Nov. 25, 2013: Treatment #3

I think I’m actually feeling a little better. It’s kind of hard to believe. I have a bit of a headache, which I think is a mild migraine rather than a headache from the treatment because it’s only on one side.

I’m actually feeling ambitious, like I want to get a job application together and do some tidying up around the house. I guess that’s the proof in the pudding, as it’s quite different from wanting to lie on the couch and cry all day. I’m relieved that I don’t have to go back to work before Christmas though, as I want to get some solid ground underneath me instead of tackling things as soon as I get the least little bit of headway.

Nov. 23, 2013: Day After Treatment #2

I got up for an hour early this morning, then took a migraine med and went back to bed. Now I’m awake, but feeling kind of oddly disoriented. I can’t believe I’m only two treatments in. I can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like when I’ve basically been either under anesthetic or recovering from anesthetic every day for a couple of weeks.

Nov. 22, 2013: Treatment #2

Today was much more disconcerting. I woke up in the recovery room and I didn’t remember waking up the first time. When you first come out of anesthetic, they make sure that you are okay and alert. I don’t remember that at all. I just remember waking up in my little curtained cubicle by myself.

Then I had some memory loss. I couldn’t remember if I had a job and if so, what it was. It’s as if you are trying to remember something that’s 20 years in the past but wasn’t an important piece of information to begin with, like the kid’s name who sat in the back corner of your grade 2 class. I did remember after a few minutes that I had a job and what it was, but then I couldn’t quite remember what my house looks like. Anyway, I went to go sit in the waiting room and realized that I had a headache, although it wasn’t a migraine but rather a regular headache on both sides of my head.

When my ex came to pick me up & sign me out, the nurse said “we’ll see you Monday” and I said “Monday?” and the nurse looked at me and said “it’s Friday.” Then she commented that I was a little worse today. Well, I can’t argue with that.

I don’t feel any different moodwise yet. Some of the accounts I’ve read of ECT have people saying that when they woke up they realized that something had lifted, but that’s not the case for me yet. I really hope that this works in the next few treatments, because if it doesn’t they’ll switch to bilateral ECT and that’s much harder on the brain.

Nov. 21, 2013: Day After Treatment #1

Morning: My neck is still pretty sore today. However, my migraine is gone. I’m quite tired. In fact, I’m surprised at how tired I am. I have an appointment with Deanna (my psychologist) at 1:00, which I want to go to, and then I think I’ll probably nap for the rest of the day.

Afternoon: I went to Value Village this morning and bought a long sleeved cotton blue button up shirt. I didn’t want to use any of my regular shirts for ECT. None of my long shirts are very cozy, they’re just cotton blouses. And, I don’t really want to use a shirt or hoodie that I like, in case I grow to associate it with being in the ward and having the treatment.

9:30 pm: i’m anxious about tomorrow.

Nov. 20, 2013: Treatment #1

7:40 AM
My psychiatrist was up here; he said I wouldn’t notice a difference for a few sessions. then I went back and Teresa (one of the ECT nurses) took my vitals. I’m in a gown that I couldn’t figure out how to put together because it doesn’t have arms until you snap it up.

I was still in my “maybe I’m fine, maybe I don’t need this” mood until I was changed into my gown and Teresa asked me to rate my mood; I started to cry and said that I hated crying in public and that the pod was awfully public. So much for fine. I rated my mood as 3 out of 10.

I had to have a shot of sodium citrate to “reduce secretions” (that sounds gross right?) and it tasted like salty lemon juice. In a bad way, not a yum-with-tequila way.

I am so bagged, I only slept intermittently last night and woke up at 4 AM the last couple of nights before.

what else? Teresa said if I was emotional now, I’d likely be emotional after treatment too. So, worst case scenario, I wake up in a puddle of pee and start crying and have no idea WTF is going on. Awesome.

8:00 AM
Katie (the other ECT nurse) came out to get my consent and asked how I was feeling. I was telling her about how I was all like “I don’t need this” at first when I was with Teresa, and I started crying all over again right here in the pod. I’ll be one of the last treated this morning, so probably an hour to wait.

10:45 AM
They set me up for the treatment amazingly fast. They were 4 or 5 people in the treatment room, and they asked me to lay down and then took my glasses off. After that, everything happened really fast, like a pit crew… Someone was taking my sock off (so they could watch my foot twitch), while the anesthetist and some student or resident or something were starting an IV in my right hand. Then someone on my left side was putting leads on my chest and head.

They told me to tilt my chin up so that it wouldn’t feel like the oxygen mask was pressing down on me, and the anesthetist explained that pure oxygen smelled like old boots and that was perfectly normal. I wouldn’t say it smelled like old boots exactly, but I would have expected it to smell like metallic ionized air, and it doesn’t at all.

Then they told me to breathe deeply. After I’d taken a couple breaths, they told me that I was going to become sleepy. Then the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.

When I woke up I was really tearful, in fact, crying so hard I couldn’t speak. There were three or four people around my bed and one guy was like “What’s wrong? We can’t help you if you don’t tell us what’s wrong.” And I was like “If this doesn’t work, the only alternative is suicide.” They told me to breathe and calm down — deep breaths, the magic crisis cure! I was obviously out of it or wouldn’t have started spouting off like that in the first place.

I don’t have any memory loss. I remember the time I spent in the waiting room before the treatment. Also I didn’t pee myself. Go, me.

Now my neck is really sore, so the nurse gave me 400 mg of Advil.

I had a migraine once I got home, which is not surprising considering I was overtired, stressed out, and dehydrated. I slept on and off for the rest of the day.

Nov. 19, 2013: No Electronics Allowed

I have a hardcopy journal that I’m going to be writing in while I’m actually at the hospital. They don’t allow electronic devices in the pod, which is the central waiting room/communal area when you first walk into the psych unit. Then I’m dictating  it once I get home.

My thought is if I forget stuff, then I’ll have this diary to help me.

Nov. 18, 2013: The Anesthesia Consult

I had my anesthesia consult today, so I will start treatment tomorrow morning. i’ve packed myself a little bag, with a blank journal, a book of puzzles, and something to read.

The anesthetist was this tiny, delicately boned lady with this gorgeous Irish accent. She greeted me and asked me how I was doing and I replied “fine thanks”, and she squeezed my arm and said “if that were true you wouldn’t be here would you?”

She explained that there was no difference between an anesthetist and an anesthesiologist, which cleared up one mystery at least. or rather, that although the different terms are used in different areas, there is no practical difference. She said that where they have nurse anesthetists, like the US, they are less likely to use the same title for (for lack of a better word) doctor anesthetists.

As I hoped, they have no concerns with giving me general anesthetic.

I also met the two ECT nurses. One is young and fun, while the other is middle-aged, and they both seem nice.