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Friday
Jun172005

My Annual Math Test and More

I participate in a study at a local university hospital... testing the effects of crystal methamphetamine and HIV on the brain. I am the control, not doing or having either one. Yesterday was my fifth year in a row doing this! I call it my Annual Math Test because there is one segment in there that used to make me cry doing it. I would get anxious about it in January! knowing that summer was right around the corner.

The speaker says: 2 and then 4 - I say 6 - the speaker says 2 - I add the last number the speaker said to the number the speaker just said and say 6.

Well, the test is in three segments. The first I can sort of do and the chick yesterday convinced me to do that part, but the second and third segments make my brain hurt! The speaker goes fast and fast during the second and third segment. It is a listening/memory test and I hate failing anything. Plus, I can add most numbers quickly enough... but some I have to really think about. 8+5 has always been hard. Or 7+6. My dad drilled adding "9s" into me so I don't have any problem adding 9s, but the others, it takes a split second to catch it... like 8+5. I say in my head: 5+5=10+3=13 and then I can spit it out. But, when taking this test thingie, it is too long a process.

The 5 hours of testing include a buttload of bloodwork, a breathalizer to make sure I am sober (I was), a pee test to see if I've used drugs lately (I haven't), and several dexterity and memory tests.

There is one that has pegs, but I call them keys because they are pegs with a nub on them. As fast as I can, in order, I have to use my right hand to put the pegs into their slots, which are turned different ways on the peg board. I do great with my right hand. With my left, however, it is like using someone else's hand to put them in. I am so right-brained!

Another is naming 15 objects and throughout the day repeating what they were. I usually do pretty well on that one because my mind groups them together; pets, construction equipment, seasons, etc. They aren't given in that order, but my mind takes each word and plops it into its own subject box sort of thing. I have learned lots about how I think doing this all these years!

I also have to look at a group of 8 objects and then, after a few moments, draw what I remember... in their place on the paper. I have to do this several times. By the third time, I am not so bad. There are usually 2 I cannot, for the life of me, remember. Then, just to show what a bad artist you are, they show you the paper and have you draw directly from it so they can compare your work.

I have to visit with a psychologist, a nurse, and a technician during the day, too.

They give you a voucher to a horrible Mexican restaurant and pay you $75 for 5 hours' work. (I had to use a calculator to figure out that was $15 an hour. laugh)

The study was just extended, but they didn't know if I would be called next year or not. Although, the people there thanked me a zillion times because I am one of less than a handful who have come throughout the whole study.

Probably because I was a control and not a user, eh?

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