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.


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