Monday, 21 November 2016

The Worst Week Of My Life - Day 4

I've heard war described as hours and hours of boredom followed by moments of incredible terror and panic. I wouldn't go that far, but Wednesday, November 21, 2012 had that kind of feel to it. Boredom, nothing to do. Then the worst kinds of tests you could ever imagine. Then more boredom. Thank goodness I managed to get Dion to smuggle in a bottle of Scotch for me.

Most of Wednesday morning was spent laying around doing nothing. The Neurology team was trying to get me in for Nerve Conductivity tests and an EMG. They were waiting for a specialist, a Senior Neurologist, to be available for the tests. Unfortunately that was not to be. Instead they ended up with a very qualified technician, but it meant the results would have to be interpreted by the resident Neurologist. It's not a real issue, but I have figured out over time is that they wanted an ALS Neurologist to do the test, not a regular Neurologist.

That would have to wait until Friday morning. For Wednesday, the technician would have to torture me. Torture is what I mean. This is not joke. For the Nerve Conductivity Test, they attach nodes to the top and bottom of the nerve range in question. For me, this meant electrical nodes on my thighs and ankles. Then, nodes in place, they shock you from the top to see how long it takes for the electricity to get to the bottom.

These shocks are highly localized. I'm not sure how they do it, but they were shocking my legs. Therefore the muscles in my legs responded, but not the muscles in my arms, at least not directly. The pain from these electrical shocks caused my upper body to tense, but the real action was from my waist down. There my muscles contracted like there was no tomorrow. My legs jumped and cramped, suddenly immobilized by the shock. My rear end sucked up all surrounding sheets in its mad rush to close faster than a retail store at end of day on Christmas Eve. Skid marks? I left a semi-trailer sized set of tracks on those sheets.

Then came the slightly less painful test, but certainly not an enjoyable test; the EMG. The Electromyography test is where they take long needles and stick them into your muscles. These needles, at least the ones I was enjoying, are used stimulate the ends of your motor nerves, to see if they will respond. The needle itself sends a signal to a device which converts the contact to a sound, as well as plotting it on a graph. The technician had to wiggle the needle a bit to find the ends of the respective nerves. This was a very long, skinny needle; shoved into my thigh, being wiggled around to find a nerve ending. I now realized why they wanted a special Neurologist to do this. The technician spent a lot of time wigging that needle, in about 10 different locations.

These tests lasted about a week. Yet when I came out of the shock and scramble of it all, I noticed the clock had only advance by about 90 minutes. I sat up and noticed what my rear end had done to the sheets on the testing cot. I was embarrassed by the stains, so much so that I stripped the bed while nobody was looking and stuffed the sheets into the dirty linens bin. It has since occurred to me that this must happen a lot, that my response to being electrocuted may not have been all that unusual. Regardless, I will never forget that pain.

Once back in my room, nothing happened. I waited. People visited. I looked out the window at the roof of my condo. And, as night fell, I even managed to sneak a glass of Scotch. But I still had no answers.

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