Anyway, it's amazing how efficient the Mayo Clinic is. Yesterday I arrived at the check-in area at 7:15 a.m. and there were already several people waiting in line and over a dozen others sitting in the waiting area. Within a couple of minutes I was at the front of the pack meeting with one of the receptionists. After she answered a few clarification questions for me, I gave her my completed forms and she handed me a little beeper. When the beeper went off, I was to go to Door "C". The room was extremely large. On one wall, there were two openings that had the letters "A" and "B" over each respective opening and the opposite wall had openings with "C" and "D" over them. I felt like I was waiting in a very nice DMV office instead of a health clinic. (Too bad DMV's don't run as efficiently as that facility...)
As I waited for my beeper to go off, I found myself moving to various locations in the waiting room... One gentleman behind me was nervously tapping his pen on his papers, so I got up and moved to the other side of the room. Then one young person out of a group of six sitting together kept cracking her gum, so I got up and moved again... (I noticed one of the guys in the group watched me as I moved to another seat across the room.) Even while wearing my earplugs, I must've moved four times before I found a comfortable place to wait. By the time I finally got settled in, I maybe waited one minute before my beeper went off. I walked over to the woman standing by Door C and she took me into the back "C" area to take my vitals and history. The aftermath of my aggrevation from being bombarded by the various triggers around that waiting room was not lost on me. When she took my blood pressure, it was 125/75, which is higher than my usual reading of 111/70. In fact, it was probably the first time I could remember when my systolic reading was ever above 115.
After she finished with my readings, she walked me down to another examination room where I was to wait to see the doctor. It was a very different atmosphere than what I was used to seeing in other doctor's offices, even the one's I've designed. As a lighting designer, I'm constantly aware of how a space is illuminated and what struck me most about my walk down the corridor was how dimly lit it was. (That and, other than the woman who was guiding me from one room to another, I didn't see another soul in the entire "C" area.) The examination room itself was well lit though. It had one big window looking out into the city, a very tall wood wainscot around the entire room, a wooden changing room with a curtain pulled back, a long couch directly across the room from a wooden examination table that had a padded cushion on the top (although I noticed it rested on a scissor type stand, probably to be able to raise it higher if necessary.) It was very different than some of the more cold, sterile examination rooms I've experienced in the past.
I sat on the couch waiting for the doctor to arrive and immersed myself in thinking about the experiences that led me to this point. After several minutes, there was a knock on the door and the doctor entered. He sat down at his desk and asked me to tell him more about why I was there. I explained how I learned I had misophonia and that, after discovering that the closest physicians who deal with the syndrome were over a four-hour drive from me, one of the HR people in my office as well as the director of my studio suggested that I try to see someone at the Mayo Clinic. He commented that he had never heard of the condition before and even looked it up on his computer right in front of me. I noticed that he pulled up one of the most informative websites I've found to date (www.misophonia.info). I continued describing to him what it's like to have to deal with misophonia on a day-to-day basis, and went on to say that even though the physicians I've discovered with knowledge about the condition are audiologists, given that my triggers go beyond sound to include visual and tactile (as well as a little bit of smell and taste), I figured it was more of a neurological issue. He actually said to me at two different points during the visit how thorough I was with my descriptiveness. I explained it came from being an artist with a high attention to detail.
He asked me to go into the little changing room and change into a gown. He then did some simple tests, which I can only assume were to gauge my brain functionality. Motor tests like walking down the hall and back, watching him move is fingers with just my eyes, touching his finger then my nose and back again, (I swear officer, I didn't have anything to drink since last night... LOL!), even having me resist his pushing against my fingers/hands/arms/legs. In the end, he said he didn't think it was a neurological disease, mainlhy because of a comment I made about being annoyed by triggers only when other people do them, not if I were to do the same trigger action. He said because it seemed to be a situational reaction, and he wanted to refer me to a psychiatrist there. Although I was disappointed that I wasn't able to get the kind of feedback from him that I was expecting, I figured if it might help lead me to some relief from this condition, I couldn't reject any potential avenues. Unfortunately, they weren't able to get me an appointment until January 4th. I luckly was able to move that up to December 24th, but it still meant that I drove over 3 1/2 hours and stayed overnight in a hotel for just under a 2 hour initial visit.
I checked out of the hotel and thought a lot about what the doctor said the entire ride back. It occured to me that maybe, just maybe, the reason why certain triggers bother me when other people do them and not when I do the same actions is that when I do them, I am conciously doing them and therefore my mind is able to prepare or adjust accordingly. I thought about some of my triggers, such as the whoosh-clack of a soda can opening and how it happens so fast, there's not just any way to prepare for it, but there's no way to react to it either. It's over just as quickly as it started, yet even though it's a short interruption in whatever I may have been doing at the time, distracting me for that brief moment, the sound echos through my head and it's hard to get back into the swing of whatever I was doing.
Well, I may not have expected a quick fix to this condition, but I hoped to have gotten a little more progress than what I felt on that long drive back. All I can say is that although the doctor had never heard of misophonia before, at least I planted one little seed that might grow to a greater spark of interest or discussion amongst him and his colleagues. Who knows, maybe I can be a regular "Janey Appleseed" who plants a tiny bit of knowledge about misophonia with people wherever I go.