Throwback Thursday #8: ECT #1

Throwback Thursdays feature relevant posts (of about 20) from a private, online journal I kept last fall. They chronicle my time during a depressive episode, which led to another round of  ECT. You’ll read firsthand what that was like for me. The entries are slightly edited for clarity, and with regard to anonymity.


NOTE: The ECT machine pictured here is not identical to the one used at ECT Hospital, but its appearance is close. Also, I describe how the actual procedure is done from start to finish in my previous post. And, as stated on my About page, I don’t advocate for or against using ECT. I’m just sharing my experience.

ECT #1 – October 31, 2016

Well, #1 this time around, anyway. I think I was more anxious than the anxiety anyone would feel who was about to have ECT, but I was especially anxious today because I didn’t want This One Nurse to prepare me. She’s slow: last time, the nurse anesthetist had to check several times if I had an IV yet so they could give me my pre-meds (a blood pressure med because my BP historically increases during the procedure, and something else). I didn’t have one because This One Nurse was taking her time with her first patient and chit-chatting with him to boot (he was another “regular”). So by the time she got to me, she didn’t even get to enter into the computer the meds I currently take and the last time I took them, which is something the anesthesia people need to know. I vowed that next time, I would go to a different stall, instead of one of the last two, which are closest to the rooms where they do the ECT, and in which she worked the last two times I was there.

When we arrived, those were the only stalls left, though. There were also many more inpatients getting treated than usual, so there was a lot of activity at that end of the hall. I was also afraid that I’d get This One Nurse. So I started crying — like, sobbing — which I’ve never done there. ECT Doctor 2, who was on rotation, came to see why. Then ECT Nurse 1, who I trust, entered my stall, which meant This One Nurse wasn’t going to do my prep. So I just told them the reason I was upset was because it was too loud.

Apparently, they now have a nurse whose only duty, it seems, is to put the electrodes on my head, which the doctor usually does. When they were about to start, she asked me in Spanish if I was ok (she’s white). I was confused as to why she was talking to me in Spanish. She must have thought I’m Hispanic because of my last name, which I thought was presumptuous. I told her — in English — that I’m Filipino-American, which flustered her haha!

When I awoke, I told ECT Nurse 1 how I feel about This One Nurse, and she said she’d do what she can to make sure I don’t get her in the future. And just in case, I won’t go into one of the last two stalls even if it means I don’t get treated first or second. I don’t really know which stalls This One Nurse will be assigned to, but I’m not taking chances. I like her as a person, but she isn’t thorough. No, thank you.

When we got home, I didn’t crash on the couch as usual, which I thought was strange. I usually spend most of the day sleeping off the anesthesia. Not today, although I did nap for about an hour and woke up just a little while ago.

It’s too early to tell if the ECT is working. Hopefully it will be by the end of the week.

Photo credit: niftyniall via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

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