Monday, November 3, 2008

EEG; interesting experience.

I had my EEG done today. My neuro wants to try to establish the cause of my olfactory hallucinations and bouts of vertigo and nausea. Basically, we're trying to rule out seizures, although as I understand it, if the test results are normal you can't be absolutely sure that the person doesn't have a seizure disorder, it's just less likely. Anyway, here's how it went:

I had to stay up until midnight last night and then get up at 4:00 a.m.. No caffeine, no chocolate, no stimulants of any kind until after the test, because they want you to be able to fall asleep. I had to wash my hair, but was not allowed to put any conditioner or anything else on it. I had a bad hair day, as you can imagine. When I got to the neurologist's exam room, the technician had me lie down, and then she proceeded to sand down about 25 places on my scalp and cheeks with pumice and paste down an electrode in each spot. That's why they wanted my hair and scalp clean; the electrodes stick better. Then she had me open and close my eyes per her directions for a while. I was then asked to close my eyes and hyperventilate for 3 minutes. 3 minutes sure seems like a long time when you're panting like a dog and your fingers are starting to go numb! Thankfully, I was then allowed to go to sleep. I was so tired, I fell asleep immediately, though I kept getting startled awake by loud noises in the hall. Finally, it was all over, and the tech removed the electrodes and did her best to scrub away most of the sticky paste in my hair. I sure looked a fright! I guess I'll wash my hair when I get home, if I can stay awake that long!

As I understand it, the sleep deprivation and the hyperventilation are both meant to induce seizures. Sometimes, a flashing strobe light is used, too, though they didn't do that with me. The idea is that if you're going to have a seizure, they want to see it on the EEG. I guess that they want you to go to sleep so they can see what your brain is doing in that state and make sure that it's normal.

I'm looking forward to getting the results of this test. I bet it will be as normal as can be. That will mean that I probably don't have a seizure disorder, and my little problems are all caused by migraines (all the non-Parkinson problems that is).

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.