On Monday, I returned to Methodist yet again for the removal of the ambulatory EEG wires. It’s always kinda good to go back, ‘cos everyone’s always very nice, and particularly since I have no memory of the original stay. We walked past the more undercover, apartment building-esque, side of Methodist the other day, and Beth was able to point out my old window and related that the ward had a pretty nice view. It wasted on me, though.
Anyway, Monday’s trip was pretty frustrating. For starters, a visit to Methodist generally seems to leave me feeling a bit gimpier. I guess it’s a result of returning to the in-patient mindset. It didn’t help that is was a grey, dreich day. Furthermore, the orders I had regarding the kit I was wired up to were simple.
- No chewing gum — apparently if I did this, that’s all the EEG would capture for the duration. Oddly, it seems that eating a well-done steak would be fine. Except for it being well-done. And a steak.
- Keep it dry.
The second of these was the problem on Monday morning, as the rain was lashing it down. As I angled my crappy street vendor brolly against the wind and positioned the wireless box with the twenty wires sticking out of it under my jacket, I felt like one of those kids who takes an egg home from school with orders not to break it for a couple of days. (Has anyone ever done that, or is it just a sitcom scenario? And, is there a Modern Seinfeld tweet in there, somewhere?) Things continued downhill from there. I was in possession of one of the free coffee vouchers that Diesel had gotten and bequeathed to us. Amazingly, although the Methodist cafeteria’s usually closed between 8am and 11:30am, from 11:30am to 5:45pm, and again from 6pm to 7:59am, it was open just before my appointment was scheduled. Like a good stroke patient, I happily strolled in and set about finding myself a decaf. No decaf in the hospital with an Institute for Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, natch. I decided to take my life in my hands and redeem my voucher regardless.
By the time I found the epilepsy unit, where they administer the ambulatory EEGs, I’d had quite enough irritation for one day. Then I was called in to begin the removal process. Have you ever visited the dentist for a teeth cleaning, and had the Eastern European (they’re always Eastern European) woman (they’re always women) put her foot up on the arm of the chair so she can really get some leverage on the scaler?
The technician indicated that I should close my eyes, because she was about to apply the “water solution”. I’m clear on what water is, but as I understand it, a solution is a “homogeneous mixture of two or more substances”. We didn’t get into what the other one or more substances that were going to melt my eyeballs might have been.
Apart from a visit to the dental hygienist, the other wonderful experience I was reminded of was having some cheap barber in the New Town of Edinburgh cut my hair as a kid. And by “cut my hair”, I mean “grab onto tufts of hair with his blunt scissors and pull them out”. Now, just as then, it didn’t seem judicious to tell my tormentor what a shitty job she was doing, so I followed the old approach of jerking in pain and taking sharp intakes of breath.
Surprisingly, this didn’t really work, and I ended up with a hole in my head. Which I needed like a… well, you get the idea.
Why this was, I’m not exactly sure. It may be that I’ve got a very mild case of my late mother’s allergy to non-precious metals. (Good one to have, ladies. You can thank me later.) Maybe it was a reaction to the adhesive. Or, most likely, it was a “reaction” to having an electrode amateurishly torn off my forehead.
In due course, we’ll get the results of the EEG. We’ll have a virtual cake-cutting on apoplectic.me when they come out. If the sponge is pink, it’s neurological seizures; if the sponge is blue, it’s hypnic jerks combined with hyper-reflexivity. Stay tuned!
[… Oh, and The Hatfields And The McCoys? Well, the EEG revealed no new insights, but I can tell you that when the families were on Family Feud (for viewers in Scotland, that’s Family Fortunes) in 1979, they competed for cash prizes and a live pig that was kept on stage during the games. It’s complicated, but the McCoys kinda won.]