A trip to the neurophysiology department

August 17, 2009

Last week I had an EEG (electroencephalogram) which is a test that detects abnormalities in the electrical activity of the brain. It is the first step in trying to work out the cause of my olfactory hallucinations. If it is due to seizures, it will show up in this test, and seizures mean I might have to go back on anti-convulsants, which I DO NOT want to do. I categorically hate drugs and how they make me feel.

It’s a bizarre test, that doesn’t hurt or have any side effects but it’s boring and time consuming. When lying on a bed, the technician applied 30 electrodes to my head using a huge amount of goopy paste to make them stick. They were all through my scalp, on my forehead and temples, and under my chin. I wanted to take a picture of myself but she woudn’t let me as it is against hospital policy. It would have made for an excellent photo!

During the test you just lie there, and follow instructions to open your eyes, close your eyes, open your eyes, close your eyes, open your eyes, concentrate on a spot on the wall… thrilling I know. Then while your eyes are closed they flash lights at you at an ever increasing rate. This was the most uncomfortable part of the test as normally you would be able to cover your eyes or look away, instead you have to lie motionless and endure. The technician then turned off all the lights and I had to lie there for an exorbitant amount of time – motionless and with with my eyes closed. It was maybe 20 minutes, but could equally have been just 10, all I know was that my head started to itch and I couldn’t do anything about it!

I get the results at the end of October when I next see my neurologist again. Fingers crossed – even though I don’t believe in this, what’d done is done and it’s not in my control to change it.

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2 Responses to “A trip to the neurophysiology department”

  1. smashedpea Says:

    Oh, I hope they figure this one out and it all works out for you! Personally, I don’t find it that hard to live without smell – but I think if it were unexplained, it’d drive me bonkers and I’d constantly be looking for some way to get it back.

    Even if it turns out to be gone, I hope you’ll at least get an answer.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Hi,
    I had an olfactory groove meningioma removed one 12/1/09. About a month or so ago I noticed a distinct smell that seemed to permeate my house. Or so i thought. Then I noticed the smell in my car and soon after was smelling something at work. It was always the same smell, and not a pleasant one at that. I really don’t know how to describe it as other than a metallic, chemical like smell and taste. I feel like I am going crazy. I asked a co-worker if they thought they could smell something also, unfortunately they could not smell anything.

    It’s terrible, to the point where I cannot eat if I “smell” this odor. Sometimes I feel like food tastes like the mysterious odor that sometimes manifests. I am sure you can commiserate with all of the diagnostic and aftercare appointments associated with a craniotomy. I sometimes feel like I just don’t have the energy to pursue diagnosis and treatment of a smelling disorder, if that is what i have. I have my 3 month MRI tomorrow, maybe I will talk to my neurosurgeon about this next week when we discuss my mri. I kinda feel like he will think I am crazy, but after reading more about these odor disorders I feel a little less “like I am going crazy”!

    I was also on dilantin and actually have a re-fill of this that i just picked up recently. It is so weird how this odor thing came on a month to month and a half post-op. Is that normal?

    I am also wondering how long it will take to get 100% feeling/sensation back on my head. Thanks for posting the pics, also. Looks just like my operation, only my incision was a tad longer and on the other side of my head.

    I hope you have recovered fully! i havent read all of your blog just yet.


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