…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Thursday, June 01, 2006

do try this at home

I look spectacularly silly right now. Like I’ve been made up—by grade-schoolers—to play a character with a massive head injury in a school play. I’m not sure what kind of elementary school pageant would call for a character with a massive head injury. Maybe I’m playing a Sikh.

I’m in the midst of my continuous EEG, which, thank Jesus, is being conducted in the comfort of my home. It turns out Kaiser has a “to go” option, so I went in yesterday afternoon to get wired up by a bubbly tech we’ll call “Misty.”

Misty knows lesbians! She told me about them after I used the word “partner” and the pronoun “she” in the same sentence. From then on much of what I had to say drew inevitable comparisons to Misty’s lesbian neighbors, with whom I didn’t feel much simpatico, at least from what Misty had to say about them.

I liked Misty, even though we didn't seem to share much common-ground acreage ourselves. When she asked me what I had done over the Memorial Day weekend I told her that I had seen the Al Gore movie.

“Oh, yeah, how was that?” she asked, marking my scalp for electrode placement.

“Not exactly the feel-good hit of the summer, but definitely worth seeing,” I said. “You know, if you don’t mind adding global warming to your list of worries.”

“It’s a different world out there now, isn’t it,” she said, shaking her head.

Actually, the primary point of the film is that we are and always have been our own worst enemies, that our boogeymen du jour merely divert attention from our ongoing self-destruction. But I wasn’t sure I needed to have a potentially distracting conversation with someone who was now attaching electrodes to my head. (See, I’m already failing to live up to my responsibility—articulated during the end credits of the film—to talk to everyone I know about the immediate dangers of global warming. I suck.)

When I say she was “attaching” electrodes to my head, I’m talking about capital-A Attachment. For my first EEG I had some putty-like stuff on my scalp, but this time Misty was adding a layer of adhesive—after assuring me that my hair wouldn’t be ripped out during removal—that smelled like model cement and made my eyes burn.

“Do you ever worry that you’re doing permanent damage to yourself by working with that stuff all day?” I asked.

“I kinda do,” she said casually. “I’ve read reports that claim it’s totally safe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not. I don’t think you need to worry about one application, though.”

“Oh, I’m not worried about myself,” I insisted. “But you don’t want to become one of your own patients.”

“That’s for sure,” she said. (Hey!) “Close your eyes for a minute while I do the front ones.”

She didn’t need to tell me twice. I shut my eyes tight. “Of course, if you look at it another way, you get to huff on the job,” I joked, inhaling a little myself.

When I said I smelled like a nail salon Misty said, “No joke. They used to use acetone to get it off, so if I leave any glue behind tomorrow, you can totally use nail polish remover to clean yourself up.”

Ah, the low-tech fix.

After about an hour of placing electrodes and shellacking my scalp, Misty said it was time to wrap me up. As she winched gauze tightly around my head I told her that when Jayne Brooke was having a continuous EEG on Grey’s Anatomy she got to wear a stylish black skullcap over her electrodes. Misty snorted in response and added more gauze.

It’s now T minus 30 minutes to removal, or at least my ride to removal. My partner had to attend commencement today, leaving me mighty afeard I might have to ride the bus to the hospital, but my friend S generously offered to take the afternoon off work to give me a ride. I’m not sure I can express how very grateful I am for this, both because it’s just plain nice to be treated with such kindness and because I was having visions of my freaky self on the bus with my head full of electrodes and gauze, looking for all the world like a patient gone AWOL—you know, blending with my fellow passengers.

So I’m off to see Misty, and when I return I’ll no longer look like a post-op neurosurgery patient. And I'll no longer have to carry around my bulky brain-wave recorder. And I can take a shower! All good things.


Blogger sporksforall said...

See, I want to see the play where you're a Sikh with a brain injury who comes back as a mummy. Sounds like a laugh riot. Not that I'll look any less silly today (100F in the SFV) in my puffy hat and robe, all heavy and silly. I'll be glad to see the regular top of your head when I get home tonight...

3:17 PM  
Blogger Slangred said...

Your body, electric.
I thought it looked best with just the electrodes showing, strewn about your head. The only problem with that is that all the wires pulled together and wrapped at the back sort of looked like a mini-bundle of dynamite, with a detonator around your waist. If you had got on a train or a bus looking like that, you would certainly have commanded attention, but it would have involved law enforcement. You could have explained it was just your coninuous EEG and that you were kickin' it double-banana style, but they might have wanted a little more proof.

7:52 AM  
Blogger treecup said...

Ooh, Slangred's description makes you sound like the Borg Queen. She was hot! Remember that!

11:02 AM  

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