Yesterday at early-o-clock I went into Boston in preparation for my WADA testing. This test (like I explained before…) checks the effects of putting the halves of my brain to sleep each side at a time in preparation for eventual epilepsy surgery to remove a section of brain that is suspect for seizure trigger.
The WADA –
The test begins with an angiogram, a test that examines the flow of a dye through the blood vessels. A thin plastic tube (catheter) is introduced through an artery in the inner portion of the upper thigh. A local anesthetic is given to numb the area, and a needle is then inserted into the artery. The tube is threaded through the needle, and the needle is removed. There is some mild discomfort during the local anesthesia, but the rest of the test is painless. The tube is guided up to the carotid artery in the neck. A small amount of contrast dye is injected through the tube into the artery, and x-rays are taken to study the flow of blood in the brain. Some warmth or flashing lights may be experienced with the injection of the dye. Next, the radiologist injects the amobarbital, which quite literally puts almost half of the cerebral hemisphere to sleep for several minutes.
Immediately after the amobarbital injection, tests are given to see how well language and memory are working with half of the brain sleeping. This provides information on the functions of the cerebral hemisphere that is sleeping and the hemisphere that is awake. The same procedure is usually repeated on the opposite side after a delay to ensure that the patient’s level of alertness has returned to normal.
Soon after reaching the hospital, I got on my fancy headgear (EEG) to measure brain activity and then spent many hours WAITING for the test.
And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Which was fine, because then this happened, while totally awake –
Let me tell you – in everything I read prior to this procedure I was AWARE that I would be awake and functioning during the test. I knew that I would "feel" it. I knew that it was only local anesthetic.
BUT HOLY HELL.
That first part (as shown in the video…) hurt like a bitch. The only way I could describe it, because my outer skin was numbed, and I was totally non-sedated – was a spinal tap. I've had MANY of those. It was the creepiest, crawliest, burniest, leg-crampiest, GET OUT OF MY HIP WITH THAT GOD DAMNED NEEDLE YOU MOTHERFUCKER feeling, EVER.
I cringed, winced, bit my lip, at one juncture there was a tear – and I was told not to move. I have been sick with allergies and was trying NOT to cough because if that NEEDLE MOVED — I was thinking I would knick something and bleed to death. The EEG tech came over after the procedure was over and said that I made him cringe a little, I think he had a camera over my facial expressions.I was not prepared for pain. I was prepared for discomfort. However, it passed as soon as the radiologist got through the hip area and threaded the wires past the bony area of ME. I did not feel any actual pain from the wires/tube after that, I only felt creepy/crawlies from the tiny tube later on.
Once the wire/tube was in place at the brain artery – I was dosed with medications – repeatedly – this doctor explains it very, very well… listen — EXCEPT -
You watched it right? You understand what was *SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN? Brains go to sleeps! Listen to it if you did not. I will wait.
What do you THINK happened because I am BETH and nothing is ever simple? Neurology nurses might know.
That's the next post. I'm waiting on the doctor to call with what we do next because Beth is very special.