Thursday, September 20, 2012


            “My stomach hurts.”

            I turned to look at Ramon.  His nose was scrunched up, and his head tilted as he held his stomach.

            “Were you sick this morning?”

            “No . . . Yeah . . . I don’t know.”

            “Did you take your meds this morning with the school nurse?”

            “Yes.  I always do.”

            No, I thought.  You usually forget and the nurse has to call you in.  Ramon took medication for Attention Deficit Disorder.  He took his meds at school because no one at home could remember to give it to him. 

            “Did you eat breakfast?”  I asked.  “You know your meds make you not want to eat.  And if you take your meds on an empty stomach, it makes you feel sick.”

            “I had breakfast.  I had sausage and biscuits.”  Ramon was smiling now and licking his lips.  “It was really good.”

            “Well, I’m sure you’ll feel better soon.”  It was 9:30 in the morning, and Ramon was one of two sixth grade boys in my room working.  “How are you coming on your math worksheet?”


            Ramon looked around the room searching for another diversion.  His eyes finally settled on David sitting across the table from him.  David’s head was bent over the worksheet in front of him.  Ramon stared at David for several seconds, studying him. 

            “Mrs. Jones, do David and I take the same medicine to help us focus?”

            Medications are the school nurse’s turf, so I always try to play dumb. 

            “I don’t know Ramon.”

            Ramon continued watching David.  David continued working.  Ramon continued searching for his diversion.

            “David.  What’s the name of your pills?” Ramon asked.

            David lifted his head up and stared at Ramon.

            “I don’t know.  What are you taking?”

            Ramon looked up at the ceiling, holding his chin in his hand.

            “I think I’m taking Viagra.”

            David stared thoughtfully at Ramon and then began to slowly nod his head up and down.

            “Yeah,” David said.  “I think that’s what I’m taking too.”


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