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Ketamine Infusion #3

Yesterday I had several hours where I was more alert, involved and could formulate and explain my thoughts. My therapist told me I seemed a bit more together. By the early evening though I began to feel irritable and sad. I knew those hours when I felt clearer were a good sign and my doctors confirmed that this morning before they began my infusion.

I was nervous before they started and once it began that heaviness came over me and I felt as if I were watching everything from outside of myself. I began to cry as I looked at the clock and saw it was the time when I would wait with my daughter for the school bus. I did not see her this morning as I had to be at the hospital very early. I cried more when I thought of her and missed her so much. I focused on her face and what it feels like when I kiss her cheeks, her soft, perfect skin. I focused on her smile. I cried harder. The nurse asked if I was okay and I told her I was but I was aware that I felt scared and not okay. The doctor reassured me.

I then thought of how I am such a burden on my husband, daughter, family and friends. I felt trapped in the bed in the room as if this is my life now and my existence consists of being outside of myself. I cried more.

I looked around and all I wanted was comfort and while the doctors and nurses provided it to me, it wasn’t enough. I wanted and needed more. I could not feel it. I started to imagine my therapist coming toward me and reassuring me. It felt slightly real although I was not hallucinating. I think I was trying to feel a connection to someone or something. I then cried more, feeling so unsatisfied.

The infusion ended and I was glad as I regained myself. It really is such an odd experience and while it is not terrible, it is certainly not enjoyable. Some do enjoy it, some sob throughout, it depends on the person. I do think it is beginning to help me though and that is all that really matters. I have a life, a beautiful life that I want to live in from inside of myself, not outside looking in.

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Ketamine Infusion #2

As my friend drove, I tried to be with her in the car in conversation. It was difficult. I felt very anxious about my treatment. I walked into the treatment room upon arrival as they were ready for me. I sat on the bed and shivered as I took off my shoes. The room was freezing! I jokingly complained and the nurse agreed with me. I was asked some questions by the doctor and then completed a self-report about my mood. The IV was inserted and the infusion began. The lights were dimmed and after a few minutes I started to feel that sense of slowness.

It was quiet and aside from the nurses checking on me, I was left alone. While I was fine with that, after a little while, I began to cry. I had so many thoughts in my head which were heightened. The nurse brought me tissues and kept checking on me. There was a point when I had an itch on my head and the process of taking my arm from under the blanket and moving it up in order to scratch felt so slow and odd. I almost asked the nurse if I was okay as if I could not gauge myself. It was a little scary.

The infusion finished and within a few minutes I started to feel a bit clearer. I spoke with the doctor who assured me that crying during the treatment is no indication of whether the infusions will help or not. He said there are some patients who sob during the infusions but a few hours later feel good. That allayed my fears.

It’s been several hours since I completed the infusion and I feel tired and sad. I am hopeful and ready to feel sparks of feeling better.

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Ketamine Infusion #1

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.