Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yet Another Weird One ...

What is it with me and weird blood test results that don't seem to have much signifiance?

The jury's still out on this one, so we'll see what my rheumatologist does with it.

But the hematologist called me this evening with the good news that I'm not going to bleed to death. (I kind of knew that already.)

I am among 1 to 3 percent of the population that has a weird antibody that causes an abnormal test result on the typical test used to check clotting.

Dr. D called it a "lupus inhibitor," which is a bit of a misnomer because apparently "lots" of people without lupus have it. (Lots, of course, being fewer than 3 percent of the population. The Lupus Foundation says about half the people with it do not have lupus.)

Ironically, people with this antibody that makes it look like they don't clot properly are more at risk of thrombosis (blood clots that can lead to a stroke or embolism, etc.).

Turns out this might also explain my miscarriages a few years ago, if the heart-shaped uterus wasn't enough to cause them.

Anyway, you can read more about this at Wikipedia here or at the Lupus Foundation page here.

So I don't think that this will help my rheumatologist assign me a lupus diagnosis. I don't know if I want one ...

But I'll be calling his office tomorrow to alert him to this latest development. I'm also hoping to get copies from the hematologist's office of all the lab results of the tests he ran, which I'll post here to share.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Medical Update

Seems like I've seen a ton of doctors lately, and I don't think I've updated on all of them. So here's a little roundup of what my most recent medical stuff has been:

  • Dermatologist: Biopsy of weird white bumps on knee scar came back as secondary milia, pretty much the best possible result.
  • Cardiologist: Follow-up visit on 6/22 was pretty normal. Residents apparently persuaded cardiologist to recommend a heart monitor that I will wear for a week to see what (if anything) is happening heart-wise when I faint and/or feel close to fainting. (I have far more close calls than actual loss of consciousness.)
  • Hematologist: Blood drawn June 19. Called to check on results June 24. Nurse said doctor had to sign off on results but "they confirm your blood is thin." The remainder of the tests he ordered were various autoimmune coagulation tests, which she described as "pretty esoteric" and said she couldn't interpret them. Had hoped to get call from doc yesterday, but no such luck. Hopefully next week.
  • Internist: Visited 6/23 with long list of things to discuss, including increased joint pain, fatigue and return of hair loss. She ordered more blood work, including cortisol test, thyroid, and iron levels.
  • Neurologist: Playing phone tag but she left voice mail that EEG was normal and lumbar puncture did not show O-bands, which would have been a sign of multiple sclerosis. Only 50 percent of MS patients have O-bands in their spinal fluid, so it doesn't entirely rule out MS, but she's not leaning towards thinking that's my mystery illness. I'm scheduled to see her again at the end of July.
Phew. That's a lot of stuff!

I got distracted and failed to call the hospital to set up an appointment to get the heart monitor. I'll have to call on Monday and see when they want to do that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What's In A Name?

Which is worse: Having an invisible chronic illness that takes months or years to diagnose or having one with a diagnosis that isn't taken seriously by either medical professionals or family, friends and/or co-workers?

Rosalind Joffe, author of Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend!, blogged this week about being glad she has a disease people actually believe exists.

What is it with the lack of respect for illnesses like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome?

Since I came down with my mystery illness, I've started reading a fair number of medical blogs, both by patients and by medical professionals, many not even remotely related to my experiences.

For some reason, I've been especially drawn to blogs by people who work in emergency rooms. I suspect it's the dark humor, something I've missed since leaving the newsroom.

But I'm offended when I read references to patients who came into an ER as having a "made-up disease" or being a drug seeker. To those folks, unless there's something that shows up on an X-ray or MRI, it can't be real. Migraines, back pain, fibromyalgia -- none of those things exist to some of these docs and nurses, and even if you go to the ER for something else, they would look at you with suspicion if you had a history of those problems until and unless they found clear-cut evidence of a problem (preferably trauma) they considered worthy of their time.

Here's my deep, dark confession: I was relieved last time I saw my rheumatologist and he told his resident that he had crossed fibromyalgia off his list of possible diagnoses for me because of the collection of abnormal blood tests results I'd had.

Don't get me wrong, I respect fibromyalgia as a legitimate illness that causes much pain and suffering, sometimes to the point of total disability. I do not consider it a made-up disease.

