Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Part 2

Everything is becoming routine. My teeth chatter and jerk downwards with every pulse of magnetic force. Each burst lasts for twenty seconds, followed by a minute's pause. Contract, relax. Contract, relax, repeat. My teeth grind and my jaws ache with muscle soreness a little for a while afterward, but nothing too bad.

I'm offered a mouth guard to keep from biting my tongue but I decline. The procedure is a little bit uncomfortable, but it's not painful. My brain continues to adjust to the sensation, which is now more annoying than troubling. I monitor my progress day in and day out, but know I won't really be able to separate success from failure for another three weeks. Cautiously optimistic, I hope that these sessions will boost the effectiveness of the antidepressants which have never worked with any great consistency.

While seated in my chair, my mind begins to wander. I wonder how much each machine costs. The one used on me is likely worth tens of thousands of dollars and maybe even more than that. I don't think many of them are made. The center has two. The one used on me had to be shipped specially over from Israel, and there's no telling how much the cost ran to in total. Aside from specialty centers like these, I don't imagine they're found in very many places yet.

I could watch television for twenty minutes during the process, because every testing room is equipped with one. I prefer talking with the employees of the center. They are all young women in their twenties, which reminds me yet again that I'm not a Millennial. The doctor who evaluated me on my first day is not much older than they or me. Everyone I encounter is young, middle class, and highly educated. I'm curious as to why this is. The suburbs remain lily white, even in the DC Metro area. I'm not really that surprised.

My usual experience in a medical setting involves a diverse set of people from every race and age range. This is more or less true when one considers who lives in the District, rather than in outlying areas of Virginia or Maryland. I wonder if the location of the clinic is a reason why its demographics look this way. The center is brand new. It can be found on the ground level of one of those faceless office parks. The local area mass transit has just expanded in that direction, which usually means that growth isn't far behind.

I conclude for now. More updates to follow.

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