So apparently this weird reflex thing that happened at the doctor's office on Thursday is called the "Babinski Response" (also the "Babinski Reflex," "Babinski's Sign," or the "extensor plantar reflex"), and it bodes very ill. I guess this explains why my doctor's eyes went so wide and her mouth made this tense line and she started frantically scribbling about referring me to a neurologist.
The thing where I slap my thigh and my leg kicks up looks like it might possibly be "Austregesilo and Esposel's Sign," whatever the hell that is (I couldn't find any but one reference to it), but it's closely related to the Babinski Response -- mostly the same thing, actually.
Apparently, these are both signs of "pyramidal syndrome," which apparently has nothing to do with Egypt or cool historical feline-worshipping artifcats, or even governmental diet recommendations, but is rather a problem with the pyramidal tracts of the central nervous system, which connect the spinal cord and the brain, controlling voluntary movements of the body.
Apparently, this "Babinski's Response" and its implied "pyramidal syndrome" can be caused by various different things. These are all the ones I saw listed on the many sites I visited.
Causes that seem extremely unlikely in my case:
Causes that I can't entirely rule out:
Spinal cord defect or tumor
Pernicious anemia (seems unlikely since I'm not currently anemic, but who knows)
Tuberculosis (seems unlikely, based on expected symptoms)
I will note that none of the many websites I consulted about Babinski's Response said absolutely anything about it possibly being caused by something minor, something that would go away on its own, something that shoudln't necessarily cause tremendous worry. It looks like the presence of Babinski's Response is a pretty sure sign of BAD THINGS.
It's a bad sign -- right? -- that none of the websites -- and I do mean none -- pooh pooh the phenomenon and say it could be nothing. It seems like a very bad sign.
So. Kidney disease. Now, a couple months later, something as-yet-undefined-but-definitely-not-good with my central nervous system. Why? What the hell does the universe have against me right now?
I'm pretty much freaked out. Well, not "pretty much" … let's say definitely freaked out. Strongly freaked out. Overwhelmingly freaked out. I've taken quite a bit of xanax, and I'm now planning to take a nap -- clasping my stuffed tiger, Sasha -- which hopefully will involve no dreams at all, unless they consist entirely of rainbows, ice cream, hugs from friends, double tulips, African daisies, gentle breezes, laughter, friendly fuzzy animals, and maybe a burbling stream somewhere in there.