But there are so many doctors out there who either don't believe fibromyalgia exists, or who think it's a psychological disorder. And even more laymen who think it's a bogus diagnosis.

Even (especially?) the media has little to no respect for fibromyalgia. Earlier this year, the New York Times (not my favorite newspaper) inflamed the fibromyalgia community with an article about the approval of the drug Lyrica to treat fibromyalgia. The article was insulting to people who suffer with fibromyalgia from its start: "Fibromyalgia is a real disease. Or so says Pfizer ..."

It's bad enough to have an invisible chronic illness and constantly have people saying (or thinking), "But you don't look sick ..." without also having them roll their eyes because they think you're either faking or that it's all in your head.

What does it take to get some respect for the fibromyalgia community? And the rest of the invisible chronic illnesses?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Longest Day

Tuesday was two days after the summer solstice, but it was certainly the longest day I've had in a long time.

My husband, Scott, had one of his rare business trips, with his flight leaving at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday and, thankfully, returning home that night.

His early departure meant that when Ellie woke up at 2 a.m. and called for him, I needed to respond to her instead. We'd discussed his trip with her, but in the middle of the night, she apparently forgot about it and was beyond disappointed to get me instead of him.

"Iiiiiiiiii waaaaaaaaaant Scooooooooooott," she sobbed for just over an hour. (Yes, she tends to call us by our first names, and we're mostly OK with that. Mostly.)

The poor kid eventually cried herself to sleep.

Then it was, I think, the first time I had to get her ready for school/camp/daycare on my own. Since I didn't have a job I needed to get to, we didn't set an alarm and she woke up on her own about 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes later than normal. (And I was grateful for that, and that it wasn't one of her days when she woke up 45 minutes earlier than usual.)

The morning routine went fine -- she was delighted when I let her choose what clothes I would wear for the day -- and I dropped her off at preschool at 7:30 a.m.

I came home and immediately crawled back into bed for a couple hours more sleep, although I would have been happier with five or six more hours sleep. But I had a noon appointment with my internist (who, btw, had not heard of the NIH's Undiagnosed Diseases Program and was excited to hear about it), followed by a meeting with my lawyer to discuss next week's deposition on my 2006 car accident that left me with ongoing back and neck pain.

Back-to-back appointments on any day would have been Too Much for me, particularly such lengthy appointments (almost an hour with the internist, 90 minutes with the lawyer). But this day? I was crazy to even try.

After the lawyer, I went home for a little downtime before picking up Ellie. I had promised her a trip to McDonald's Playland after school, but I knew I just wasn't up to it so I bribed her with a "movie night" instead. She was delighted, since she rarely (if ever -- I can't think of another time) gets to watch DVDs on a week night.

We both enjoyed Enchanted, a movie we've watched several times before. Ellie was great about cooperating with getting ready for bed, but then came the hard part -- going to sleep without Daddy. I had this silly idea that if I let her stay up a bit later than usual, she would be tired and fall asleep faster. Nope!

We hit her bedroom for lights out about 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. I was beyond exhausted at that point, to the point that I was literally shaking/trembling. Ellie was a chatterbox (she gets that from her mom, who was notorious with college roommates for getting chatty as soon as the lights went out), and just didn't settle down the way I hoped she would. She talked, and sang, and fidgeted until finally, around 10 p.m., she finally gave up and fell asleep holding both my hands.

That last part was trickier than it sounds because it hurt even though she wasn't squeezing my hands particularly hard. But it was worth it, since it got her to sleep finally.

I was creeping out of her room about 10:20 p.m., just as I heard Scott coming into the house, a long, long day for both of us.

Today, I'm really paying the piper for putting in a "normal" day yesterday. I find it amazing that when I overdo things, not only do my mystery illness symptoms flare, but so do other ones. I started getting a killer sore throat during Ellie's staying-awake marathon, and by the time I got to sleep myself, I had major congestion and sinus pain.

My lawyer asked yesterday afternoon how I was feeling, and I replied, "Cruddy." Today, I'm wishing to go back to cruddy, which would be a major improvement. :-(


Apologies to those who have left comments lately or sent email, both of which I'm horribly behind on. I will catch up, but it's not looking likely for today.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Blood Draw, Another Bruise

You know it's a bad sign when the lab technician says, "Jeez, you just don't want to clot, do you?!" as she raises your arm in the air and presses with gauze on the site of the blood draw.

