So, after a very pleasant Friday lunch special at Sotto Voce with Diesel (try the fusilli with four cheese cream sauce and chopped walnuts — delicious), we headed a block south to our home from home at Methodist Hospital (The Presbyterian Church of Wales, M.C. Escher, etc.) for me to get fitted up with my ambulatory EEG. Actually, the last time Escher was mentioned in these parts was in relation to our last visit to the social security offices in Brooklyn. Nevertheless, Methodist has a similar Ascending and Descending vibe after you pass through the patients’ and visitors’ entrance to the main building. Beth noted that this is probably directly related to the fact that the hospital is built on a (park) slope. And, unlike at the broo, the approach seems to be deliberate.
on the broo – Phrs. Unemployed, claiming unemployment benefits. Also ‘on the burroo’. [Scottish use]
— Ted Duckworth (@slangdictionary) August 25, 2011
I’m always quite struck by the look of the lobby. It’s not that I like it, but I like that the person who designed it seemed to be having a blast. And that appeals to the frustrated architect in me.
Architecture students are like virgins
with an itch they cannot scratch,
Never build a building till you’re 50
what kind of life is that?
Pavement, The Hexx
After all this time, explorations of infinity and architecture be damned, Beth is a whiz at find her way around Methodist, so we promptly wheeled into the epilepsy unit for my appointment. Fairly promptly, I was invited into a treatment room by my technician, Isabella, and the conversion process began with a head measurement. As Isabella mentioned various numbers (60… 60… 36…) while carefully measuring from the bridge of my nose to the ridge at the back of the top of my skull, from ear to ear, and so on, I made one of the traditional cracks about the size of my huge, Scottish head. “I’m an inverse Weeble: when I fall down, I can’t get up,” or something similar. She demurred: “It’s perfect.” I briefly conjured fantasies of the numbers describing some perfectly proportioned vitruvian skull that would leave women all over the borough swooning, but she simply meant that I was, somehow, the right size and shape for the EEG wires. God knows how, given that the folks at the Motorcycle Safety School set me up with a XXL helmet.
Other options, with apologies to Mike Myers:
- That boy’s head is like Sputnik.
- I’m not kidding, it’s like an orange on a toothpick.
- Well, that’s a huge noggin. That’s a virtual planetoid.
- Has it’s own weather system.
- He’ll be crying himself to sleep tonight, on his huge pillow.
The process continued, with what like felt like various guide marks being scribbled on my head, and the application of the adhesive and the sensors. At this point, there was some discussion regarding the opening of the window. The adhesive was stinking, like nail polish remover, but as a child of 1980s Scotland, I was all for advocating that the window be closed tight and the cracks stuffed with towels. To no avail.
Eventually, 20 wires were sticking into the little wireless box that I’ve been carrying around since Friday afternoon. I was told to close my eyes while I was subjected to bright flashing lights, to check that the receiver was registering whatever voltage fluctuations resulted. I don’t know the degree to which the EEG reflects what is going on in the brain, but at this point, mine was screaming, “Make some fahking noise!” and…
Since then, it’s been a fairly normal weekend. I mean, notwithstanding the fact that the EEG isn’t entirely ambulatory, and you wouldn’t want to wear the gear in a factory.
More positively, the apparatus plugs into (ha!) my interest in sci-fi body horror. The wireless receiver comes with a jaunty wee shoulder bag, and wearing a woolie beanie all of this summery weekend has probably marked me out as a Brooklyn hipster, rather than a neurology patient. I was warned that the bandages would feel tight, but would loosen off as the weekend progressed. This was true too, but as we reach the end of the… experiment… I have to say that the set-up is quite literally nipping ma heid. And that adhesive? On day one, I noticed a nasty little pain behind my right ear that turned out to be a broken little blister. So, I’m glad I didn’t huff too much of that stuff.
I’m hoping that when I get unplugged today, the technician will be able to tell me what I thought about watching all six hours of The Hatfields And The McCoys. ‘Cos I don’t really know. But as I mentioned to friends this weekend, “If the moral is that all this feuding and killing is pointless, what does it say about watching all this feuding and killing?”