Sunday, January 21, 2007

Frankenstein's girl...

Just in case there are any hypochondriacs out there, or just people interested in medical procedures, I thought I'd mention my
EMG test.

Last Thursday I had the test. It was, shall we say, interesting.

It involves electrodes. It involves needles. It involves shooting electricity into your body and oh my goodness who doesn't enjoy that?

Naturally I looked this up on the 'net before test day - and naturally I wished I hadn't done so! I have been afraid of any sort of combination of "medical" and "electrical" since I first saw THE SNAKE PIT, starring the ever-beautiful and delightful Olivia de Havilland. That and knowing several people who had ECT when I was a child (back when electroshock therapy was de rigueur for any and all emotional problems... god save us from the dark ages!) gave me such wiggins I can't tell you! So I was not at all happy about needing this test. But I'm even less happy about having a constant tingling and numbness running up my entire left arm and side... so I tried to remain calm and deal with the test. I'm a grown woman... I decided to be brave... and simply run screaming at the first sign of pain.

Actually this test did not hurt... well, not entirely. I have a really high pain threshold so I can take quite a lot of pain before I start crying so I may not be the best judge, but for the most part it just felt kinda weird.

After they hook you up with the conductor tapes and electrodes, they take what looks like a tv remote with prongs (like an electrical outlet) and zap various parts (in my case they went up and down both arms - since my tingling is in my arm). When they zapped my arm my fingers would twitch - completely involuntarily. I found this endlessly amusing. It looked all the world like a Frankenstein movie. "LIFE... LIFE!!!!" There's my hand just twitching and bopping on it's own. Cra-zeeeee! After the first jolt I knew what to expect so since it didn't actually hurt I was able to enjoy the weirdness of the experience.

The second part of the test is less fun, though there is still an interesting aspect to it.

In the second part of the test they use a needle. Uh... yeah. Ready to run? I was! It's maybe 7" long and very thin (not quite so thin as an acupuncture needle, but not as thick as a syringe). this needle is hooked up to the same electrical mechanism but instead of zapping you with the remote, they jab you with the needle. It goes into various muscles (by various I mean ALL the muscles in my arm) and they kind of swish it around in there getting radio-signals on a display monitor. It actually makes static sounds and as they twist the needle around (and yes, that's the part that hurt) the machine sounds like a radio being tuned. I was waiting to pick up the Howard Stern show... but I guess the machine is just straight am/fm not satellite. Ah well.

Since the tests showed no damage to the nerves in my arm(s) this means I do NOT have carpal tunnel syndrome. *sigh* I never thought I did, but doctors aren't big on listening to what patients have to say. What the test did indicate is that there might be some issue with a nerve in my neck.

Know what that means?

That's right.

The needle went into my neck.

THIS was easily the worst part.

Doctor: Put your chin to your chest and relax.

Joy thinks
: Right, exactly how am I suppose to relax when I KNOW you are going to jab a NEEDLE into my Freakin' NECK?!!!

Joy says: Okay!

So in goes the needle. My chin is digging into my chest and she continues to tell me to Put your chin to your chest and relax.

Joy thinks: How far into my chest would you like me to put my chin??? I have a bruise now!!

Ah bitch and moan, that's me.

So after the needle-neck fun is over they tell me I might have pinched nerve in my neck. I have to have an MRI to determine if that's the case.

Yeah. I don't actually think that's what it is... but it's a better alternative to what I do think it is. There are times I'd prefer to be wrong. I'm good with being wrong here. I'd actually be great with being wrong here.

We'll see.

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