Let me tell you a little story. I could start this story with the words “You all know that I have ADHD, right?” But I think I’ll just tell the story and you consider the impact of ADHD as you read it.
I do all kinds of freelance work. I work for a local online magazine called owensoundhub.org. I write for them, and for Psych Central, and I write freelance articles and copy for websites. And I have photographs available for people to use for various purposes.
And last Thursday I decided I needed some stock photos of some fire damage that had occurred in my city as a result of an arson spree. One of the places that the arsonists had tried to light up, but that extinguished itself, was on my list.
And when I got there, while searching for the place where the attempt had been made, I came across a used syringe.
It was capped, and having had some experience with sharps in the past, I felt safe in picking it up, ascertaining that the cap was secure and then storing it for disposal later.
I went back to shooting pictures, and soon forgot completely about the syringe, my mind already having run through the possible origins of the thing.
Now, when I say I stored it for disposal, I should tell you honestly that my experience with sharps was some years ago, was not for my personal use, and was validly health care related.
But I should also honestly tell you that my mind was on my job and I shoved the thing into my back pocket thinking it wouldn’t be there long before I handed it over to someone.
I forgot it.
The next day, Friday, around the same time of day that I had been taking pictures, I was driving my truck for some people who needed some stuff moved. Since I wasn’t required to lift, haul or tote anything, I was standing near the door, sort of waiting for stuff to head out so I could watch the loading.
I put my keys in my front pocket, and discovered my change from something I’d purchased in there. Among the change was a five dollar bill. I thought I’d just put that in my wallet and without thinking, reached into my back pocket to get it out.
I felt a sharp poke, and pulled my hand back out of my pocket without the wallet. There was the needle, stuck in my thumb.
Man, them things are sharp!
The cap had worked its way off. I pulled the needle out, there was no blood. I fished around in my pocket and located the cap. I replaced it securely and put the syringe in my other back pocket where I keep nothing else. I put it in there needle end down.
To put your mind to rest, should you be worrying about me, apparently the fact that there was no blood works in my favor. Also, the fact that the needle had been in my custody for 24 hours prior to the stick means that it is highly unlikely that anything infectious could have survived to be transferred to me.
I’ve had blood test anyway …
Imagine, though, how differently this might have turned out if I didn’t have ADHD. I would likely not have been hyper-focused on the job I had set myself. I would likely not have been distracted from taking care to put it someplace safe. I would likely not have forgotten it so completely. And I would likely not have found it the hard way.
On the other hand, perhaps the cap came off when I first put it in my pocket, and if I’d gone to get it out of there after having driven directly to a disposal site, I might have stuck myself with a freshly used needle.
Yet, there might have been another ending where I simply had called the authorities and pointed out thew thing’s location. I don’t know. I’m not that guy.
Life with ADHD is, in some ways harder,and in some ways better. But the long and the short of it is it’s my life, and I’m stuck with it. And I’m okay with that. Even now, I’m still okay with it.