Listening to the neurologist rattle on about the pros and cons of the various classes of ADHD medications, I was no different then a horny guy at the bar who feigns interest in a drunken woman’s babble in hopes of getting laid. I pretended to listen, but overwhelmed and pressed for time, I wished she would hurry up and write the prescription so I could return to work.
Cordial, we almost came to blows on the phone five days ago when she tried to push my appointment off until January. I had been in the appointment spin cycle since August so wasn’t having it. Tired of the runaround I complained and – surprise, surprise – an opening was found. Lesson learned.
Back in the days when I was hauling my toddler to Music and Me and Gymboree, this certainly wasn’t the life I envisioned. Stranger still is that I was reared by a tough Irish Catholic mother who almost had a Christian Scientist’s approach to sickness. We didn’t own a thermator or bottle of aspirin and there were years I didn’t miss a day from school. Now here I was with a child who has a rare endocrine disorder and ADHD. Life has become an endless stream of doctor appointments and tests and I’m doing something I never imagined: agreeing to medicate my daughter’s ADHD.
The doctor finally stopped talking to fish me some brochures from her drawer. Flipping through stack I questioned how much I should reveal.
“I do p.r. and marketing for big pharma and worked on the FDA approval and launch of Concerta,” I finally admitted.
Her jaw dropped. “So everything I said you already knew?”
I nodded. Twenty years in the business, I can throw around fancy terms while speaking in smart sound bites, but don’t ask me to elaborate.
Single and childless at the time, I distinctly remember when Concerta first came to market. It was the summer of 2000 and there was a lot of excitement because unlike its competitor Ritalin it only has to be taken once daily. Pharmaceutical executives would leverage this point at every meeting, stating the drug was a “lifesaver” for parents, which I took as hocus pocus the marketing people dreamed up to increase sales. Now, pushed to my limits by Savannah’s impulsivity, resistance and acting out, I am “that mother” they discuss in meetings.