A few weeks ago, I had spine surgery after dealing with years of horrible back and sciatic pain. I was told that most people in this situation don’t wait three years to take care of a problem that can easily be fixed, but I’m no fan of knives, operating rooms or needles.
I finally had it done and it was a breeze. All the pain disappeared as soon as I opened up my eyes. Except for an excruciating headache that lingered for two weeks. Though I was reassured that it wasn’t from the spinal I was given to put me in la-la land, I couldn’t figure out why I’d been so miserable.
So I started calling doctors. And seeing doctors. And no one could figure it out. It got me to thinking how much ADD can affect our health. First, we tend to put off seeing doctors (procrastination or forgetfulness). Or we dismiss the problem (distracted). Or, we don’t want to bring attention to ourselves, because we often do that too well, which can be embarrassing. We’ve become gifted at hiding or trying to hide our difficulties.
I finally decided that I had to get this checked out. Since I was told by two doctors that the headaches were not related to surgery, I went to an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor and all hell broke loose.
I came in with three complaints, which was my first mistake: the new headaches, an ear ringing problem and a question about chronic headaches, specifically: were they sinus or migraine headaches?
I immediately had a flashback, remembering all the eye doctor appointments I’ve suffered through because I never know if Lens A is better than Lens B and if B is better than C. It drives me insane.
Back to the ENT. She asked about my current headaches, did a physical exam and then had me take a hearing test (another nightmare- see above re: eye exams).
When she was all done, this is what I heard:
Your hearing test came out fine, pretty much normal but slightly in the low normal range in your ringing ear but I don’t know why your ear is ringing. Your sinuses and ears and throat and nose look clear as a bell but here, take this nose spray and oh, have you ever used a nose rinse? Here’s the kind I use every day and I think you should try it, too.
By then, my head was spinning but I was afraid to tell her of that symptom. My ADD went into super mode: what is she TALKING about? Do I take nose spray if my sinuses are fine? Or is that for the headaches? What is the sinus rinse for and does she REALLY do that every single day? I refuse to use a nose douche- it’s utterly disgusting, but I’ll go to the store and at least try it. What does she mean my headaches are sinus-related? Didn’t she just say my sinuses are clear? She asked me three questions and decided my chronic headaches are not migraine?
She then told me to call her in a month if things aren’t better in which case I’d need a CT scan. But if what isn’t better? Huh?
I have ADHD. If too many things are thrown at me at once, I get lost in the woods of confusion. No wonder so many of us think we’re dumb or childish. But even with understanding my ADHD and how my brain works, I still get myself into these situations.
My mistake was coming in with three different problems. It would be tricky to discuss just ONE problem because it’s very possible that all three are somehow connected, and the doctor needs to know all the symptoms in order come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Next time, I will be prepared to tell my doctor to slow down and go over each thing separately so I can write down everything in a way I can understand.
It makes me wonder how many of us just avoid going to doctors, knowing how difficult it can be to take it all in. Most of us are probably anxious to some degree walking into a doctor’s office when things are going wrong, but then there’s the ADD to deal with. Which further makes me wonder: are we less healthy than the average adult because we may be avoiding doctors?
What do you think? Do your ADD symptoms get in the way of keeping you as healthy as you could be? Do you avoid doctors and medical tests?
Share your thoughts in the Forum and let’s see what we can learn from each other.