As I've mentioned before, I have been dealing with a weird nervous system issue for most of my life, but getting worse in the last 3 years.

Last September, I had an EMG, which is short for ElectroMyoGram. It's a procedure in which neurologists can evaluate nerve health and (hopefully) form a diagnosis. In this procedure, based on my experience, a technician will apply sticky electrodes to your skin, much like a TENS unit. Then, they will use some sort of a probe that is connected to the same system those electrodes are. Gradually increasing the current, they will apply a shock and read how quickly it travels up the nerve and how much attenuation (signal loss) there is. After that, a doctor will come in and do almost the same thing, but this time the probe is replaced by a needle that is inserted into the flesh at the site of the nerve. They will then apply a small current to it, much like the technician did, but will move around until they have found the nerve. In order to verify that they found the nerve, they might watch a monitor or listen to the signal in an amplified audio form. Once the signal has been found, the doctor will instruct you to activate the muscle in a certain way, and will read the signals that come naturally. The results of all of this poking and shocking are recorded in a digital form, and will be sent to the doctor who ordered the test.

In my case, at least today, the shocking phase wasn't too bad. What was unpleasant was when the doctor had me activate the muscles with a needle in the nerve. I remember that being unpleasant last time, but this time it was more than unpleasant. In addition to the basics of that part of the test, the doctor also worked hard to trigger a cramp in my foot so she could read what was going on. I remember last time I was uncomfortable after, but this time It was almost enough to keep me from driving home.

When I got home I took some medicine to try and calm the pain down, and it's done a good job of that. However, my ability to focus and problem solve is gone, and I'm ready to fall asleep. Back to that lyric I quoted before: the medication just numbs the brain.

The doctor today seemed very happy with the results. Not necessarily in the sense that it was a good report, but that it was a very useful report. I'm hoping so, because I don't really want to have to go through another test like that any time soon.

EMG Testing Room
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