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Monday, January 4, 2016

Testing! 1, 2, 3

Neurological psychology testing!  What is that, what does it mean?  It's a standardized method of testing, designed to measure changes in the cognitive brain.  Its also an indicator for areas where I may be in need of assistance.  I went to Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical Center, 6 years ago, for the same testing.  Today, it was not a necessity, though it does offer a method to track my progression over thee years.  I had requested this testing last November, after being charged $100 for a rejection of academic accommodations to give myself a fair shot at the GRE,ma standardized test required by 90% of graduate programs in the country.  I always had wanted to return to school, to study public health, and policy.  Over my years in rehabilitation I've made an effort to take assorted classes, and take board seats within orgazations that picqued my interest, and could help me try to stay current.  Being denied accommodations last year, threw me into a tail spin.  Getting it all together to submit, had been a trying effort, and it never occurred to me,my request for extra time and a touch screen keyboard would be denied.  Apparently the clinicians letters were too vague, and I needed supporting evidence to validate my my injury.  This was when my psychologist suggested a means of current testing, among the suggestion of finding a program at UVM, so I wouldn't have to deal with it.  I asked my neurologist for a referral, and found myself in 'The memory clinic' today, for 6 solid hours of trivial testing.

I walked in, stack of paper work in hand, and found myself in a nearly empty waiting room.  I took enjoyment from the variety of unique phone calls, the receptionists took.  I counted 3 different calls for cancellations in the ten minutes I waited.  Only then did it occur to me how difficult it is to admit to a mental difficulty.  I'm forced to wear it like a badge, all I have to do, is speak to anyone, or walk around.  The only time it's less apparent is in my writing.  Although, the fact that my blog pertains to my experiences adapting life with an anoxic brain injury, is a dead give-away.  For others, whose families, or medical practitioners have set up an evaluation at a place called 'The Memory Center' I suppose I can envision why voluntarily coming in could be frightening.  Any kind of memory related diagnosis is unbelievably frightening as it requires one to deal with it, and accept that life has forever changed.  They really should rename the office, was my final conclusion.

Upon Bering called in, I sat down with a friendly doctor who asked me all about my life, the people in it, how satisfied I am, if I have enough emotional support, all fun conversation topics to discuss with a new doctor.  Eventually we got into the first portion of the testing.  Much of it related to listening to paragraphs, and responding to questions within the stories offered.  I if remember that I'd found the test somewhat demeaning in 2009.  After stating that, I'd told that this was a standardized test, meant for me greatest marorority of the population.  I still have unpleasant remarks about this, but I'll keep,them to myself.  I even said that to the woman interviewing me, which I immediately regretted.  Sometimes I'll hear myself being rude, and wonder if I've developed a problem filtering rude comments.  Then again, I also wonder if it's a horrifying norm, I'm adapting to, without notice.

I was sincerely grateful for the lunch break.  I could hear my stomach growling in the quiet office, and took out my meager snack lunch.  I felt very underprepared for my day, though I had believed I would have enough time to walk to the othe building, and buy food.  In 20 minutes, I'd barely have time to walk there, let alone eat the food I got, and walk back.  So, that did not work out well for me, but at least I had some food with me.

The second battery of tests focused more on recalling lists, mathematical  word problems,  and a visual  memory test of various deigns.  I know I have a visual memory problem, so that felt very confusing.  The idea of the math problems concerned me, but they were quite simple.  I also had to organize tiles to match a paper diagram.  That felt difficult and tense in the moment, but wasn't as problematic as I'd anticipated.

At the end, there was more paperwork to do, concerning my mood, anxiety, and depression.  It seemed like a horrible questionnaire to send people home on.  In my opinion, it should be given first, so that if you are experiencing depression, you don't have to go home and stew over it.  
When I finally left, I needed groceries.  I don't like to grocery shop when I'm hungry.  This never works out well for my budget.  Before I checked out, I want through my cart, and easily put back 1/3 of the cart.  This is why I don't like buy food on an empty stomach.  Although, I'm sure the grocers encourage this.


Julie/Mom said...

I also hate testing of any kind....kudos for doing it! When do you find out any results or is it that kind of testing? I would hope you gain some helpful knowledge and insight or what's the point? Thanks for another post! Love reading them!
Love you the most!

Courtney Blasius said...

Thanks! The point is to acquire a current diagnosis of my cognitive abilities, so I can get the accommodations I need to have a fair chance on the CRE, a standardized test for graduate school.

Marti said...

Very interesting, Court. Even though this testing sounds kind of like a pain, I'm glad you put in the effort to sit through it. I hope you get something positive out of the results. Keep us posted!

It should be interesting to see if there has been any change since your last test.

Power on!


Aunt Marti