Sleepy Left Brain

Friday was my neuropsychological appointment. It lasted just over an hour. I did a series of standardized tests with the graduate assistant while the Dr. looked over my MRI and records. Then they switched, and the graduate assistant scored my tests while the Dr. asked me questions and did something really similar to a neuro exam. I followed his finger with my eyes, and do a series of things with my eyes closed – keep my arms out straight in front of me, wiggle the finger he touched, identify which direction a sound was coming from, shrug my shoulders, and touch the body part he called out (my left shoulder, right knee, that sort of thing.)

The standardized testing came back that I have very high scores in language and spatial reasoning. …Which, as a graduate student I would hope I did. Basically, those tests told us nothing because my ability is still above that of the average population- so for a norm-referenced test- where your score is determined based on your ability compared to everyone elses- I look great. Even though I feel my performance is far less than it used to be.

It was also a little disappointing, because the standardized tests were all lower-order cognitive functioning, which I have had some problems with (the word switching, and forgetting, especially), but isn’t my primary concern. The difficulties that have been getting in the way of my graduate work have all been higher-order (synthesizing, problem solving, that stuff). Since none of the tests covered that, we can’t really speak to it. Although I do expect that the results would have be similar to the ones I got – that my abilities are still high. They just aren’t as high as I expect of myself – as they used to be, and as I feel like I need them to be.

What was more interesting of the day, was that the Dr noticed my eyes were more dilated than they should be for the lighting, and that my left eyelid was drooping. He had me look at his pen way to the left periphery for a long time – trying to check if the graduate student could confirm what he was seeing. He actually was really impressed at how long I could hold my gaze that way, and said that meant I had really strong eye muscles; but they did conclude that my eyelid was droopy on that side, if only by a millimeter. We have no idea why though.

He also told me I have a “vortex” in my MRI. He explained that it isn’t anything bad, just an interesting quirk. The brain isn’t exactly symmetrical; for most people, the front right lobe and back left lobe are slightly bigger than their counterparts. My brain is the opposite – the back right lobe and front left lobes are bigger. He didn’t imply that this had any affect though – just that it was interesting.

What he did say was, to his best guess from what my symptoms are, I have a “sleepy” left brain. I have no clue what that means, but at least its something.

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