The March DBS adjustment

Went into Rush last Thursday for my most recent adjustment. It was the end of the study, they videotaped me, we ran through some questionnaires, same routine as at the start of the study. Then I got confirmation: I was in the experimental group. No surprise.

So, now I know what my settings are: the wires have four points of contact, where current can flow into my brain. The deepest one–“lead zero”–is the one with good results. I am running at .8 volts on the right side and .7 on the left. The pulse wavelength is 130 milliseconds, but they don’t mess with that. The pulse width–the interval of time during the ‘wave’ when the current is on–is 450 microseconds. I think it’s a square wave. I don’t know the amperage, I don’t think they can adjust that. I’m sure it’s a microcurrent. That deepest lead is directly above my optic nerves on both sides, but I’m not seeing any spots.

And it seems to be working. My walking and standing posture are substantially improved. My speech is distinctly better, though it might be just a bit worse since this last adjustment. My hands are a little more relaxed, though it’s a less distinct improvement. My neck is also a little less constricted, actually more spastic. I nod more, and stick my chin out when I talk. Actually that’s an improvement.

My balance is a lot better. Much more solid. I’m biking to work pretty regularly–three times this week, four if the weather cooperates Friday. I am a little tired, but it’s a good feeling. And my new layer of flab is diminishing again.

Just today I’ve noticed when I walk, the toes on my right foot curl in a bit. Not a problem per se, but something to pay attention to. And my right hand is still clenching, but a little less than before.

The other piece of good news: Medtronic is testing rechargables that are supposed to last ten years. They’re supposed to be available next year. My current ones are not rechargeable, and only last a couple years. Battery replacement is minor surgery, but still surgery.

So in a couple years when they replace my current batteries, they won’t have to replace them again till after I’m fifty. Now as long as the world doesn’t fall apart in the meantime…



  1. John,
    Don and I wish you nothing but continued improvement. What a wonderful gift that would be. It sounds to us that you already enjoy life to its fullest. So, improvement is icing on your cake. Please say hi to your folks and Molly for us.

  2. Your latest blog was a pleasure to read. By golly you can get on your bike just in time for decent weather and the return of spring. I know it’s been a rough several months, but it seems to be light at the end of a long tunnel for both you and your family. Hang tough, John, Dottie and Bob.

  3. Progress is a beautiful thing no matter what size, shape or form. Keep it up. Glad to hear your on your bike again. By the way your blog reads it sounds as if you are doing well and there is a sense of optimism in your words. This is good. In the hindu faith are their excersises for the body and the spirit? If so are you using them? Perhaps a little yoga or some Feng Shui may help you with the little problems like the curling of your toes. Keep on biking and blogging.
    Love to all in the world of Stoner

  4. Sometimes the improvements you’re most acutely aware of from inside are the most rewarding, but it sure is nice to see visible-from-outside improvements too. That’s my experience anyway.

    Sorry I won’t see you at the CM ride tonight; have fun for me if you go. I’m very pleased to read so much good news.

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