frequency ranges and spatial distributions

Electrode locations of International 10-20 system for EEG (electroencephalography) recording. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Electrode locations of International 10-20 system for EEG (electroencephalography) recording. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dear Internet,

I learned today that one cannot tweet when one is having electrodes placed on their skull. But then, you’re so tired from the sleep deprivation, the last thing you want to do is lean over and grab your phone to tell the world you’re beginning to look like the Bride of Frankenstein.

The EEG test required me to be sleep deprived, so I fell asleep at midnight and woke up at 4AM. No caffeine. At 7:15, I woke TheHusband up for us to head to the hospital where the procedure was going to take place.  I was feared I was going to end up getting amped up on adrenalin that would prevent me from falling asleep during the procedure.  I also feared of falling asleep while driving. There are times when having a husband is useful.

The EEG testing unit is buried in the bowels of the hospital, a set of complicated instructions arrived  in the mail, but we got there will little delay. After I checked in, I was called back by one of the techs who was admonished that “Donna has to learn patience. I have to finish checking her (meaning me) in before Donna can have her.” More conversation. I’m told to sit back down. Then stand back up to follow the not Donna to the actual testing area. The not Donna kept apologizing along the way for what has just transpired. There seems to be some drama fraught at workplace.

I meet the Donna when I’m led into the room where the testing is going to take place. Donna goes through my paperwork and seems perplexed  as to why I am here after I answer her questions. I document my seizure history, starting when I was 3. She then wants to talk about “my other issues,” which she means my mental disorders. These I had already mentioned to her earlier questions and I notice she has a hard time saying their names, her mouth seems crippled. I say them clearly, for her to make sure we’re clear: Bipolar I, Borderline Personality Disorder. ADHD. General anxiety. I explain, again to her since she seems confused, some of the symptoms associated with one disease is duplicated across other diseases. For example, the tremor in my right hand and leg, which happens rarely, is from the Bipolar, not neurological.

Donna’s seemingly reluctance at my answers is making me anxious. I find that slightly hilarious so I giggle while she finishes up my paperwork.

Prior to the placing the electrodes, the not Donna measured my skull and gave Donna seemingly random numbers that sounded like some sort of key, “6. 5.8, 6, 6, 5.8” and would act slightly intrigued when something came up as a “7.” “Are you sure?” the elder would ask. “I’m sure. It’s a 7.”, the junior responded.

I still have no idea what they were talking about.

After my head was measured thoroughly, and marked all over with red grease pencil, they began placing the electrodes on my head, using a heavy glue for the attachments. I’m assured the glue, another sticky product, and the grease pencil are all water soluble.

Donna and not Donna start working on placing the electrodes me, one obviously more confident or has been at her job far longer than the other. Donna’s confidence in what she was doing overshadowed the other tech, who while as agile with her fingers, often seemed to pause or was hesitant about what and where she should mark. I was getting annoyed with the confident one as she marked and place the electrodes on my skull, she had a habit of pulling my hair just enough to make me cringe for a nanosecond, but not so much that it actually hurt. Since her counterpart managed to not do this, I took it as some passive aggressive act about her job. This was cemented when one of the electrodes seemed to apparently not be working correctly, as she worked on fixing it, she had no problems being rough with moving and cleaning the electrode around my head, pulling my hair roughly a few times about with the shift.

After I was wired up, my head was wrapped with several rolls of gauze and I was told to lay down.

The room was sterile and devoid of any comfort. I was wearing a cardigan, sports bra, tshirt, and yoga shorts and I was shivering. The not Donna asked if I wanted a blanket, which I gladly took. I couldn’t get warm and I tried not to be scared.

There were several tests that were performed, the first of which with my eyes closed, various patterns of flashing lights were pulsed in front of me.  Some flashings did nothing to me, others caused my eyes to rapidly move. Was that normal or was I having some sort of non-epileptic seizure? Another test was a breathing test where I breathed out, from low in my diaphragm, for three minutes. Harder than it sounds. The final test was the sleeping test, in which my brain waves were measured as I slept for 20-30 minutes.

Apparently I conked right out, because one minute the Donnas are talking to me and the next, I’m being woken and informed we are done. I was uncomfortable in the room, cold still. I’m a side sleeper, something I couldn’t do for the test with my head wrapped in electrodes, thus the fact I slept was surprising.

The Donnas spent a few minutes unwrapping me, taking the electrodes out. The not Donna hands me a comb similar to the one we used to receive in grade school on picture taking day to run through my mop to get the electrode gel out and I laugh because my hair would break such a comb. I run it through anyway and it pulls and tugs but does not yet break, that it is easier to use my fingers to hunt of gel bits. Once I’m made somewhat presentable, I’m let free and taken back to the waiting room where TheHusband waits.

I’m told I will hear in 7-10 days from my neurologist.

Me, personally? I’m betting it’s what the doc said: I was epileptic when I was a kid and now the symptoms I’m thinking are epileptic are actually non-typical migraines.

We went to breakfast and came home by 11A where I slept for a few hours and TheHusband went right to work. I spent the rest of the day lounging, keeping up with my RSS reading and TV watching.

In other news, my appointment on Monday with Dr. H., the medicating doctor, went as I had hoped. He agrees to take me off of lithium, which will be much more involved process than I had hoped. I had already taken myself down from 1500mg to 1200mg, so I’ll remain at 1200mg for the rest of the week. Then I’ll go down to 900mg for a week, then 600mg for a week, then nothing. Dr. H. also cautioned that if I felt good on a particular dosage, to stay on that dosage and call and let him know. So if the crazy is tempered by 600mg as opposed to my 1500mg, then bully for me. I’m willing to do this, but if things don’t work, I’m not staying on it. Period.

I can almost taste the mental freedom and it will taste delicious.

x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2010

1 Comment

  • Anna Mickelsen

    11 September 2013 at 16:13

    Sounds brutal, Lisa. I hope it leads to some answers.