My Journey As A Lab Rat Continues

Can I just talk about brain fog for a moment?  I’ve been trying to write this little post for a week now and I just can’t get the words to gather properly.  To top that off I had the brainy idea to join in with The Nester’s 31 Day Challenge this year.  My topic is 31 days of Good News and Good People Doing Good Things!  I’m really enjoying the search for the good in the world.  It’s still out there!  Click on over here if you’d like a dose of good news instead of the overabundance of bad we normally hear.   Anyway, I didn’t post anything about Fibromyalgia last week so I thought I’d at least try to give a little update on my status as a lab rat.  Ugh!

On Wednesday I headed back to the University to continue my journey as a science experiment.  At this appointment they conducted a baseline pain test, 45 minute survey and interview.

When I arrived I was plugged in and attached to a heart monitor.  They had me lay on the table for 15 minutes with the lights out and I was just to relax.  I was tempted to try to doze off for a few, but I’m always a little anxious when I’m in a doctor’s office so that didn’t happen!  After the rest period I was told to simply stand.  Still hooked to the monitor.  Just stand.  For 6 minutes.

Then came the pain test.  The young man that is leading me through this study came in with a joy-stick looking device that I had to hold onto while my thumb slipped into a whole at the top.  A rubber pressure point came down on my thumbnail and I was to rate, from 0 to 100, the amount of pain I was having with each 5 second hold.    Mind you, the fact that they were keeping track of my heart during this had me a bit concerned, how bad can a rubber stopper-looking- thingy hurt anyway, right?  The first few weren’t bad but after a few I finally had to yell “stop”.

The pain test was followed up by a 45 minute survey on a computer.  I was asked all sorts of questions.  Physical, psychological, relationship and belief related.

Can I just tell you that I have a warped sense of humor that was kinda taking over by the end of the test?  It asked if I was driving across a suspended bridge and saw a person standing on the outside of the railing looking down, how would I feel and how do I think that person felt.  The thought to make the doctors do a double take at my answer with “I’d feel like they might want a push to get started” came to my twisted mind but I answered with my true feelings of “I’d be worried he was suicidal and thought that was his only way out and how could I help him back from the edge – physically and figuratively.”  (My husband said his first response would have been that he assumed it was a bridge worker.  Who knows, maybe my answer was more twisted than I thought!)  Another question thrown at me inquired as to how confident I would be to cuss out four different people – My dad, my mom, my husband, and a stranger.  The next asked how likely I’d be to extend my middle finger to these same four individuals in the chance that they made me extremely mad.  Seeing how I don’t swear at people and I don’t remember giving “the bird” to anyone I’m sure I’ll hear that my fibro stems from bottled up rage.  I guess in all actuality they are just trying to rate a person’s stress levels.   Believe me there were enough questions in the 45 minute exam that they are sure to know the buttons to push to make me mad.  Those two just aren’t outlets I tend to use.

I was sent home with my own communication device!  A very stylish black box I have to keep strapped to my wrist for two weeks.  When I wake in the watchmorning I have to press the solitary black button on the black box, watch the light flash, and then continue to press the button while the lights scroll from 0 to 10 and stop on the representative for the amount of pain I’m feeling that moment.  At 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. an alarm will go off letting me know it’s time to record my pain level (note to self – remember on Sunday to leave the church auditorium prior to embarrassing myself as the clock strikes 11).  When the alarms ring I have to again press the button and record my level of pain.  When I get in bed at night I have to, again, record the pain level.  Five times a day for two weeks.  This new black accessory was accompanied by a log book I have to fill in each day as well.  They ask my bed time, how long it took me to fall asleep, how many times I woke up during the night and my overall pain level for that day.

I go back on October 6th to find out which one of three different groups I’ll be place into for the remainder of the 15 month study.  I’m really anxious to find out what I’ll be asked to do.  Like I said before, I have a feeling it will all be lifestyle changes or something similar since there will be no changes made to my meds.

With my luck my group will be selected to train for a triathlon.  Did I mention we can drop out at any time?  😉


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