Saturday, January 09, 2016


Barb Polan
Barb's Recovery
Posted 31st July 2010

On Thursday, I had the new experience of having an EEG. despite the trouble in my brain since last November, I had not yet undergone the test before.

One state that the neurologists wanted to see my brain waves during was sleep, so to ensure that I would sleep during at least a portion of the test, the asked that I go to bed as usual the night before and then wake up at midnight and stay awake until showing up for the test at 5:30 a.m. To do so, Tom set the alarm for midnight, I got up and sat in the recliner reading until it was time to get ready - 4 o'clock.

Since getting my iPad, I have refrained from using it in the evening because reportedly the display makes your brain so active it interferes with subsequent attempts to sleep - so it seemed like the perfect tool to help me stay awake from midnight to 4 - and I managed to stay awake.

The test was done on the 6th floor of Beverly Hospital by a technician named Lisa. She was wonderful - very friendly and chatty. The test was done with me in a recliner and she t old me t hat it made no difference whether I fell asleep or not, that my brain waves whiile I was drowsy were good enough - meaning that she took off all pressure to fall asleep, which probably made me more likely to fall asleep than if I had been worrying about having to fall asleep.

In my sleep- deprived state, I was perfectly happy to lie back in the recliner and let her make crayon marks scattered across my scalp and then scrub the different spots with a grapefruit-scented scrub. since I could not see what Lisa was doing, I assume she then attached electrodes to the scrubbed spots before starting the recording.

The test was organized into different phases - each about ten minutes long - with different instructions, like to keep my eyes closed. At one point Lisa covered my eyes with a pad because my closed eyes were still blinking and that interfered with the test. That reminded me of my maternal grandmother, who could always tell when I faked sleep by the fact that one's eyes continue to blink until one is truly asleep, so I learned how to press my eyelids closed when she would come to check on me those nights I stayed overnight at her house and just could not get to sleep. Lisa didn't know, though, that I had that skill, so she opted for using a pad strapped across my closed eyes.

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