Today, I had my second appointment. My grandma also came with me.
The balance test was not as horrible as I thought it would be, actually I just had fun most of the time. I had to sit in a chair with an infrared camera and a big red button which the audiologist urged me not to press or it would block the chair and she’d have to start over. In front of me there was an OLED screen, and there was a bar with 3 red lights hanging from the ceiling. My face was thoroughly cleaned with an alcoholic substance, then she used a scrub to remove all of the remaining fat and dirt particles. After that, she put electrodes around my eyes and gave me a big, heavy and unsightly case to which the electrodes were connected and I had to hold it. I asked her to take a picture with my phone. I look pretty horrible by the way, all my phone camera’s fault!
After I posed for the picture and put away my phone, she explained the test to me. There were 4 parts to the test and it would take place in the darkened room:
For the first part, the audiologist typed what I had to do and it displayed on the screen in front of me while the dot magic took place: look at the dots, follow them smoothly, look at the screen with the moving dots and look at the blue dot. Nothing special.
For the second part I had to close my eyes and count down from 200, subtracting 3 every time. The chair started to rotate around a bit, nothing that’d make a normal person dizzy, just some soft rotating. I horribly messed up on counting down though, this test totally made me realize that my calculation skills are far from perfect.
For the third part, the back of the chair was tilted so I faced the ceiling. I had to lie down, close my eyes and turn my head to the left. Then the audiologist made me sit up again, eyes still closed and my head still facing the left. This test was repeated again, this time facing the right side.
I was afraid of the fourth part since I heard so many horrifying stories about it. The audiologist also explained that I might become dizzy and offered me a cup for if I would have to throw up. I had to lie down, the room got darkened and I had to look at the lights on the ceiling. Then she put a tube in and a cup under my ear and I had to close my eyes. First, warm water was poured in my ear, I guess it was around 38-41 degrees Celsius, certainly not boiling hot. I had to count down from 200 subtracting 2 each time, I guess the audiologist was feeling sorry for me since I failed so hard the first time. Then the audiologist tapped on my shoulder and I had to look at the lights. This got repeated with my other ear, and again with cold water. (No clue about the temperature… 14 – 24 degrees Celsius?)
I didn’t feel dizzy or weird at all, the only thing I was feeling was this immense hunger because I didn’t know if I had to arrive sober or not, which wasn’t the case.
After the balance test, we grabbed some healthy-looking food and chattered for a bit. We forgot the time, got lost in the building, couldn’t open the door but finally came to our destination just in time.
The MRI scan was pretty boring. I had to undress but I could leave on my panties (I also left on my socks with a big hole in it… They didn’t mention anything.) and had to put on a hospital shirt. The nurse put a needle in my arm, taped it to my arm firmly and connected it with the contrast fluid. I had to lie down on the MRI scanner bench, put on earmuffs and a face harness and got an alarm button I could squish if I couldn’t take it anymore. I got into the scanner, and closed my eyes for about 15 minutes, feeling the vibrations of the magnet moving around. Sometimes I could distinguish a faint sound through the earmuffs as the magnet moved around, so I guess that thing must be really loud for normal hearing people. At a certain point, the MRI machine started vibrating, I felt like I was getting a massage. Awesome.
When I got out of the MRI, they pulled off the band-aids around the needle, ow, THAT actually hurt the most of all today.
We got lost again trying to get back to the sound discrimination tests. That hospital sure is big, and in some places the signaling is horrible.
At the sound booth, I got several different tests, all with sheets of papers with 4 or 5 different choices. One was an environmental sound test, where you had to tell which sound it was: an ambulance, a rooster, an alarm clock, hooves, rain, drink being poured and several other choices. I also had to listen to short sentences and define whether the speaker was a woman, a man or a child. After that I had to listen to words with the same consonants but different vowels, and words with the same vowels but with different consonants. Then came a syllable counting test, and I had to count the syllables in the words which were presented. I mostly scored around 70-75% on these tests. One of the tests was to distinguish words from noise, but to me everything sounded as a voice at the try-out words, so I didn’t take that test. Lastly, open-set sentence recognition. I scored a whopping 7%. Woo.
There was another test where I scored about 30% too but I don’t recall which one that was.
After that, I could go home. I feel good. My face still feels super clean and my arm is feeling… penetrated.
On to the last appointment, December 17th!