I saw my neurologist last week. I have a new doctor, since my former brain tamer packed up and went off to Joplin. I might have gotten off with a renewed prescription for my medication, had a not asked, “Can you tell me why my sense of smell is so messed up?”
She stopped in her tracks. Game changer. More questions. More history to be taken. Yes, I smell smoke when nothing is burning. I love watermelon, but I have to smear scented cream all over my nose so I can eat it and not be deterred by the horrible smell. I opened a can of chili that smelled like mold. Canned salmon smells musty. Ick!
She ordered an MRI and an EEG…not just your plain old garden-variety EEG, but a sleep-deprived EEG. According to the instructions, this means I’m not supposed to sleep the night before.
Sleep-deprivation is a big seizure trigger, so I guess this means they want me to come in full seizure mode. Oh, fun. At least I don’t have tonic-clonic seizures (convulsions). I have temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), which has its own set of fun activities–like hallucinations. (Not all hallucinations are of the visual kind–they can also be distortions of smell, sound and feel. Mine stink–in more ways than one.)
I have to stay awake all night the night before so I’ll sleep during the test. I’m going to lie on a hard table with electrodes attached to my scalp and go to sleep. Oh, fun.
Did I mention that there’s a No Caffeine restriction for that night before? I don’t like coffee, so that’s no problem. I can skip tea for a night. But no chocolate? That’s cruel and unusual punishment!
One patient suggested baking that night to stay awake. That would do the trick for me. Setting the kitchen on fire would keep everyone in the building awake all night!
My friend Carolyn suggested sitting up. That won’t work. That’s how I nap. Upright, leaning back against the couch. It’s much more comfortable than it sounds.
According to the instructions, this is what I can expect:
- You relax in a comfortable position with your eyes closed during the test. At various times, the technician may ask you to open and close your eyes, perform a few simple calculations, read a paragraph, look at a picture, breathe deeply (hyperventilate) for a few minutes, or look at a flashing light.
And I’m supposed to sleep? Isn’t this all a bit contradictory?
Also in the instructions: Be sure to eat a good meal before the EEG. I can get on board with that. Can we stop at IHOP en route?
- Video is frequently recorded during the EEG. Your body motions are captured by a video camera while the EEG simultaneously records your brain waves. This combined recording may help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition.
Does this mean it will be posted on YouTube?
And after all of this, I get to have an MRI. An OPEN MRI. No way would they get me to stick around for the other kind….