My hematologist read his email while on vacation, and I got the call this morning that he'd like to repeat the platelet function test to make sure it wasn't a fluke or a lab error (although with the elevated result from November 2007, it seems unlikely that it was a fluke) as well as to run some autoimmune coagulation tests. Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of those tests today, so I'll have to wait until I get the results to find out exactly what he was looking for.

My hematologist teaches and treats patients at OHSU, Oregon's medical school, so you deal with a lot of students there. A phlebotomy student who finished her coursework and is doing her internship asked if it was all right for her to draw my blood.

I told her no problem, but also alerted her that my veins can be challenging to get a needle into. Then she looked at both my arms, with 4-inch-long, 2-inch-wide bruises at both wrists and a large bruise in my right elbow, and bit her lip.

She felt around tentatively for a vein that wasn't in the center of one of the bruises, before she asked the other tech to trade patients with her. Poor kid. I was fine with letting her try a poke or two on me since I figure students need practice on the people with tricky veins as well as the ones with easy veins. But she didn't want to hurt me by poking me in one of the bruises, and those were the only veins she felt semi-confident of being able to tap.

Her more experienced colleague got lucky on the first poke, and then was determined that she wouldn't add a new bruise, hence the holding my arm up when I didn't clot with normal pressure.

I got only a little bruise where the needle poked me, but I got a series of bruises higher on my arm where she tied the tourniquet.

But what are you going to do when you bruise easily and have for your entire life?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Post-Op Visit: Good; Clotting Ability: Poor

Today was my two-week post-op checkup with my OB who did my D&C and endometrial ablation on June 4.

She said she was pleased with how the procedure went and gave me some photos of the inside of my uterus. The only thing that was at all unusual is apparently the inside of my uterus is heart-shaped. That sounds sweet, but it may have been a contributing factor to my miscarriages. (It's moot now since we no longer plan to expand our family.)

But the abnormal platelet function test that her nurse called me about just a couple days after the procedure is apparently more serious than I realized. The OB was pleased to hear I already have a hematologist, and told me to call him today.

I left a message for his assistant, and got a quick call back. "Your PT is 70?!" she asked. "Do you have it in front of you? Can you fax it to me?" Meanwhile, she was looking at my file on her computer. "It looks like Dr. D was treating you just for anemia. We didn't know you had a bleeding disorder!"

"Well," I replied, "I didn't know that either. And I don't know that I do."

Like my neurologist, Dr. D is out of town on vacation, but he's responding to email sporadically so she expects to have a plan for me tomorrow.

Hm. I guess if I'm not clotting properly -- I'm taking twice as long to clot as it should -- that explains the horrendous bruises I have from my blood patch experience ...

Stay tuned. I'll let y'all know what's up when I hear something.

(FWIW, the OB said that perhaps my difficulty clotting was related to my overall health issues. She says it sometimes becomes an issue for people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases. We'll see. I suspect this is just another in a long line of weird test results that don't lead to a clear diagnosis.)

Edited to Add: I vaguely remembered there being some tests run earlier in my illness because I was freaking out about my bruises. I dug through my very thick file of lab test results and discovered that platelet function tests had been run back in November 2007. At that time, the APTT that's causing concern now was 53.6. I don't know why that didn't get followed up on back then. I faxed over those results to the hematologist as well, so he'll have that much more to contemplate. I'm guessing that I won't be waiting until I'm due for an annual checkup on my MGUS before I see him again ...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More About Undiagnosed Diseases Program

I'm not sure why I'm getting all excited about this since I've got to clear a huge hurdle to get chosen for the program. And there's no guarantee even if I get accepted that they will be able to diagnose me.

But I just think it's so cool that there's a program like this for all the medical mysteries out there. (And please, President Obama & Congress, don't cut its funding!)

Anyway, I wanted to share a link to a New York Times Magazine article about the program (featuring an Oregonian no less!) that was published back in February. I'm shocked none of my relatives or friends saw it and pointed it out to me back then, but thanks to Shiri for telling me about it in the comments of my last post! (Note, you may need to register with the NYT to view the article on the website, but it's free.)

