A new doctor, this one also Ivy-trained but with much faster assessment scheduling options, delivers the official diagnosis, and it is exactly as I predicted: our daughter Dora has ADHD, the combination type.
Usually a title containing the term “combo” signifies something extra valuable. When you purchase a combo pack from the cable company, even though you get a bunch of channels you never wanted and a landline you’ll never use, you are a smart winner because you’re still getting more than you paid for.
Dora, it seems, slipped into existence pre-programmed with a combination of both hyperactive and inattentive tendencies. Many kids with ADHD are either hyperactive or inattentive, but Dora is more than. It’s mostly boys who get the combo pack, and if they don’t have both, they are typically hyperactive only. Most girls are only inattentive and therefore tend to go undiagnosed until adulthood, because parents like me assume an ADHD label belongs only to that wildly uncontrollable boy we once babysat.
I hate that I know these facts. I’d rather be using that mental real estate for other things, like maybe figuring out how the electoral college works. But here we are instead, sitting across from Dr. Ivy II and her folder.
“If ADHD is a spectrum, I’d call your daughter’s case ‘moderate’,” Dr. Ivy II continues. I feel my eyes water.
“Are you okay? Are you surprised?” the doctor asks, handing me a box of tissues.
“She’s relieved,” David explains.
I nod. “It’s an enormous relief. It explains so much.”
I recover quickly. I use my best Manager Voice to ask, “What treatment options would you recommend?”
I am large and in charge for this visit. This ain’t no foolin’ around. Not only did I exchange my yoga clothes for a work outfit, but I brought my own folder, along with a list of well-researched questions, a pad of legal-lined paper and a fresh motherfucking ball point pen. Bam.
Dr. Ivy II outlines everything I’ve already read online about behavioral modifications and reward systems and classroom IEPs and tutoring and so on. I wait as long as is polite before interrupting her,
“– What about medication?”
She proceeds warily. “If you’re open to medication –”
“– Yes.” I say. David nods. The story of how David came to this nod is his own to tell. For the record, no husbands were harmed in the making of that nod.
“That’s good,” she says, obviously relieved. “Because kids with your daughter’s ADHD profile tend to respond really well to medication.”
I already know this, of course. I’ve read every word of every link up through to page eighteen of the Google search results for this condition. For me, this meeting is more of a formality.
It takes another two days to deliver Dr. Ivy II’s assessment results to Dr. Ivy I, a step which is necessary because in addition to being a Ph.D. doctor, Dr. Ivy I is also an M.D. doctor, which means Dr. Ivy I is able to prescribe medication while Dr. Ivy II, who is only a Ph.D. kind of doctor, cannot.
This is another fact I could have lived happily for the rest of my life without ever having known.
Of course Dr. Ivy I wants to meet with us before she prescribes any medication, and of course her next available appointment is eleven business days from tomorrow.
“It’s a perfectly reasonable request,” David says at dinner. I nod and say yes of course, we should absolutely proceed prudently in such matters but my left eye is probably twitching because it knows I want to stab it with my fork because for the ever loving love of God my child needs help right now. Today!
Just then our doorbell rings. Dora races downstairs and swings the front door wide open, revealing a small delivery bag waiting on our doorstep. It’s the office supplies I ordered online a few hours ago.
Dora grabs the bag and tears it open. “Ooh! Colored paper clips! Can I have these? And can I also get on YouTube and look up paperclip crafts?”
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Silicon Valley. Because no one should be forced to wait for paperclips.
In the meantime: