Happy Friday and what a beautiful morning it is! Today is Friday January 15, 2021. I woke up super early this morning (4:45 am) and could not fall back asleep. I have no doubt why I got up so early. I have an all day appointment at the NeuroScience Clinic at Stanford, beginning at 12:30 pm. Today's menu includes meeting with another psychiatrist, who is going to have me do a variety of tasks to see how I am doing cognitively. Hoop #3.... As mentioned in my last entry, I am in the process of jumping through lots of hoops to get to the finish line.... The DBS. I have to say that it is a little unsettling for me to have to do today's meeting, but I know it is necessary. From what I understand, there will be writing tasks, drawing and memory activities. The memory exercises are always the ones that get me because they have me repeat certain words they say a few times and then expect me to remember them 25 minutes later. I could barely do that before PD! I have booked a ride to get there. But unfortunately, they are picking me up by 9:55 am, so it is going to be a very long day. The appointment itself is a four hour deal.
Well..... I am home now. This was a VERY long afternoon for me. I am glad it is over. I arrived for my appointment two hours early (because of the early pickup time), so I decided to walk across the street to this beautiful outdoor mall. I was very happy to be walking without dragging my right foot and the weather was absolutely perfect. I walked the entire length of the mall (twice) and then sat under a flowering tree and had lunch. I noticed the most beautiful roses blooming so I took a picture (I will share it at the end of this post). Time flies when you are having fun! I walked back over to the clinic and was called pretty quickly after checking in. Before I met with the Dr. who conducted the actual assessments, I met with the head psychiatrist. I was very uncomfortable from the moment we met. There was no warm and fuzziness coming from him, just down to business tactics. He began by asking me if I understood what the DBS would potentially help me with? In other words, what PD symptoms it would help to control. I told him that I was not 100% clear on exactly which symptoms it would squelch, but that I had an idea. He then asked me which symptoms are the most bothersome for me and I mentioned the tremors, slowness and rigidity. I also told him that I understand the DBS is not a cure. He then asked me if I was aware of the risks. To be honest, my neurosurgeon had explained all of this to me previously, but it was a lot to take in. He said that I was correct in that the DBS would help with my physical issues for sure, but would do nothing to help with my cognitive abilities. This is where PD tries its hardest to shine, by potentially destroying your cognitive functioning. These cognitive processes include thinking, making clear and quick decisions, knowing, remembering, judging and problem-solving. There are a slew of other words that envelop cognition, but I do not want to overwhelm you or myself for that matter! Bottom line.... if PD has affected any of my cognitive skills thus far, there is a chance that they will become worse after surgery. A scary thought for sure. So.... this is the reason why I have to have today's battery of assessments. Based on how I do today will determine whether or not I can move forward with the DBS.
After he explained all of this to me, he stepped out for a minute and promptly returned with another psychiatrist. He introduced me to his colleague and then he left. His colleague was also not from the warm and fuzzy school of love, but "beggars cannot be choosy" as they say. Before we started, he did say that each section would start out super easy and then progress in intensity. The first few examples of each activity were very very simple, but then.... Yikes!! The difficulty factor magnified by 100%. We did all kinds of brain teasers. The months of the year backwards, thinking of words that started with certain letters, but no nouns or verbs. There were also pen to paper tasks, where I had to connect dots, with very specific directions. I also did an activity where I needed to draw lines from alphabet letters to numbers between 1 and 26. Sounds easy right? Not when you are being timed and the letters and numbers are splattered everywhere on the paper. Not to mention that every letter and number are the same color (black) and are surrounded by black circles. The hardest activity for me came when he showed me twenty or more pictures of faces with all types of facial expressions and skin colors, and of both kids and adults. Twenty minutes later, we came back to those faces to review what I had already seen. But wait! There is more! He then showed me a series of new faces. Twenty minutes later, we revisited all of the faces and he wanted me to tell him (as he flipped through the images), which faces were from the first group that I originally looked at. 1-800- I Don't Know!! I tried my best but I literally felt like a complete failure when I left his office (three and a half hours later).
While we worked together, I could not put a finger on who he reminded me of. At first, I was thinking Justin Hartley from "This is Us", but with dark hair (he has the same exact haircut that Justin has and is tall and lanky, just like Justin). But that is clearly where the similarities ended for me. I realized late last night who he really reminded me of. An actor whose name escapes me at the moment. This particular actor was on General Hospital for about a year and he played a very evil human being. I also just watched a movie two days ago where he was one of the lead characters. He plays a fabulous bad guy. So, here I was, sitting for hours with a psychiatrist who totally reminded me of an evil criminal! Even his voice was similar to the actor's voice! So...... Now I wait to get the results back from my Dr. I should have the results by Friday. Next up...... Counseling.... Go me!
Here is a picture of the most beautiful pink pastel roses that caught my eye today. Beauty truly is everywhere 🌸