Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Testing Whether my Brain Works

I've been joking for some time that the MRIs have proven I do indeed have a brain up there. Well, last Thursday we tested to see if I know how to use it. (The jury is still out.) Here is the detailed explanation that I promised you about what happens during an EEG.

First off, I was told to have no more than three hours of sleep the night before and given instructions about not going to bed before midnight and not sleeping past 5 AM, yadda yadda yadda. I thought this was going to be the worst part and the biggest challenge of this whole thing. Boy did I have a lot to learn!!!

So Wednesday night a friend from the West Coast stayed up with me online until 2 AM my time. (Thank you Jennifer!!!) I made it and amazingly enough, after I made it over the 11PM hurdle, I was doing pretty good. However, I was sure ready for that bed. I slept like a rock until the alarm went off. Sure enough it woke me out of a deep sleep which made me really tired. I dozed off while sitting on the couch that morning and woke up out of a cat nap at full hot wire. We took our son to the babysitter for school and went to the doctors.

This is where the fun begins. They have you sit in a recliner and recline it all the way back. I will admit that it was not one of the really comfortable recliners and I was pretty uncomfortable in it. (However I am usually more picky than others because of my height) Regardless, after getting me more hyper by talking, she began the process of measuring my head to determine where to put the electrodes. This took about ten minutes and she marked my head with something. (I meant to take my camera and have John take pics but I realized I didn't have it much to late to turn around and go back for it. If I ever have the misfortune of doing this again, I will take pics.)

Then she went to all the places she marked and used a gritty mixture to rough up the area so the electrodes would stick. It honestly felt A LOT like sandpaper and it hurt in some areas especially on the forehead and very back of the head. Then she attached the electrodes with some sticky stuff. I'm sure I looked quite a sight and I'm sorry I don't have pics. (I was interested to see what I looked like with them.) Then they attach two electrodes to your chest to monitor your heart rate (using the same method... OUCH).

Now that I was all hooked up, she went to her laptop and the lines began to go across. I don't pretend to know what they all mean but if I ever get the actual scans I will do what I can to explain some of them.

She had me open and close my eyes a few times to get me to relax and get a "normal" reading. Then a device about like a virtual reality simulator was put near your eyes and you were told to shut them. The device would shine lights similar to a strobe light for 10 seconds on with a 4 second break. I think this went on for about three minutes or so. Strobe lights cause some people to have seizures, thus the reason for this particular test.

The next phase of the test required you to hyperventilate yourself for three minutes. This part of the test truly sucked. I was breathing just as she showed me and my chest was starting to hurt. I thought I had to be almost done but alas I was only half way there. I really had to push myself to get through it and I did cough a few times during it. This could not have been good on my sinus and bronchitis.

Immediately after finishing the hyperventilation routine she told me to try to sleep. Yes, you read that right, try to sleep. You are kidding me right? After raising my heart rate to easily four times normal, you expect me to sleep? Needless to say, I was able to cat nap a bit but I never did sleep. I should have known I wouldn't. There's two things working against me, I am a belly sleeper (I hope my chiropractor doesn't read this) and the more tired I am, the longer it takes me to sleep. I NEVER fall asleep in less than 20 minutes. (This includes that Wednesday night.) So to give me 15 minutes with light coming in the window, on my back... it just wasn't going to happen.

She had me finish the test off by simply relaxing then it was finished.

She took the electrodes off and cleaned up the spots on my head, then we were dismissed. When we got into the car, I still had three vivid red spots on my head and one on the side of my head that was very vivid in color. These would last all day and part of the next. My head was extremely tender all day and it kept me from sleeping real well that day. The sandpaper stuff did what little else has luck with and that is hurt my scalp. I have long hair so I value the fact I have a tough scalp. LOL

It's now several days later and I have finally caught up on my sleep and my head doesn't hurt any longer. My neck on the other hand is bothering me yet again. I went to the chiropractor on Friday and it did well but yesterday late it started bothering me again. I have an appointment on Thursday so I will try to stick it out.

So there you go, the inside scoop on an EEG. Not fun but beats a brain biopsy!!!

1 comment:

  1. I was happy to keep you awake. EEG does not sound like a great test to have to experience. I'm sure it's very useful, but owwww on the head scraping part.