I showed up, met 3 very earnest researchers who put me in a pair of polyester (ugh) shorts and proceeded to cover me from stem to stern with ‘markers’. These are retroreflective markers that track motion not sharpies. Then they add transmitters to my wrists, ankles, and chest that linked to more markers that track muscular movement.
Once I was all tooled up we did fun things like standing on a metal platform that, without warning, will jerk forward or backwards. I was in a harness and there was someone next to me in case it looked like I would fall but it was more the anticipation that threw me. I was trying to subtly prepare (which was not so subtle given that I was wired to go off like a car alarm if I took a deep breath) but it caught me off guard each time. After the fourth time it felt more like a mean prank than research.
This is not me but it is accurate minus the little silvery globes they stuck on all my joints
This kind of thing went on for 2 hours after which I did an interpretative dance and went home. Not really but that photo cracks me up. And those are the markers they stick on you only I had more (extra grace).
My take-aways (because you’re not told anything about the results or even the tests themselves):
1. Researchers don’t have a sense of humor. They may laugh politely but they really want you to stay quiet and get it done.2. I have an inordinate desire to please authority- which may come as a surprise based on what I post on this blog. In a sensory perception test of my feet (hint- I have almost none left so I was going to fail this no matter what) I still tried to answer what I thought they wanted to hear. I’m pretty sure I had a puppy dog look on my face.
3. Despite making it through college and an advanced degree I cannot count backwards by 3. Not standing still w/ my eyes open, w/ my eyes closed, or walking. It wasn’t until my last test that I realized I had consistently said 11-3 equals 9. So, 151-3 equals 149 etc. It didn’t help that the realization hit me in mid-strike so I stopped (which they really hate) and said, “SHIT.” Which they didn’t like so much either. I’m not even going to defend this level of idiocy except to blame it on the American school system.There you have it- my contribution to the study of MS. Once I was denuded of all sensors I pocketed my $35 (I’m a cheap date and NO I’m not reporting it to the state) and headed home to work on my subtraction tables.