Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Medical Tests & Crazy Drs

Warning this will be long and possibly boring :)

I have been having split second, but frequent dizziness for YEARS now. In July I had what I call a "flash" in my head. It didn't hurt but scared the crap out of me. I saw my family Dr who referred me to a neurologist.

I saw the neurologist in Oct. This guy was weird. He spoke to me with his eyes closed and wore socks with Berkinstocks.

He told me I had a "weird" brain. I asked if that was his official diagnosis? He said it was weird because my episodes were so short or only happened once. Don't strokes and heart attacks only have to happen once? He sent me for several tests.

A couple of weeks ago I had an Evoked Potential test. I believe this is to test the pathways from the brain to various nerves. I had electrodes placed on my head, arms, legs and back. I then had a little electric shock thingy placed first on each ankle, then each wrist. It sent little electric pulses into the nerves until my toes (thumbs) started moving. It was painless but took about an hour.

On Monday of this week I had an EEG done. When I got there the nurse started parting my hair and marking my scalp where the electrodes would go. It was actually quite relaxing. Once the electrodes were placed (about 20) with a large amount of adhesive, I had to lie down and be still.

She had me close my eyes for most of it. A couple times I found myself drifting off. Then she would have me open my eyes and stare at the ceiling. Then my arm went to sleep and I tried not to move.

Next I was told to breathe rapidly for 3 minutes. She said I may feel dizzy or lightheaded, but not to stop. Great more dizziness, just what I need.

The last part of the test, she had me close my eyes and flashed strobe lights at me - just a bleep ... bleep at first, then a faster bleep, bleep, bleep then finally a seizure-inducing bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep!!!

I was lying down for about 20 minutes. She had me sit up - "careful, you may be dizzy". Ya think?!

Then she started removing all the electrodes and finally said ok you can go. I stand up and look in the conveniently placed mirror and gasp! My hair is going in more directions than I can count! Good thing I remembered my comb - not that it helped much with the amount of adhesive I had in there. She told me to wash it out sooner rather than later as it would harden - great. I called DH to come pick my up ASAP and tried not to be to conspicuous as I waited for him.

This morning, I had an MRI. An MRI is a tube that they stuff you in. Did I mention I am a tad claustrophobic? No? Well I am!

I got there early and they took me right in. I had to disrobe all but my underwear & socks and put on a gown. I was then taken to the machine - had to lie down, place my head in the little formed pillow. I asked for a cloth to cover my eyes so that I wouldn't inadvertently open my eyes and see how close the walls of the tube were.

The gave me headphones to muffle the sound. And then they placed the cage thingy over my head - I didn't actually see this until I left, just felt them snap it in place. They also gave me a pillow for under my knees. It was pretty comfortable. Oh they also give you a panic button, in case you need to contact them - I'm not sure if that made me feel better or not.

Then they moved me into the tube. My hands were resting on my chest, my elbows skimmed the walls of the MRI freaking me out a bit. Then the noise started.

Think of the most obnoxious sounds you can imagine and then amplify them until it is unbearable. I think there were about 7 different sounds. My body started to vibrate, either from nerves or from the sound pulses.

In situations like this I usually count or talk to myself inside my head to make myself calm down. I was unable to focus on my own thoughts, the noise was so loud. I repeatedly tried to count. The last burst of noise came from the top and the bottom and made the table vibrate and scared the bejeezus outta me!

Finally it was over and the table was moving out of the tube. I was in the MRI for a total of 10 minutes. They removed the cage and the cloth and I was able to sit up and then go get dressed. I was actually finished before my scheduled appt at 8:30am.

I finally stopped vibrating about an hour later. While not quite as horrible as I had imagined, I hope to never need an MRI again.

Now my follow-up appt with the "weird brain" Dr isn't until Dec 30th, but I guess if they actually find something they would contact me earlier - at least I would think they would.

If you have read this far, thanks for your patience :)

Below this post is a video of one of the MRI sounds (I couldn't figure out how to add it to this post). Turn the volume of your speakers WAY up and it may be close to the real thing :) Enjoy!


Melody said...

I hate MRIs too. When I had mine, they left me in there for about 30 minutes (I know because I counted the songs) while they consulted with the doctor on the images. It was horrible.

I hope they find nothing serious, but I do hope they find the problem so you can get it fixed.

Gill - That British Woman said...

they sound as though they are looking for seizure activity, as our son went through that series of tests and yes his hair was a mess too. Ds used to fall asleep when he was having the EEG.

Ds took his own music for them to play when he had his MRI, quite strange hearing all this way out music in the room!!

Ds doctor was also a weirdo, called Dr. Best who had some type of seizures all the time, a weird little bunny!!!