OTOH, after reading the article, I suspect I'm not nearly sick enough to qualify for the program. But that's OK. I like knowing it's out there, and I'll bring the information about it to my internist next week and see if she thinks I'm worth offering as a candidate to the NIH. (I wonder if my rheumatologist would go on the record as saying that perhaps I've got a previously unknown/undiagnosed disease and that's why they're having trouble figuring out what's wrong with me and how to treat it.)


Just wanted to update that yesterday's blood patch was worth getting up at dawn for -- the head and neck pain disappeared by the time I woke up from the light sedation the doc administered.

The only odd part is apparently they had a lot of trouble getting blood out of me for the patch. I was lying on my stomach, face down like on a massage table, and my arms dangling off the sides of the table. My last memory is of one of the nurses tying my arm to aid in getting a blood sample, and the anesthesiologist saying the vein in the center of my right elbow looked like a likely candidate.

I'm always a little challenging to get blood from, but there are four needle marks in bend of my right elbow, two on my right wrist and two to three on my left wrist. I've got huge, horrible bruises on both wrists, which are a little sore and I've been icing.

Meanwhile, I'm learning yet again the benefits of social media. I'm on Facebook and Twitter, like the rest of the world. (I'm very dull on Twitter and don't use it extensively.)

But yesterday, someone I didn't know sent me a tweet asking if I was familiar with the National Institute of Health's Undiagnosed Diseases Program. I'd never heard of it, but luckily the guy gave me a link and wow! I've already printed out the letter to physicians so I can take it with me when I see my internist next week. It's a lot of work for her, but I'm hopeful she'll agree to do the referral I need.

If I'm accepted into the program, the costs of meeting with lots of top doctors and doing whatever tests they want to run is free to me, and the program might even pick up my travel costs. And while they make it clear that they cannot guarantee a diagnosis for every patient in the program, it seems like if I'm seeing doctors who specialize in rare and/or difficult to diagnose diseases, I stand a better chance of getting a diagnosis.

Cross your fingers for me, everyone! And if, like me, you've got a mystery illness, follow the link for the program and consider asking your doctor for a referral for it too!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blood Patch, Here I Come!

So after repeated phone calls today, the consensus among the medical professionals was that yes, I have a spinal headache, and yes, I need a so-called blood patch.

My neurologist is on vacation (of course!), so one of her partners talked to me about what was going on. I had hoped that maybe since I'd held out for five days that it meant it would go away by itself very soon. Instead, she told me that the fact that it hadn't gone away yet nor lessened meant that it was highly unlikely to go away on its own.

Live and learn, I guess. I wonder if I could get into med school based at least partly on all I've learned during the two years I've been chronically ill ...

So, now I have to get myself to NE Portland (I live in SW) by 6:45 a.m. tomorrow. Sigh. And I'm supposed to have a driver, which means I'm messing up Scott's morning in a big way with very little notice. :-(

I am grateful that they got me in so quickly. The reason for the ungodly early hour for the procedure is the anesthesiologist is squeezing me in before the start of his day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spinal Headache?

I had my lumbar puncture/spinal tap on Wednesday, and it wasn't as bad an experience as I'd feared it might be.

Of course, getting the darn thing was practically a comedy of errors.

I was surprised that the hospital hadn't called me to pre-register since it was going to be done in their short-stay surgical unit. (Yes, many doctors do these in their offices. However, when a doc has her office in a hospital's medical building, chances are all her procedures will be done at the hospital.)

My parents are visiting from Chicago so my father went along to be my designated driver afterwards, which was great since it meant Scott didn't have to miss work.

We were running a little late (my fault), so I was feeling extra anxious when we arrived and it turned out that the check-in people didn't have me on their list as scheduled. Luckily, I brought along my letter from my doctor's office telling me when I was scheduled and what to expect.

So they figured out who I was and got my paperwork ready. It wasn't long before my name was called and I was led back to a room and told to disrobe and put on a gown. The nurse came in, took my vitals, and told me she would call my neurologist to let her know I was there.

Somehow, I hadn't brought a book along. How the heck did that happen? So I watched old TV while I waited. And waited. And waited.

