markgritter's pokin' hand was more symbolic than anything: I stayed awake down to the neurologist's and even while sitting in the lobby waiting. I tried not to stare balefully at everyone who came from the back of the clinic. The woman who ran the test needed to ask me some standard questions like which hand was my dominant one and who was my primary care physician. Okay, sure. She also asked me questions about what I did and how I'd gotten there, and I wasn't sure whether that was part of the test or just her trying to be friendly, but I think I was more brusque than I generally am. When she started on the, "So...nuclear physics...and writing...?" path, I said, without opening my eyes, "I like to make things make sense to people." Is that it? I'm not sure it is. But after 29 hours awake, it seemed like the answer, and it was certainly an answer that cut the conversation off.
So having the electrodes on one's head: it feels just like it looks. Mostly cold and slightly gelatinous on the contact points. Also it's a little strange and '80s having the person apparently rat one's hair to get the right spots on the skull.
She made me look at various speeds of flashing light, which nauseated me, and then she made me hyperventilate, which also nauseated me, but at that point, sitting very still might have nauseated me, I don't know. And then she had me fall asleep a little, and then she woke me up again. And then it was time to pull the contacts off my head, get the preliminary gunk out of my hair, and go home.
My advice to anyone doing this is to figure out what you're going to have for lunch after the test well in advance, because your brain will not necessarily be up to doing it when you get back. Especially if you already used up some of the easier options of what snacks to eat at midnight and 3 a.m. You don't want to have difficulty going to sleep because your body has to decide between sleep and food.
I have no idea what my brain did for her, and I won't find out until two weeks from today. But at least it's over in the immediate sense. I really, really want to thank all of you who called or e-mailed and all of you who volunteered to be available. Enough people called me that I only had time to call one person on my own, and that got cut off by another call. So. I am feeling well cared-for. A little overwhelmed by how much, actually. You-all are Heroes of the Revolution, even if I don't actually have the caramel-filled chocolate medals to prove it. I know that for some of you, staying awake nearly 31 hours is not any kind of big deal, but that's not the flavor of body I got. It was a big deal for me, and you people made it possible for me to do this necessary medical thing. So thanks.