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Permanent Link: The Booster Shock (the sixteenth treatment)

Posted Jun 29 2009 12:00am

Today I had my first maintence ECT treatment. My sister accompanies me to the hospital. This whole process really doesn’t take long. You get to the hospital around 8am, have ECT around 9am, then you’re out of there around 10am. Still, I owe her a debt of gratitude for having to take her older sister, of all places, to a psychiatric hospital.

Because it’s been about three months since the last treatment, I first sign some papers and then am escorted to the ECT prep room. The preparation is very simple. They check my vitals and I am asked to put on a gown over the clothing I have on. I guess the gown’s for formality. I wait in the room for a little bit. They’re playing R&B love songs in the room. I guess they want us to ‘get in the mood for  this procedure. Soon, a nurse takes me to the ECT treatment room, which is set up kind of like a gasoline station, with curtains between each patient bed-all of us hoping for fuel that’ll keep us going. Dr. H, the anesthesiologist, and some of the nurses all remember me. It’s comforting to have familiar faces around me, though it really means that I was there a long enough last time for them to still remember who I was.  The nurse puts some monitoring patches on my body, then inserts the port for the anesthesia and muscle relaxant into my right arm. Dr. F, my soft-spoken new ECT psychiatrist, enters the room and speaks with me.

A couple students are ushered into the ECT room right before my turn for the little spark. Dr. H tells them, “We’re about to do the procedure on her right now.” The students, who are probably younger than I am, surround my bed. Before I could say hello, Dr. H injects me with Brevital, the anesthesia, as he tells me I’m going for a little nap. I am out within a second; I’m always so amazed how quickly anesthesia works on the human body.

I wake up maybe 40 minutes later. I realize I have no clue what day or month I’m in. As a nurse comes to check on me, I ask him. He tells me that it’s June 29. I am later wheeled back into the prep room for a final vitals check. Before I am wheeld out to the car, they hand me an envelope with some directions, and most importantly to me, the date for my next ECT: Monday, July 6.

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