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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Of Electrodes, Energy, and Exhibits

Today was not one of those days that I would put in the folder of 'top days', but it doesn't hit the 'worst-est days ever' folder either. I suppose it sits somewhere inbetween 'tolerable' and 'less tolerable' in the file marker 'procedures of annoyance'.

You know it is not going to be a good day when you are woken up extraordinarily early and then arrive at a hospital, still half asleep, and wonder why you're there. An EEG isn't exactly the most painful, or annoying or most anything sort of test. An EEG which stands for electroencephalogram is a test that records the electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells create tiny electrical impulses for communicating with each other. The EEG picks up these impulses through tiny wires (electrodes) placed on your scalp. The impulses are amplified and digitally recorded by a computer. The recordings look like wavy lines (sometimes called brain waves). An EEG may be done when you are awake, asleep, or both.

An EEG is usually done to see if a person is having seizures, and if so, what type of seizures they are. The EEG can also look for changes in brain activity caused by head injury, tumor, infection, or other problems that affect the brain.

Basically,they request that you arrive sleep deprived for the study (to ensure maximum grumpiness :P) before asking you a bunch of questions and then (oh we are getting to the good part) attach a bunch of little metal...well, spoon, to your head with a gel like substance. I say spoons somewhat doubtfully, because they only vaguely look like spoons; sort of discs attached to little wires...and I haven't seen them to remember them since my last EEG, age 7. After all of that fun and games, they THEN ask you, kindly, to please fall alseep, and try to ignore the camera about 2 feet away, and the technician, busily tapping on keys and watching you, as you try and fall alseep. Oh and did i forget to mention the lights are left on. The concept of an 'insomniac' is a little too Greek (or Latin?) for some to understand, because the term means, and I quote from the great Merriam Webster Online Medical Dictionary:

Exhibit A:

Main Entry: in·som·nia
Function: noun
: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep -- called also agrypnia

Lets pause a second here to re-examine Exhibit A, as seen above. Notice the use of the words 'prolonged' and 'inability' and 'sleep'. I do not find this definition hard to understand. In fact, the way I see it, judging from this definition, I think that, in fact, it would be quite impossible for someone with this sort of disorder (Insomnia; if you didn't remember that like me, see Exhibit A) would NOT be able to sleep on command, especially if issues of 'paranoia', 'hallucination', 'anxiety', and 'memory problems' enter into the equation. I have, thus, logically deduced that this EEG, if in fact performed, would be a complete and utter disaster.

If I can reason that out with half a brain...what were they thinking? I could have predicted the outcome of such a test. Rest assured that I was correct in my original assumption.

Ironically, I'm tired now.


  1. oh man nicole! those hospitals are kept busy because of you! the government should thank you for supporting our health care system, it seems like you're keeping them busy!

    hey VGH has a new trauma ward! sorry, random but true.

    well at least they're taking care of you. and i hope you'll be coming back to school soon!