Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Overcommitting or Committing Oneself: Organization Dilemmas for the Chronically ADD

Having ADD is kind of like being an out-of-control magician: you never know what you're going to pull out of the brain.  Most days, I can wake and know immediately if I am going to accomplish items on my to-do list or not, but every morning is a surprise.  I can definitely count on days closest to my period being a catastrophic mess - there is definitely a link between hormonal shifts and focus.  I talk more about that here.

But what do you do if you have a massive number of projects to finish and you're in the midst of a full-on ADD brain fog?  Seriously, that's a question.  What do you do?

I've been trying to keep my calendar in front of me at all times, along with two pens, a notebook, a scratch pad, my phone, a glass of water (because organization is dehydrating) and any notes that are necessary to keep me in task.  Right now, I am helping organize an annual fundraiser for my children's school that requires a lot of coordinating with my co-chair and various teachers.  It involves a lot of dates, paperwork, and announcements.  I am also writing a bio for my father-in-law for an awards banquet, arranging to teach a community writing workshop, defending my graduate thesis and reading a friend's thesis for her defense, planning a major trip for the summer, writing articles for the freelance gig, submitting essays to contests, revising work for my last graduate packet, dealing with a medical issue, and just about losing what is left of my crumbling mind.

I've had multiple requests to meet for coffee, meet for tea, scheme a business plan, give blogging advice, help with a community project, and volunteer at school and ballet.  Some of those meetings I even instigated!  With March a week away, I also have to start planning for spring break and summer camps.

Last week I told my husband I needed a raise . . . from his paycheck.

This week, I think I just need to hire a personal assistant and give him or her my raise . . . from my husband's paycheck.

With March right around the corner, at least I have spring on the horizon.  Here's how I know for certain: I heard birds singing yesterday, all of the snow and ice outside my front windows has melted, I saw young athletes convening in the park last night, it's just a teensy bit light at 6 PM, and my spring headaches are beginning to ring behind my eyes.

I think my first step at clearing the brain cobwebs will be to take a short walk down the street, breath in the clean air, and look for bulbs beginning to sprout.

We're all so busy and over-committed, even those of us lucky enough to "work" from home.  How do you juggle it all?

Friday, February 7, 2014

The January Sickbed Blues

I know, I know, I haven't been writing.  Guess what?  Chicken butt.  Sorry, too much time with my 7-year-old.  Guess again.  Seriously this time.  I've been siiiiiiiiiiiiiick.  For those who don't understand the multiple "i"s I loaded that word down with it means a month-long, ever-mutating kind of sick.

Over the holidays in December, I felt tired and suspected I was drawing near my annual sinus infection so I got some antibiotics and cruised along.

It didn't go away.

Don't get me wrong, I was in no way miserable.

Then, around the first week of January, after being stuck in the house for two weeks with both kids and my husband, my husband came to bed one night complaining of a sore throat.  He offered to sleep in the basement so I wouldn't catch it, but I didn't accept the offer, figuring I could take it.

Guess another time: I couldn't take it.

Within two days, my husband was laid out flat and had to miss a dinner party.  I attended, but felt pretty weak and tired.  I didn't finish my dessert.  Something was wrong.

Then my throat started throbbing and throbbing and throbbing.

I went to the Kroger Little Clinic where they told me to gargle with salt water and take Zyrtec.

I went to my general practitioner who said she was not giving me another antibiotic, but did test me for strep and mono.  I didn't have either.

A week later, I was unable to eat solid food and the pain was getting worse, so back to my doctor I went.  She gave me a steroid injection.  In my ass.  It worked for 6 hours.

Two days after that my doctor sent me to an ENT, a strapping man in a tight pink sweater.  He gave me a powerful antibiotic that he assured me was safe to take even though I have Crohn's Disease.

Here's what happened: my throat starting improving and . . . the antibiotic sent me into an epic Crohn's flare-up!  Oh, and I had chills and fevers for three weeks.  At random.

Here's a few illustrations to help illustrate how my gut felt about being on the antibiotic.

I actually stayed in bed or wrapped in a blanket on the couch looking like a lonely old biddy for almost a month.

With growing concern, I contacted my ENT, my gastroenterologist, and my primary care physician.  I was told to finish the antibiotic if I could (I did), start on a new antibiotic for my bad gut (I did), and oh-my-god-you're-very-dehydrated.  At least that helped explain the all-day sleeping marathons.

After 10 days of drowning in Gatorade, I started to improve a little, but not enough.  So, I got off ALL antibiotics (because they are the devil), started a new medication as recommended by my Facebook Crohn's homies, and then remembered, hey, doesn't over-the-counter Pepto Bismal work for these kind of gut problems?  Turns out, it does.

Now, why I didn't think of this a month ago, when I opened my medicine cabinet every night and saw the magic pink chalky medicine winking at me, I can't say.  But, I am gloriously happy to feel better, have an appetite again, have energy again, and all for less than $10 a bottle.

Thank you for bearing with my absence, dear readers.  This winter has been a doozy - and I'm not even going to mention the ice, snow, and mounting snow days my kids have had - but we're halfway to spring and I'm ready to get back to writing on a regular schedule.

Hope you are staying warm and healthy on your end of the blogosphere.