Popped in to the hospital today for a quick EMG on my LUE, or Left Upper Extremity. If you’ve never had the pleasure, an EMG is a test whereby doctors (in my case, five) cram into an exam room and shoot electricity into you for a good half an hour to determine if your nerves work.
“It’s not the most pleasant procedure,” my doctor said apologetically last week.
I’d made an appointment to see the doctor due to some recurring numbness in my left hand combined with a dull ache in my upper left arm. For my trouble she also talked me into the first flu shot I’ve had in thirty-one years on this green earth.
“You’ve got a little one now,” she said. “You don’t want to bring it home to him.”
It is surely a low blow to use one’s child against him in this way. For the next two days it felt as though someone had punched me in the Left Upper Shoulder.
Turns out it was good practice for today’s session.
One of the lab coats stuck a few sensors to my hand while another doctor was brought in to show them how to reset the computer. For the next 30 minutes they talked mostly to one another, asking which knob did what, sharing keyboard shortcuts (“so I just hit pulse twice?”), wondering why the results didn’t show up on the monitor, etc. Apparently the approach during an EMG is: crank the intensity up until you get a result or the patient can power their own appliances.
“Uh, that hurts,” I had to pipe up at one point as the dial went past 15 to 30 to 45 to 60.
“Oh yeah,” one of them laughed, “it is up kinda high.” Ha ha, good times! It felt like someone was continuously snapping a rubber band on my arm from six feet away. My hand flopped about as if in its death throes.
Finally satisfied, they all left the room to share results with the Head Honcho doctor, who returned only to zap me a few more times. Then she turned to me and said, “now they will put the needle in the muscle.”
And thank goodness, because silly me thought the unpleasantness had ended. Nope! For the next twenty minutes they stuck a needle into various spots on my arm, twisting it around as if it were a key and the corresponding keyhole was around here somewhere…
“This next spot is kinda tender,” Lab Coat said before sticking the needle into the flesh between my thumb and forefinger. “Now try to relax this hand. Heh, I know it’s tough, I got a needle in there.”
I mean we had fun today.