If I called him a recluse who had half a brain, it almost wouldn't be an insult

Yesterday Frank picked me up from work a little early so that we
could go to his follow-up visit to get the results of the cognitive testing he had a few weeks ago. He had a full battery of about ten or eleven different tests which were essentially divided into three categories: academic ability/IQ and memory/information retrieval, tactile function, and personality/emotional quotient. The psychiatrist wrote meticulous notes and reviewed them page by page. He explained that to get a true read of abilities and impairments, you had to consider the disaggregated results of the individual tests, the combined scores of the tests for each of the three groups, then the cumulative scores of all the tests combined. Furthermore, there were two different ways of looking at the final, cumulative score.

For the academic/IQ tests, Frank landed on the
bottom end of the above-average range. He sucks at math but excels at everything else. I think the psych nearly shit his pants with Frank’s results on the rhythm recognition test. He scored 30/30, which the good doctor said almost never happens. Frank’s tactile function (not to be confused with something like erectile dysfunction – “tactile” is how well his hands work to gather information) is near the bottom end of average. The overall score is “okay”. Breaking the results down, though, he shows some slight
impairment with tactile function of his right hand, which is consistent
with the MS larger, more active lesions that are present on the left side of his brain (and probably also explains why his right leg cramped up for a while a couple of months ago). He doc explained that they start the tactile tests with the dominant hand, which is Frank’s right. The dominant hand usually always works more efficiently than the other. In Frank’s case, his left hand outperformed the right. In fact, Frank’s right hand consistently scored either on the low end of average or the high end of below average, and his left hand scored so well that the left and right hand scores combined are what bumped the overall score to average. Confused yet? As an English teacher, the redundancy of words are killing me (“Use varied word choices, or you’ll bore the snot out of your readers”), but there are only so many ways you can explain this stuff without being repetitive. Digression.

Finally, we were given the test results for the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2 (MMPI-2), a test with which many surrogates are familiar, though I’ve never had to take it. Almost reluctantly, the psych said, “Well, your personality test shows that you’re perfectly normal, except…well, it says you’re very introverted.” We knowingly chuckled. “It’s not bad or anything, ” he continued, “you just probably prefer being alone or with a small group doing something inside, like hanging out, versus going out with a big group getting jiggy in the clubs or something. You’re not the party guy.” Yes, he really said “getting jiggy.” So, Frank isn’t crazy. I wonder if the MMPI would show me as an introvert or an extrovert. I feel like an introvert but when I characterize myself that way, people look at me like I’m crazy. I digress again.

Overall on one scale, Frank is doing just fine, which of course is a huge relief. The other comprehensive scale works on a type of point system with 0 being perfect and 10 being completely disabled (either intellectually, physically, emotionally, or a combination of the three). 0-2 is normal and Frank scored 2. As it was explained to us, had his tactile function been that much worse, it would have tipped him into a 3. The psych’s conclusion paragraph said that Frank has slight physical impairment consistent with MS. These results will serve two purposes: most importantly, this is baseline data against which future testing will be measured. I hope he won’t slide downhill any time soon. Secondly, the results will be sent off to VA along with a copy of his entire file from his neurologist. Hopefully the VA will increase his disability rating, which will increase the amount of retired pay he recieves. I explained how all of that works here, and I’m too lazy I have too many things to do this morning to explain it again.

Now I must go. I have a ton of things to do before el Cinco’s Open House at 11 and my Open House at my school from 3pm – 6pm. The first day of school is tomorrow. I think I’m still in denial.

19 Comments

  1. Shea on August 5, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Crossing everything for you guys that Frank will get that increase!
    We are in the same boat: 1st day of school for us also tomorrow! Lots to get done tonight to be ready.
    Take care!



  2. MomMega on August 5, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Is “getting Jiggy” a scientific term?
    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you as well! First day of school already, huh? Yikes!



  3. luna on August 5, 2008 at 11:22 am

    glad frank is doing ok, though he might be insulted by your title (ha!). those personality tests are interesting. we did one (not the MMPI) and it showed how different we are socially (e.g., I’m an introvert, he’s an extrovert, which helped explain a lot about how we deal in certain situations. and why on friday nights I just needed “down time” not “getting jiggy.” (what kind of doc says that?) well at least its not erectile dysfunction…
    can’t believe school starts already.



