Thursday, December 3, 2009

ECOG and ENG, the New Waterboarding!

So, I had some tests done to try to determine why I had the episodes of vertigo a few weeks ago.  I am firmly convinced these tests were invented in Guantanamo Bay!

The first test, Transtympanic Electrocochleography, or ECOG for short, tests for Meniere's disease by playing loud clicks for about 15 minutes separately in each ear and measuring the brain's response through an electrode on the forehead.  After it was over, I told the doctor I would give her my mother's maiden name, my social security number, all my passwords...whatever she wanted...just!

I thought it couldn't get any worse, but I was wrong.

The Electronystagmography, or ENG, test started out fairly easy.  I had to wear a really tight pair of goggles that had an infrared camera in them that photographed my eye movements.  There was a bar on the wall where a red dot was displayed and all I had to do was follow the dot with my eyes without moving my head.  After several exercises horizontally, I had to do some vertically as well.  Then the fun really began!  The goggles were closed so I was in complete darkness and cold air was blown first into my right ear and then into the left to force me to get dizzy.  The camera tracked my eye movements bouncing back and forth.  After the cold air came the hot air.  I was sure I was getting brain damage from the heat!  It was quite uncomfortable.  In between each test, the doctor had me name things that began with A, then with B, etc to try to help me get past the dizziness.  What fun!  I'm fairly sure they used this test during the Spanish Inquisition...

And, the bottom line:  Nothing appears to be wrong with my inner ear.  The tests were negative for Meniere's disease and my nystagmus (the involuntary movement of the eyes side to side) was normal.  This doesn't mean I don't have Meniere's, though.  The doctor says if I have more vertigo, we will do an MRI and get a neurologist involved.  The only little problem I have right now is a slight loss of hearing in the right ear at one of the middle frequencies, which is a little odd.  Usually, it is the higher ranges that go first.  I'm convinced it must be the exact frequency of my husband's voice that has gone...that's my story, any way, and I'm sticking to it!


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