Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

Here are parts of the print-outs from having the bone behind my ears zapped two weeks ago. Luke explained it to me today. The image on th eleft of the post shows the response of the left eye. The image on the right side of the post shows the response of the right eye. Each image is composed of three small graphs (going down the screen).

This is the 'torsion' part of the test, ie the ability of my eye/brain/inner ear to follow an extreme jolt to the head. The other measures were in the vertical plane and the horizontal plane. They tended to mirror what is apparent here. These graphs show the residual balance. Balance is more impacted on the left than on the right. Specifically, it is measuring the torsional vestibulo-ocular reflex.

The first graph shows the absolute movement of the left eye is from zero to 0.00025. for a 'normal' person under this stimulus, the movement would be from zero to anything up to 00.010. Remembering that the right graph is the mirror reverse (read it upsidedown) it is stronger.

The second graph shows the movement of the eye after the stimulus. Pretty much a squiggle, close to extinguishment. Once again a 'normal' eye would show a wave from zero right up to 10 a couple of squiggles, flatline along the box, then drop right down to well below the box, almost to the -5.0 marker before returning to the zero point. As you can see, the right graph shows a similar though less marked impact, meaning the balance is not AS extinguished.

Using some sort of physics equation to translate the above two graphs, the bottom graph shows the eye movement in mph. A normal (sick of putting the quotes, you know what I mean) eye would show a massive wave up to 2000 and then immediately down to 2000, scarper along to the end of the box then another wave of similar magnitude.

So what does it all portend? If my balance was degrading at an equal rate on each side, the effects may not (may not) be as noticeable. The figures I returned surprised him because he cannot see the impact on me that he has seen on other subjects. Meaning that I am compensating to a very large extent; learning to live with it. I have just done a questionnaire showing my subjective response to this hassle I am having. He expects me to score low, which I think I have done. The questions ask about physical impacts and psychological impacts. I scored 40 out of a total of 100.

So, how long before I flat-line. Probably somewhere between 24 and 36 months. Which surprised me. I had given myself 10 years. However ... however ...

Flat-lining does not mean I fall over. I can flat-line on BOTH sides but if I have compensated, I will still be upright. Ginger maybe ... THis is why I must remain skinny AND I must remain active. I must keep on getting out and about and forcing my eyes and my legs to work together. Eventually I will not be able to walk and read signs as they will jiggle too much. Well Gerry Ford could not walk and chew gum!

It is not only the accommodations that I have made, though. There are two gravity sensors in the inner ear that are not impacted by this problem which emanates from the cerebellum. Only the otolithic receptors are damaged. Hence, I can effectively measure a balance of zero on both sides and still be upright.


Joan Elizabeth said...

Crikey, with all that stuff going on in your eyes is your eyesight affected as well as your balance? I hope I never have a balance problem ... getting skinny would stump me right from the start.

Julie said...

Yes, I have a fair bit of double vision and often read books and prepare blog posts with one eye shut (the left one). When I read, I need to trace the line with my finger especially when going down a line.

Remember, balance is a combination of the signals from my legs, my eyes and my inner ear all of which are interpreted by bits in the brain stem.

Balance degrades as one ages, anyway.

diane said...

Sounds awfully spooky and I am amazed at how well you are coping with it. I hope you can cope for a long time yet.

Julie said...

I must admit to being a bit spooked today, but I walked in and around Hyde Park trying to solve a problem with my camera. That took my mind off it.

At the end of the meander, I had incorporated it into my new reality. I cope with reality quite well. I think I have a strong dose of pragmatism.

Ann said...

I hadn't realised your eyes were impacted as well. I'm amazed at how well you have compensated. Also have the same problem as Joan with skinny. Am rapidly putting back on the 15kg I lost when they diagnosed me as prediabetic and if I'm not careful I'll end up back where I was.

Must admit I don't understand half of this medical stuff with the graphs etc.

Ann said...

PS. If you are around Hyde Park, Macquarie Street lunchtimish give me a ring (8236 7110 - work) and we can grab lunch or a coffee.

Julie said...

I toyed with trying to add a line to indicate a normal response to the stimulus, but did not have the energy. Shall see how I go over the next couple of days.

I will put your work number into my mobile. I am often in and around in the middle of the day.

altadenahiker said...

Any look at the insides spooks me, but I've been forcing myself to read Into the Silent Land -- Travels in Neuropsychology.

Martina said...

puuuh - I am really impressed how you approach this - I think (I hope) I would do the same - putting in down to science and graphs and trying to solve problems with my camera - so to speak.

Julie said...

One reads all the time about people desperately seeking solutions and going to remarkable lengths to prolong their life. In so doing, they 'queer' the remainder of their life.

I said to this doctor that i am interested in the cause and effect but that I am NOT interested in either medicine or surgery. I am coping, and as it intensifies, I will adjust those coping mechanisms. I am not going to let it define me.

Later this weekend, I will do a post about the questionnaire that he asked me to complete. The difference between the two human reactions is starkly delineated in the set of questions.