  4. Nikki on August 5, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Keeping fingers crossed that Frank’s retirement pay increases.
    Those personality tests are definitely interesting, and the more interesting part is, usually couples fall into opposite spectrums, one introvert, one extrovert. That way they balance each other out and complement each others traits. I don’t know you that well, but sounds like you’d be an extrovert 🙂



  5. sara on August 5, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Wow – I can’t get over how early you guys begin school! My sister’s class (she’s a special ed teacher – 5-7 yr old autistic kids) doesn’t start until the Wednesday after Labor Day here in MI. Thanks for updating about Frank. I hope he continues to get jiggy with it for a long long time. Did you burst out laughing at that phrase? Or how did you contain it? On a serious note, I hope that by sending the results to VA – that you get the increase that you talked about. Also, I am so happy to hear that Frank was able to get the testing completed and hope that he stays right at that 2 mark for forever. That is a lot to face as a family – and you seem to do it so well – it’s amazing. Hope your open house goes well later, and that you are having a smooth transition back to school life 🙂 ((hugs)) (and hugs to you too Frank!)



  6. Becky on August 5, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Frank is a cool guy. I think I might want to be friends with you guys. Like, for reals.



  7. Shanez on August 5, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I am glad that Frank is doing well. Yea he always was an introvert wasn’t he. Quiet in a large group and very talkative with a small one of people he was comfy with. I hope that the VA increases his benefit. I will keep my fingers and toes crossed for you.
    I know what your going through with school. I go back on the 19th but they called me in on the 12th to start the databases…..ewwwww….really this summer has flown by so fast!!



  8. Jen on August 5, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I am thrilled to hear that Frank is doing well and I hope the VA gives him the increase!
    Back to school already? What fun!?



  9. JuliaKB on August 5, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Hope VA cooperates.
    I, too, am completely weirded out by the fact that your school starts tomorrow. We have weeks to go still.



  10. Nic on August 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I personally found all of that very interesting, repetition or not (was too abosrbed to think…heeeeeyyyy, she used …. twice.
    Interesting too about the introvert thing. I did the Myers Briggs personality test thingy recently to which I and everyone who knows me went ‘WHAT’ when I came out as introvert….apparently it’s where you get your energy from, other people or your own inner space. That kinda made sense to me.



  11. anymommy on August 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Good luck tomorrow! I’m really glad that Frank’s test came out all right.



  12. jessica on August 5, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I’m praying for you guys.
    Good luck with the first day of school! There is still one more month until school starts here.



  13. susan on August 5, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I’d keep that title on the “down low” … you never know who is lurking!
    Whew! Thank God it wasn’t erectile dysfunction. Be sure to get “jiggy with it” at least once more before school starts!



  14. Io on August 5, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Ack! School starts tomorrow?! Good luck yo.
    I’m glad Frank is doing ok, and hope the VA gives him a rating for a gazillion dollars.



  15. Ally on August 5, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Oh, Moxie-school already? I’m sorry! Granted, you’ll get out almost a month earlier than me next summer and I’ll be the one crying then. But still-it seems too early to go back. You have my sympathy, my energy, and my wishes of good luck! May your classes be full of wonderful darlings!



  16. Florencia on August 6, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Moxie! So glad to hear that Frank is doing well. I had some trouble understanding the whole thing but mostly it seems he’s doing fine, yes? I can’t believe school is already starting, how come? Isn’t it supposed too start at the end of August? Seems so unfair, it’s still the middle of summer!



  17. Jess on August 6, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I’ve tagged you on my blog 🙂



  18. Elizabeth on August 6, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Keeping my fingers crossed for Frank! I can’t believe your school year has started already.



  19. Angry IF on August 6, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Wow, I am thouroughly confused now. I am a sped teacher and we have to go over test results all the time, but I’m still confused about all of the psych mumbo jumbo. The results sound good although. I bet that is really stressful to go through.