On August 2, I went to the University of Maryland Medical Center hospital to undergo a number of preliminary steps prior to the procedure on August 24th. First I met with Charlene Aldrich, RN, MSN. She is the Clinical Research Manager. I consider her my friend as she has done many things to help HopeNET. She explained to me in detail what would occur on August 24th. I then had a standard Essential Tremor examination by the neurologist, Paul Fishman, MD, PhD. Charlene videoed the process. I did spirals, wrote a sentence, poured water from one cup to another, extended my arms, and did touching. Dr. Fishman checked my legs. I concluded the examination by walking up and down the corridor outside the room. I finished by walking toe to heel with Dr. Fishman’s assistance. I then had a CT scan followed by a blood test. As I related in an earlier post I am claustrophobic and therefore have difficulty in a MRI. Charlene gave me medication that worked very well in calming my nerves. The MRI lasted about an hour. For the first 40 minutes, I could listen to music. For the last 20 I couldn’t, but it didn’t matter. My day ended with meeting with the neurosurgeon, Howard Eisenberg, MD along with Charlene. We had a relaxed conversation. As he was once a Navy doctor, we were able to commiserate about our naval service.
On August 5th, I returned to the hospital. I spent 2 hours speaking to Lisa Clough and Karen Warmkessel from the hospital’s Communications & Public Affairs Office. Last month, the FDA approved the MRI Focused Ultrasound procedure for Essential Tremor. On August 24th, the New England Journal of Medicine is publishing an article on the procedure in its latest edition. Simultaneously, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, based in Charlottesville, Virginia is having a press conference. I will be part of this as I will be videoed throughout my procedure as well as being interviewed before and after. I spent the two hours on the 5th describing in some detail my experience with ET as well as explaining HopeNET’s role in advocating for those with ET. They in turn explained to me what they were going to do.
I will be at the hospital at 9am on the 24th and then it all starts.