Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 21

Into the fifth week of a six week course of TMS treatments. Don was startled today by a reading showing a previously unseen orientation of the sensors. It didn't feel any different to me, though, and treatment continued without any significant adjustments.

Finished The Scarlet Pimpernel tonight. It's pretty clear to me that the rich socialite, orphaned at a young age, typified by Bruce Wayne, but much more widely employed in the superhero genre, originated with Percy Blakeney.

Neil Gaiman's American Gods is nextin the queue.

Monday, June 29, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 20

No add on pulse trains today. Minimal finger twitching.

Car fire started in the Sepulveda Pass as I was heading down to Westwood. Rubber necking at the burnt car two hours later slowed traffic for several miles on my return trip.

the fourth weekend

Saturday morning we went to a stress management class at Kaiser. The instructor did a good job communicating the concepts. Nothing I hadn't heard at Huntington, but well presented nonetheless. Perturbed but not awfully put out by an abortive attempt to find a 3 y.o.'s birthday party at the Santa Fe Dam, with no more information than it was (to be) somewhere at the dam. 45 minutes wandering in near triple digit temps, but it could have gone much worse.

Sunday I was slowed by a nasty crick in my neck. Couldn't look over my right shoulder, which makes driving a dicey proposition. Played some Munchkin with Corin and his friends in the evening.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 19

The treatment routine is fairly pat. Traffic continues to offer challenges, but thoughts of packing it in are not as common when creeping toward Westwood.

Bought a second 25 day parking pass. How can UCLA have financial difficulties with the killing they make on parking?!

Friday, June 26, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 18

The routine is pretty solid. I'm less antsy in the chair, meaning fewer adjustments during the course of the sessions.

Finished Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's The Grand Tour. Repeated references to the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel in the book have led me to dig out a copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel to read. I've read that some trace the origin of the superhero genre to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Now I'll be able to judge for myself.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 17

Don was back from his illness. Late start. Campus-wide meeting ran long explaining that UCLA staff are getting an 8% compensation hit, but still not known if it's pay cuts or furloughs. Staff learned absolutely nothing new.

Treatment went well. Quite possibly the least finger twitching while feeling like it was completely on target.


Headaches are considered a possible side effect, as is scalp tenderness, from the tapping. I haven't encountered this in the least. In fact, I don't think I've had to take anything for headaches since March. Score one for environmental changes, even if that means being out of the work environment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 16

Week 4 started, albeit a day late. They didn't know until late afternoon yesterday that I hadn't just stood them up. I left voicemail, but Don was out sick yesterday and today, too.

Depression inventory scores have dropped from mid-40's (moderate-to-severely depressed) into the 20's, I'm guessing still high 20's, over the course of the TMS treatment. I'm very encouraged by the relief I've achieved, which, in turn, makes me happier and more optimistic about the eventual success of the treatments.

Monday ....

Was feeling ill and exhausted throughout the day. Couldn't make the drive to Westwood. Should find out Tuesday what this means to the schedule over the long run.

the third weekend, Father's Day

Got up early and walked the dog. Then back to bed and slept late. Life is good!

Amy, Corin, and Katie continued to be thoughtful in choosing gifts. I was excused from the ongoing garage makeover. Corin and I went to Year One in the afternoon. Year One was amusing; The Hangover was hilarious.

Dinner was wonderful at Brix 42 in Old Town. It's quickly turning into one of Amy's and my favorite restaurants.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

the third weekend

Weekend is off to a good start. Not a lot going on. The morning and early afternoon were quite misty/drizzly, but has cleared and cooled nicely into the evening. Another board game night tonight. No reading so far today, not exactly a surprise after the 100+ pages/day pace I've been maintaining.

Friday, June 19, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 15

Three weeks on, I'm feeling pretty well overall. Still get angsty or discouraged from relatively minor incidents, but I'm shaking it off better, certainly better than any time this year.

Finished Thursday Next: First among Sequels. That makes at least 6 novels that I've read, either in full or finished after months of delay, since starting the TMS treatments. I haven't mustered that level of concentration consistently in more than 6 years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 14

Still get discouraged and think of canceling when snarled in traffic on the way to UCLA. Combined with feeling tired when I set out, I had some concerns about the drive home. The treatment itself went well. Diet Peach Snapple for the drive home helped.

Finished Ender in Exile tonight. There wasn't enough left to make it worth carrying to my appointment. I resumed reading Thursday Next: First among Sequels, which I've been reading intermittently for more than 18 months. That, in itself, speaks volumes about the difference the TMS is making in restoring my abilities and habits.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Days 12 & 13

I missed making an update yesterday. Spent more time focusing on reading and less on my computer. Just as I was getting ready to complain about a resurgence in napping, today proved nap free.

Dr. Cook left after getting me started today. He was testifying at a hearing regarding insurance coverage for TMS. More power to him.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 11

Monday went pretty well. Started reading a new novel, Ender in Exile. The magnet angle shifted a bit during the treatment. I went from finger twitches to a bit of arm flopping.

Once again motivated to shop and cook dinner. I can't tell you when last happened twice in a month. It has to have been several years since I really felt like food shopping and cooking were fun and enjoyable activities, worth the energy expenditure.

Monday, June 15, 2009

the second weekend, part II

Predictable entry titles, but it works for me.

Sunday brought more of the nausea which has plagued me during this current bout of depression. Wish it we could figure out a way to get past it. Missed Steph's high school graduation as a result, but rallied for the reception at the Khoury's home.

Home and bed by 3am last night, thanks for Katie's flight from Hawaii being an hour late, an extra hour for baggage claim, then the nearly hour long drive home.

