ECT: Day One
I wrote down some notes in a notebook on my first morning of ECT, since I figured I would not remember it later. Though I just completed my 11th day of ECT today, I’ll go back to my notes on the very first day.
4:45 A.M. June 5th
Notes: Hey Alice, you remember these? You wrote them! No, really. Weirdly you have not had as many freakout meltdowns the last couple of days. I predict spaz out by 8 AM, but who knows? You probably don’t! My gosh, you are twisted, Alice.
Scared? Yeah but it’s been such a long journey. Like Han Solo said in reply to notice of his “Execution at dawn.” “Oh good – I hate long waits.” Been trying to remember the song “Memory”. From a show about cats. I have this. “Mem-ory! La la la la la la la laaaaaa!”
Great start, Alice.
In writing notes for another post I got nervous. Paying for a seizure? This sounds like a colossally bad idea. What if I get pudding brains later? I am vain about me brain.
Forgot to write down where the procedure will be done for sure. Good one!
5:65 er 5:16 now. O.K. I am scared. Also hungry. No food till after.
But – scared.
Road to Dallas:
You might be wondering what Dallas is like. The city is big, and full of traffic, and six hours from my home town. They made an entire prime time soap about it!
The real Dallas is exactly like the show. My shrink was J.R.
Just kidding. The shrink was actually nice. All of them were nice from the psychiatrists to the nurses to the guys that wheeled me out when the treatment was over. They don’t want you to fall on your face when you wake up, so you get taken out by chair. You will be fairly out of it, but you won’t forget your name or birthday or the awful stuff that happened to you in first grade, so nice try. They will ask you who you are before they even put you under. Heck they even ask each other what they’re doing first, just to make sure. “What procedure is this? Oh, yeah. Right lateral ECT.”
They do care if you keep your memory or not. I know because I got mine tested over and over, which was difficult since my memory kind of sucked to begin with and now I was purposely shooting up my brain. Each time I came for another treatment I got another test. Remember these three random words while I go on talking about other stuff. After a while you can try to guess them because it’s often something like a fruit or a piece of furniture or a kind of currency. It won’t hurt to try any of these things if you’re clueless like I usually am.
When you go into the procedure room, they give you oxygen and put sleep juice and whatever else you can convince them to add into your I.V. After you’re out, they put goopy gel (back to the 80s!) in your hair to attach the electrode thingys. The goop itches like Hades and will hang around until you bother to wash it out. But at least you aren’t biting on a chew toy. At least not that I remember anyway. Nor did I wet my pants. These were concerns of mine.
The first time I woke up I was confused and waiting for them to start the treatment before I realized they’d already done it. I didn’t feel a difference immediately. It took a few weeks before I could look back and realize that I was feeling better. Why was I feeling better? I have no idea. But I’m grateful both for the help and for the people who stood by me while I got it. I found new appreciation for these people in my life. I can’t promise ECT will help anyone else, but I would certainly encourage them to try it. Just watch for cars and rattlesnakes if you’re in Dallas.