I had my second EEG test yesterday, but my reactions to it were considerably different from the one I had two years ago. Back then, my Neurologist was trying to decide if I had Parkinson’s or not. My only symptom at that time was a very labored, slow walk, that he called Bradykinesia. I did not have any problems with the EEG test at all.
Things have changed a good bit since then. Now I have lots of tremors, jerks, and facial tics, that only get worse if I am in a stressful situation, or cannot get my mind “somewhere else”. I have discovered that when I am deeply concentrating on something, such as writing here on the computer, that the movements are quieted down considerably.
But put me in a situation that is the least stressful, or in one where I am just sitting with nothing actively going on, and I turn into the hurky jerky girl. Church is the usual place that happens. The only way to stop it that I have found is to go into a meditative state, finding some minute crack or spot on the wall to give my total attention to. It spaces me out, I don’t hear the sermon, but at least I am not bothering all the people who sit behind us.
And now I know that it happens during EEG tests, too. With nothing to occupy my concentration, following her directions to do fast open mouth breathing for 3 minutes to make me hyperventilate, and some very uncomfortable series of strobe lights that made me feel even more stressed, there just wasn’t any way to stop the jerks. The harder I tried to be still, as she had asked, the more I moved. She finally gave up and said at least it would let the doctors see what my brain was doing while my body was doing its own thing. She did tell me to open my mouth and stop pressing my lips together, so my mouth trembled and pulled to the left the whole time, too.
It took 45 minutes to complete the test, and I was exhausted the rest of the day.
The funny part was my hair!! They do not use the scull cap method, so each of these electrodes was stuck to my scalp with something like KY jelly. And there were lots of electrodes – maybe in the 20’s? When she was through and told me to look in the mirror, I looked like something from a Monty Python movie. I smoothed my hair down as best I could, but would have loved to have walked out just as I was, so hubby could get a kick out of it. If he had been the only one in the waiting room I would have, but it was a very busy place.
We were set to drive some distance to a family funeral after the test, so I had anticipated the hair goo and planned to stop at any franchise hair salon along the way and get my hair washed. So that was easily enough taken care of. I am glad I knew to expect that, as it could have been a real problem if we had been running short on time. I didn’t appreciate having to pay $12 just to get it washed and blown dry with no styling, but there wasn’t anything else to do. I had also brought a complete change of clothes and shoes, so I would not have to take the test in good clothes.
We did get into a situation of some very expensive parking at UAB, though, that just added to the very expensive day. We parked in the closest parking deck to the Sparks Clinic at UAB, but they would not validate his ticket, since we had not used the “right” deck. Of course, they had not told me that I should park in any particular one when they called to tell me the appointment time. So, instead of costing $4.50 to park, it cost us $15.00!!! We were not at all happy about that!! UAB will be hearing from me about that today!!
When we did get to Cleveland, the little town in north Alabama where the funeral was going to be, we ate at a very nice looking local restaurant. Not surprisingly, considering the way the rest of the day had been, their prices were high. So, we took the lunch special of the day. The vegetables were great, but the meat was lousy. The waitress seemed genuinely shocked when hubby complained about it.
I really was worn out by the time the graveside funeral was over, so we begged off on eating at the church with the family and headed straight home. This was my sister in law’s side of the family, so I really didn’t know that many people there anyway, and I am not comfortable in unfamiliar social situations. I have always been that way, but it’s gotten worse now that I jerk and twitch so much.
So we had a full day, one that I am glad to have over with. I have an appointment with Dr. Watt’s team in May, with an MRI to be schedules before then, so I will have to wait that long to find out the results of the EEG. Should be very revealing, since I displayed the full range of all my jerks, tics, smirks, and shakes while the brain’s electrical activity was being graphed.
I am optimistic that all these tests are going to show more than they did two years ago, and that they will be able to decide what is wrong with me with more certainty. Of course, I know there is no such thing
medically in life as a certainty, but I can rely on God to get me through it all. Patience, Rosemary, Patience.