Wednesday, February 21, 2007

VNS Settings Changed

As I had 2 Tonic-Clonic seizures last weekend, I decided to get my VNS settings adjusted. Dr. Dean suggested reducing the off time from 1.8 to 1.1. She thinks that the more rapid cycle of the VNS will improve the effacacy. Nurse Cindy made the change last night... hopefully this will help.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Survivor’s Guide to VNS: Part 9 – Device Settings

You need to know about your device settings before your Dr. turns it on. Not all physicians, nurses, or technicians know their device settings well. In fact, you may be their first patient… Or you may be the 10th patient that they have mis-programed in a row… Errors in device settings could be completely accidental… maybe the doctor forgot to bring his reading glasses that day and confused a 0.2 with a 2 and confused a Signal Frequency with a Signal OFF time.

So understand the settings, and make sure that you check them out before they activate or change settings on the device. Take responsibility for your own device settings. It’s your life. It’s your device. It’s in your body.

What are the settings?
The settings you need to be concerned about are: Output Current, Signal Frequency, Pulse Width, Signal ON Time, and Signal OFF Time. Doesn’t make much sense, right? Here is the layman’s description of what each is:

Output Current
This is one measurement of the amount of electrical energy that is sent to your Vagus nerve. It is measured in milli-Amps (mA). If you think of electricity as waves crashing against a beach, this would measure the height of the wave.

Signal Frequency
This measures how many times per second that those waves of energy are sent to the nerve. The frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz). Imagine again those waves crashing against the beach – how many waves per second is the frequency.

Pulse Width
This measures the width of the electrical signal. It is measured in uSec… which is a number hard to comprehend, but it is another indication of how much electrical energy is sent to your nerve. Just imagine the water waves again and think about how much water comes with each wave. This measures the part that you would have to dive through to get to the other side of the wave.

Signal ON Time
How long the pulse generator sends electrical energy to the nerve. Using the water analogy again, the waves might wash against the beach for 30 seconds and then stop for a while.

Signal OFF Time
This is a measure of how long the VNS waits between sending signals again. No electrical energy is sent during this time.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Good Weekend... Not So Much!

Scott had two gran mal seizures over the weekend. Two in a 20 hour period, one on Saturday afternoon and another this morning. Both came as he was eating here at home. I am grateful that Scott was not injured too badly. Other than a few bruises, no one would ever know that Scott had had a seizure... or two. Scott seemed to recover quite quickly after the seizure on Saturday but less quickly this morning after the second seizure. There does not seem to be a clear pattern as to why these seizures occurred. Scott has been taking his medication regularly and has not missed any doses. Perhaps he is still not able to get the rest his body needs. Dr. Dean has stated before that his seizure activity increases when sleep spindles form during his EEG. Scott has turned in early this evening in hopes of getting a good night's rest. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a seizure free day!