You know those fancy check-in machines at the Robie Street entrance? I think that was the first time the magnetic strip on my health card had ever been used. Moreover, whatever you do, do not pick “not correct” when it's verifying your personal information. When the machine displayed:
RELIGION: INFO NOT SUPPLIED
… I wanted to see what the choices were, so I picked “not correct”. Unfortunately, that made the machine finish with “check-in not completed”, and I was obliged to check in with an attendant.
The comedy of errors did not end there. My sheet said my appointment would be on the fourth floor, and so I go to the neurology area on the fourth floor. My appointment was to be at two (though a 15-minute advance arrival was requested), and I sat down to my book at one-thirty.
At quarter after two, I heard a far-away voice call “William Matheson?” I stood up and walked towards the sound. “You need to be at the EMG lab.” She was very nice about it. Apparently there's some kind of ongoing glitch with the appointment forms, and they have this screw up every day.
The first part of the test was the nerve conduction. Now, in order to measure velocity, you need to know the distance. So, you mark with a pen where you apply the electrode and take out your tape measure. It was funny how much resemblance it bore to a first-year physics lab. At least they didn't make the poor guy propagate his uncertainties.
Then, they apply a series of shocks. It is very much like the shock that is delivered when you touch an electric fence, as virtually all farm boys have done. It was comforting to have a frame of reference.
The second part was the EMG itself. This is where they stick a very sharp needle into your muscles and your excruciating pain is transmuted into jagged, vaguely sinusoidal waves on a computer screen. It is less fun than it sounds. My knee was the worst; it's still sore now, hours later.
Well, at least some light has been shed on my disorder, right? No, not a thing. Instead, I had the worst of all possible outcomes: everything appeared normal. I was convinced that we were going to find a smoking gun, and I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't.
So the next thing I'm going to ask for is to have my back checked out. The physiotherapist did detect a degree of scoliosis in my spine, and I'd like a specialist’s feedback about that. I also may yet be referred to a neurologist. Heck, if it's idiopathic, I might even be referred to a psychologist. And that's how I'll know I'm really screwed. ;-p