We drove in almost silence. His hand in mine while he drove. I felt numb and nothingness. We arrived and I felt such sadness. Walking into the hospital, where I have been inpatient and received ECT, I felt traumatized and scared. We took the elevator to the basement to check in and as we walked out of the elevator, the smell overcame me. It sparked my memories of walking down the same hall for ECT. I checked in and then underwent cognitive testing for 30 minutes. I had to remember a bunch of words, over and over again and then remember cards simulating different games. I did not do terribly but I did not do too well.
After they walked me to the room where I would receive the infusion, which happens to be the same room where ECT is done. I had to say goodbye to Ken and his hug and kiss was what I needed. The doctor walked me in but the bed was actually not ready. He led me to the waiting area and I began to sob. Ken had already gone out to get some breakfast and I sat alone. Luckily it was only a few minutes and the doctor retrieved me and I walked in to the room where I received ECT treatments, the room that had the same smell. The two nurses who greeted me were known to me as they also work with ECT patients. That helped. As they hooked me up to monitor my heart rate and blood pressure, I continued to sob. I was so sad and so scared. It felt as if this were my very last hope at feeling well. Doctors came in and out and when the medical director came by, who has always followed me when I have been inpatient, I felt a bit of relief. I told him I was scared. He said the only side effect would be that I would feel better. I laughed. It was typical of something he would say. I was so glad and thankful he came to talk to me.
They started the IV infusion and I clenched the dirty tissues in my hands. After a few minutes, everything felt slow and unreal. The nurses and I talked and it felt as if I could not stop talking. I hadn’t been that talkative in months! The doctor came by and said I seemed to be very talkative and he said some people experience that during the infusion. People (nurses, doctors, medical student) came by and talked to me, treated me as a human, supported and comforted me. I could not move my head too much as it felt as if my head was stuck. It was not upsetting just strange. There were some quiet times and I was aware of my surroundings but also felt like an observer of my own experience. Time felt slow but before I knew it, the IV finished and I was done. Within minutes I started to regain myself. I was able to turn my head normally. My blood pressure went down. Then I was released. I will return on Tuesday. I may feel a positive reaction after this one treatment or it may take more. I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself.
As Ken and I walked out of the hospital, the medical director was also walking out. He was glad my treatment went well and it seemed fitting to see him as we left. He is not just a very intelligent psychiatrist, he is such a genuine human being.
It’s only been a few hours since my treatment ended. I have eaten and taken a walk on this beautiful day. I am feeling a bit sad right now but I am here and I will continue to do everything in my power to get better.