If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning, you know that I’ve used a Wizard of Oz analogy as a running theme to describe my experiences of the last two years. So….early this morning, as Dorothy headed west across the 520 bridge, she was once again grateful for a glorious view of the Emerald City…with the beautiful Olympic mountains in the background. If you find yourself on a journey, and on your way to meet yet another wizard, I can’t think of a better place to do it than Seattle. I LOVE living here….even on a cold and frosty, 11 degree morning!
I had an appointment first thing this morning with a new neurologist at the University of Washington Medical Center. Accompanied by my husband and my dad, I met first with a resident and went over my history and was then introduced to Dr. Holmes. He agreed with the testing and treatment that I’d had thus far with a few exceptions. Dr. Holmes seemed particularly interested in the partial seizure events in which I’d experienced strobing vision, in particular, the one that I’d had during last June’s Livestrong Challenge when the strobing vision was accompanied by strobing thoughts. He seemed to take a greater interest in these events than Dr. Heide had. He also asked if I’d had an EEG and, when I said that I had not, he suggested that it might be a good idea. Dr. Heide had suggested this at our visit last week but what he had suggested involved a 3 – 5 day hospital stay. Dr. Holmes test would last just two hours. “If you have the time, I’ll see if we can fit you in today” he said. “Sure!” I said….excitedly. LOL! ( in my next life, if I don’t come back as an anesthesiologist, I want to come back as someone who gets to do all these really cool tests and actually see what’s going on…..well, I’ll go off on that later….).
So…..Dr. Holmes felt that my current meds were good (we may increase them, we may try something else but for now….we’re good). I’ll do another MRI and have a follow up appointment sometime early next year. For today, though….I got to do a new test…an EEG at 12:30! Oh Boy! I haven’t done one of those before! Seriously….I get far too fascinated about doing new tests and learning what they’re all about.
After a quick lunch in the cafeteria with dad (herbal tea and gerbil food) we’re off to the EEG lab. I chat with the technician (more medical history regurgitation) and she explains the procedure to me. She carefully measures and marks my head, exfoliates each of 29 locations and affixes electrodes to each of the spots on my skull. Several of the electrodes are taped in place and then gauze is wrapped around my skull to keep everything in place. I’m asked to lie on my right side while the tech goes into the next room which is separated from me by a glass window. Several cameras monitor me and the test begins. For several minutes I breathe normally and the tech types notes on her computer. Then I have my first test:
“Beginning with the letter A, go through the alphabet and name places”….
“OH NO!” “Oh this is terrible” “I know this doesn’t start with an “F” but it’s stuck in my brain and I can’t get rid of it and think of anything else. Oh for Pete’s sake! Seriously, I KNOW this doesn’t start with an “F” but the only thing I can think of is….
“Phoenix” “Sigh”…..laughter from the other room. “That’s ok, go on to G.”
“Thank You! Ghana”
“OK” says the voice “That concludes that part of the test. You did well. Just relax for a few minutes.”
The next part of the test involved napping or meditating for 20 minutes. Piece of cake. I did have an episode of rapid heart rate at the end of this time and I heard fingers clicking away on the keyboard as this happened.
Next, roll on my back and rest for three minutes before beginning the next test, hyperventilating for three minutes…..well, that was fun! 😦 My gut felt goofy after that and I was a bit dizzy.
I rested another three minutes before my final test, the one that I was most curious about, the strobe light test. I know that I’m photosensitive and that one of my seizure triggers might be light. I hate fluorescent lighting…..we have fluorescent lighting in our kitchen and I prefer to cook in the dark rather than turn those lights on! When I had my very first grand mal seizure in Las Vegas in 2005, it was suggested by the EMT’s that one of the triggers that they frequently encounter is the flickering lights of the strip. I’ve also been affected by dappled sunlight through trees and other sudden changes from light to dark. So….I was very curious to see if anything would show up during the strobe test. A strobe light was placed above my eyes and I was asked to look into the light for a second or two and then close my eyes while the light continued for a few more seconds. This was done at half a dozen or more speeds (sorry….it’s been a long time since I’ve used my college physics) and when the test was done, I asked the tech if she had seen anything. “We’re not allowed to say” she said…which, of course, I knew she would say but I thought I’d give it a try. I explained my particular interest in this portion of the test and she ran a few more tests with the strobe…..and the test was done. The tech came out to the room that I was in but this time, instead of turning on the fluorescent lights directly over my head, she used the light coming through the window of the adjoining room to remove the equipment and clean my head. Whether she saw something or not, I’m not sure, but I appreciated not having to look up into those fluorescent lights again. She told me that it would take 48 hours for the doctor to get my results and that I should follow up with a phone call if I don’t hear from them by Monday.
That’s all for now. It was a long and interesting day. I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep! 🙂