Friday, August 08, 2008

Torture Chamber

"Behind every corner,
A secret is sealed.
Beyond every turn,
The adventure revealed."

I went down to Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Hospital last Friday to get some rehab for my broken leg.

What? You broke your leg?!

I went down to Royal Talbot last Friday to participate in a research project (a hurdle requirement for my Physio course). The research project was entitled:

"Twitch Interpolation of the Ankle Plantar-Flexors: The Extent of Voluntary Motor Unit Activation Following Whole Body Vibration"

I assumed that all i had to do was stand on some vibrating plate and maintain my balance, so i didn't bother to read the research synopsis - BIG MISTAKE.

I wasn't allowed to eat 2 hours prior to the test, which was at 2pm. Naturally, my growling tummy made me particularly cranky. I had to walk for 30mins from Alphington station to get to the hospital -.-" I've got no idea why it's located in such a remote part of Kew.

On the way to the hosp, I had to walk on that bridge that you see above. It gets quite scary when you're in the middle. That picture up the top was taken before I crossed the bridge, and this one was taken after i crossed it. Sometimes we slog hard, taking small steps as we go along. We get demoralised cuz we don't think we're getting anywhere. Take some time to look back - history tells a different story.

I had to get the hair around my right knee shaved off to get rid of any resistance to the painful electrical stimuli that were to be sent through my right leg -.-" Basically, the aim of the test is to determine how much force my right calf muscle can generate with different treatments. So, i was taken to this portable caravan (the name "torture chamber" does more justice to its intrinsic nature) where i was strapped to a chair (very much like the ones you see in torture scenes in movies). I couldn't move ANY part of my body besides my right ankle. My right sole was placed on a force plate (a device that measures the force exerted on it in Newtons) and i was told to plantar flex as hard as I could. (Plantar flexion is the action you do when you tip-toe).

See, that doesn't sound too painful. BUT there was a twist that i was COMPLETELY unaware of. Mike (the researcher) attached electrodes to my knees and said that he would be sending electrical stimuli through my right leg to find the nerve that innervates my calf muscles. According to him, the electrical stimuli feel "weird, not painful".

It was WEIRD all right. And it wasn't just painful.. it was EXCRUCIATING! It literally felt like getting electrocuted! I could feel the electrical signal creep all the way from my knee through my calf and into my toes; causing each muscle to wrench in agony as it passed by.

He delivered 10 shocks (at the lowest intensity) to determine the exact location of the nerve. I didn't want to sound like a girl, so i sucked all the pain in.

Mike: "Hmm.. i'm surprised that you didn't wince. Most of them wince at the first shock. How's it feel?"

Isaac: "Weird."

I wish i had winced.

That wasn't the end of all the shocking.

There were 3 components to each test:
1) Plantar flexion without TORTURE (electrical stimuli) 7 repititions
2) Plantar flexion with TORTURE - 10 REPS!!!!
3) No plantar flexion; with TORTURE - 10 REPS!!!!

OMG!! There was a countdown from 10..9..5..4...3..2..1... BANG! before each electrical stimulus was delivered.. 20 shocks for each test. 2 tests to be carried out = 40 shocks + 10 shocks to determine the location of my nerve + ~10 more shocks to make up for the ones that weren't strong enough!

I was half dead after that 2 and a half hour test. Mike's supervisor (Ben) came in at the end of the test.

Ben: Wow! you've got extraordinary results. You're hitting 30 Newtons.

Isaac: What's the average reading?

Ben: About 15 Newtons. Any comments?

Isaac: Yea, it hurts a lil (JUST a LITTLE)

Ben: Hmm.. Mike, what stimuli are you giving him?

Mike: erm.. *looks at machine* 99%

Ben: o.O" I've never tested anyone with that before.

Mike: *looks at me* You seem to have a very high tolerance level. You didn't wince at the start and you didn't scream or anything.


I would've given him 99% of HELL if i wasn't strapped to that torture chair.

No comments: