing?! It hasn’t even been five minutes since he walked in!
All those thoughts raced through my mind at once, it seemed, as I studied his face and made plans for evasive maneuvers. He looked mad enough to start throwing punches and I didn’t want to get caught off guard.
My fear of attack ebbed, however, as my wife and I began asking questions about ADHD and his experience with it. He had a small number of patients with it, but they were all children. He was even big enough to admit that he really didn’t know much about it outside of what he had studied in school years before. We continued for a few more minutes asking him questions, and he answered what he could, and admitted when we asked something that he didn’t know the answer to.
In the end, he gave me a prescription that I’m not sure we even filled. I appreciated his honesty with us, but decided that I wanted to find a doctor who specialized in treating ADHD, although, I didn’t tell him that. I’m sure he already knew he would never see me again.
As we walked out of the building that day wondering where we were going to find an ADHD expert, I swear, from somewhere deep inside the building I heard someone ask for another cup of freshly brewed brimstone. I knew it!