I was told to check in at 1:45 p.m., 45 minutes before the procedure was supposed to occur. At 4 p.m., the nurse poked her head in and asked if the doctor had been by. She hadn't, so the nurse called her office again. Turns out, the neurologist had already left for her son's graduation. (High school, I think.)

So she asked me if I wanted to re-schedule or to have an anesthesiologist I'd never met do the procedure instead. I opted for the doctor I'd never met, figuring it was more convenient to have it done while I was already there. When I made that choice, I assumed he was in the hospital.

But no. He needed to come from his office. So I waited some more and watched more bad TV.

The procedure was not exactly pain-free, but it wasn't as bad as I feared based on my experience with an epidural during my labor with Ellie back in 2004. The doctor very helpfully cooperated with my attempts to distract myself by telling me all about why he chose his specialty. (He started his residency in general surgery but new residents didn't get to do anything and the surgeons were nasty but a really nice anesthesiologist chatted to him during a surgery and invited him to do whatever it is the anesthesiologist was doing, and that was that. He switched his focus. Plus, he says, surgeons have to stand for up to 12 hours during surgeries and he didn't like being on his feet that long. :-)

What surprised me, I guess, was that unlike when blood is drawn and it's a quick process, it took about 20 minutes for the spinal fluid to drip out the tube in my back and fill up four test-tubes.

Apparently about 30 percent of people who have LPs get what's called a spinal headache, which eases or goes away entirely when the person lies down. The nurse told me there'd be no question if I had a spinal headache because it would be the Worst Headache Ever.

So I think I was in denial about whether or not that's what was happening to me, but now I'm pretty sure that's what I've got, if only because lying flat makes the headache and dizziness fade to background discomfort.

The cure is what's called a "blood patch," where the doctor takes some of my blood and puts it into the same place he put the needle for the spinal tap. Although I'm hoping that since I've been putting up with it for so long that when I call tomorrow, he'll tell me that it's almost over anyway ...

I'm not particularly eager to have another needle put in my back!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Biopsies Normal

Got the call this morning from my OB's nurse to let me know that just about everything looked fine from the tests they ran.

The polyps they biopsied were normal, as were most of my lab tests. The only question was about my platelet function test, which was abnormal. Normal is 22-35, and mine was 70.

So they want me to retake the test in two weeks, when it will hopefully be normal.

If not, I'm guessing I'll be going back to see my hematologist. Good thing I have one that I like. :-)

Meanwhile, I have my post-op appointment June 18, but everything is going fine so that will just be a formality.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Good Surgery

Just an update to let everyone know that my surgery yesterday went fine with no complications of any kind.

I got some pain meds at the hospital in my IV right after I woke up, and one 5 mg oxycodone at that time, but I haven't taken anything else other than ibuprofin (shhh! don't tell my gastroenterologist about that!). And today, the only new pain I have is a very sore throat from the breathing tube the anesthesiologist put in.

No cramps, no bleeding, nada.

My legs are still a little wobbly from the anesthesia, which always seems to linger for me, and I'm even more tired than normal, but I have to say that it's a better day-after-surgery than I've ever had before!! Oh, and this is the first of my seven surgeries that I didn't wake up from the anesthesia in a major asthma attack. Woohoo!! :-)

I hope to get the biopsy results when I see my OB for my June 18 post-surgical check up, but it's unlikely the polyps were anything but benign.

And hopefully this will put an end to my trouble keeping my iron levels up!!

Not-So-Happy Anniversary to Me

Two years ago today, I woke up in the wee hours feeling feverish. First I had the shivers, then the sweats lasted for hours. It was great timing because we were scheduled to fly that afternoon to Chicago for my niece Becca's high school graduation.

When it was time to get up and start getting ready, I literally couldn't lift my head out of bed much less get up. My husband, who wasn't fully healthy either, got to take care of my 2.5-year-old while also canceling our flights, hotels and rental car and notifying my family what happened.

It was three days later when I finally felt well enough to drag myself to the doctor to find out what the heck had knocked me on my butt. She diagnosed double pneumonia, put me on antibiotics and sent me home, where, essentially, I just never got better.