Need to do my mood inventory homework before heading to UCLA shortly.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

the second weekend

I wish we could get past the drizzly, gray June gloom around here. Feeling rather lethargic. I'll need to document this in my homework, the weekly mood inventory which is due Monday.

Lakers' game tomorrow should add a little excitement to the mix.

Friday, June 12, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 10

Two weeks in the books. I'm feeling pretty good with the experience so far.

Traffic was discouraging. Took almost 90 minutes out of the hour and a quarter which I've been budgeting most days. I was getting anxious about getting there at all until I got past the car which had flipped on the Ventura Freeway.

Despite the unsettling news from Caltech yesterday, I didn't notice any profound impact today. Played Empire Builder with Corin and a couple of his friends this evening. Staying focused for 5 hours of board games might have been an insurmountable challenge a few weeks ago.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 9

Had a little headache from sun glare heading in to my appointment today. Alignment was good and finger twitching was nominal. Had to stop and get a little water part way through. Awkward when your head is clamped in position and you'd rather not release and re-align.

Making good progress on Bone Crossed, the 4th of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels.

Got word today that I have exhausted my sick and vacation leave. Paperwork coming in the mail to convert to unpaid leave of absence. That rocked me back on my heels for a while, about an hour serious impact, a bit longer kind of down but fairly functional. Without TMS that might have knocked me flat for a day or more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 8

Alignment and finger twitching back to normal today.

Staying with Amy at the Westin Bonaventure downtown for a couple of nights. She's giving a talk at the Childhood Obesity Conference tomorrow. I've been a little anxious in the room. I think the odd shape makes the room feel small.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 7

Dr. Cook had a meeting, so we shifted the appointment to 2pm. The alignment seemed a little off to me. Hand twitching was virtually nonexistent, but I wound up with a little eye blinking from the tapping. Managed to avoid the worst of the traffic on the way home anyway.

Started reading another novel today, Bone Crossed.

Monday, June 8, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 6

Settling into a routine. Was a bit tired after getting up at 5am to take Katie to the airport. Took Corin with me to UCLA, in part to check out the equipment and the process, in part to ensure I wouldn't have a problem with a solo drive.

Finished reading a second novel since starting the TMS program. I haven't read two full novels in a week in quite a while. If I finish third one in the near term, it will be by far the best reading performance I've had in a few years. Reading has been a personal barometer for several years now.

I noted the reading progress on the weekly depression inventory. Dr. Cook indicated I scored ~10% improvement from the initial inventory last Monday through today's survey. Although I experienced a dip over the weekend, I'm feeling better after today's treatment.

Went to The Hangover this evening with Corin. It was truly laugh out loud funny, in so many inappropriate ways. Laughter feels very good. I think I enjoyed the movie as much as anyone else in the theater.

Neuronetics has updated their list of TMS providers http://www.neuronetics.com/Contact-Find-Provider.aspx.

the first weekend, part II

Sunday was pretty much a loss. Slept in, which was nice. Lunch with the family was nice, too, but failed to sit well, which pulled down the remainder of the day.

Monday early morning is shaping up better, though. Despite the 5am wake up to take Katie to the airport for her latest trip, I'm feeling a little tired, but not the listless lethargy so typical of my depression.

Have to do my homework, a take home mood survey, to be completed each weekend before starting the new week's treatments.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the first weekend

Slow day. California's June gloom outside today, kind of gray inside. Not as bad as my standard gray days have been (think the gray cardboard inside a cereal box), but not as positive and bright as the last few days had been. Probably some continued mood fallout from yesterday's incident.

Friday, June 5, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 5

Finished out the week. Hand twitching back in force, but managed to read 20+ pages of a novel. Some turmoil in the late afternoon pointed out that I'm getting better, but still get anxious given the proper stimulus. A nap helped to wash away the angst, leaving me in pretty good shape for the evening.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 4

Getting the routine down. Leave home 11:45, arrive at the Semel Institute 12:45, into the chair ~1pm, out of the chair just before 2.

Energy was really good this afternoon, even though traffic was lousy coming home. Cooked dinner ahead of the Lakers' game. Have rarely had the energy or initiative to make dinner for guests for a very long time.

Was asked this evening if this might be a placebo effect. I've been looking for sustainable hope (or delusion) for quite a while. My reality is that I've strung together more good days in a row this week than I can remember having in more than a year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TMS @ UCLA Day 3

Started a little earlier this afternoon. Little more hand twitching than yesterday. Getting more accustomed to the rat-a-tat-tat routine. Talked basketball with Don to pass the time.

Not experiencing too many hours in the day lately. Cutting down on naps. This afternoon's nap was more of a product of the solo commute through drizzle both ways than depression driven ennui. No naps required on days 1 or 2.

Reading concentration has been improving markedly for the last week or more.

TMS @ UCLA Day 2

Doc tweaked the field strength. Pretty much eliminated the hand/finger twitch.

45+ minutes is a long time to sit still and do nothing, waiting for the woodpecker's return. 10 Hz, in 4 sec bursts, then 35-40 sec of nothing.

The repeated tapping sensation feels like the kind of thing which could give one a headache. Fortunately, no headaches have been forthcoming, nor bruising or scalp sensitivity.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Surprisingly inexpensive equipment

The spiffy dentist's chair and TMS hardware was purchased by the Friends of the Semel Institute, ~$56K. I was totally blown away. For research and/or therapeutic equipment, this is an incredibly reasonable price.

TMS @ UCLA Day 1

Always knew I was hard headed and had a thick skull. Never expected to have it techologically proven. Rather like having a hyperactive woodpecker with OCD tapping on my skull. Not too bad after adjusting positioning to avoid reverb in the eye and sinuses. Hand twitching was rather comic, but the doc thinks he can fix that tomorrow. Feeling optmistic and pretty good, overall. Placebo or synergy?