A month later, I was hospitalized after showing up in the ER with what I feared was a heart attack but wasn't. They admitted me because my heart rate was through the roof and my oxygen saturation plummeted whenever I was mobile. I stayed in the hospital for eight days while they ran test after test that ruled out most likely causes to kill me, and then sent me home with no answers, feeling worse than when I arrived.

A week or so later, we enrolled Ellie in full-time daycare because it was apparent I wasn't going to be able to take care of her on my own anytime soon. We assumed it was a temporary measure and planned to take her out before a trip to Chicago on Labor Day weekend to give my niece the beautiful butterfly quilt I had made for her graduation gift.

Of course, that trip got canceled too (albeit not at the last minute), and the quilt was shipped to Becca instead.

And here we are, two years later, and I'm still sick and Ellie is still in full-time daycare and we still don't have a diagnosis or treatment plan.

Happy anniversary?

I don't think so. I look forward to celebrating the anniversary of when we figure out what the heck is wrong with me and, ideally, curing it. Or at least finding a way to treat it that give me back the ability to fully participate in my daughter's life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Biopsy Taken

I saw the dermatologist today -- another likeable, good doc my internist found for me -- and she leaned toward thinking the weird white bumps on my right knee are either secondary milia or caused by foreign objects that didn't get cleaned up properly when I injured it.

To be sure, she went ahead and took a small biopsy of one of the bumps.

She initially was going to just take a shaving to look at it under a microscope to see if it was normal milia or not. But when I mentioned my mystery illness and that my rheumatologist was fascinated by the rash, she decided to take a larger biopsy that went deeper than a shaving would so it could be tested for autoimmune diseases. It would not be the first time someone got diagnosed with one of the autoimmune disease thanks to a dermatologist doing a seemingly unrelated biopsy.

The only annoying part is she put in a single stitch on the biopsy site because of the depth of it, so I have to go back for a 5-minute appointment to get the stitch out. The really annoying part is we're going to be at her office on June 12 for an appointment for my daughter, and I asked if I could have the stitch out at the same time, but it's two days too soon. Sigh. (I plan to have them look at it and hopefully for once in my life I'll heal quickly so they'll decide they can go ahead and take it out for me while I'm there and save me a trip!

Anyway, the dermatologist said that because of my mystery illness, she was going to send my biopsy to the best guy in town to figure out if there's anything else going on in it. It was nice to have her take it all quite seriously.

Other than that, we discussed the return of my childhood eczema, and she prescribed some ointment for me for that. She did the whole-body scan and commented on my lack of moles. :-) I've got a lot of freckles, but no real moles, which I guess is unusual in someone as fair-skinned as I am and who has been sunburnt as badly (and frequently) as I was in my youth. (I don't tan. And I've finally learned not to even try, but I think I was in my late 20s before it really sunk in.)

Yesterday's dental appointment was fine -- no new cavities, thankfully! But the dentist doesn't like the look of some of my older amalgam fillings. He recommended I replace one of them with a crown before it ends up breaking on me at some point. So it's going on my to-do list for when I have time, energy and money to deal with non-urgent health matters, like the sinus surgery I keep getting told I need.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Look At All The Pretty Colors

I had my EEG today, and hope to hear from the neurologist by the end of the week.

It was kind of a wild experience in some ways.

They had a recliner for me to sit in. There were 26 sensors attached to my face and head after the technician spent what felt like a long time measuring my head and marking with a red grease pencil in various places (including the bridge of my nose!).

Then I settled back in the recliner and answered a few questions: "What's your full name?" "Where are you right now?" "Count backwards from 10."

Then she settled a rectangular light just a few inches from my face and told me to close my eyes for the rest of the test. The strobe light went off for brief periods with different speed levels.

The rest, of course, was just sitting still and trying to relax with my eyes closed, which was harder than I expected. I kept listening for the tech's typing, which would come at what seemed like random periods. She also had water running in the room from a sink faucet, which just drove me nuts. :-)

Afterward, I asked her how many bulbs were in the lamp. She told me there was just one, a white light. But I saw color changes through my eyelids. It started out (through closed eyes) as a vivid red, then changed to blue and then green. And wow -- the patterns it made were fascinating. My favorite was a pattern of dotted curved lines, almost like flower petals, that moved, radiating from the center outwards. It was almost hypnotizing.