So it is the Sunday before my first Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT for short) this is the first of eight. Two a week on Monday’s and Thursday’s, I’m old hat at this. As I have had it in two blocks of treatment over the last seven years.
If I am going to be honest I am scared, literally packing it. I have been frustrated over the last few days and I am definitely worrying about the Girls on holidays for two weeks of the treatments. I am lucky that the youngest has kindergarten so some of the pressure is off.
With people’s perceptions of ECT coming from stories they have read or movies they have watched it’s not surprising the reactions of family and friends when I have broached the subject. Even telling them for the third time has been a struggle to break it all down.
ECT has always been my last resort. After so many months trying to get help it has become my saving grace. It is sad for me to say but I have pinned my whole recovery on the ECT working and then having my new focus on working through the issues, breaking the barriers down and taking some much needed steps towards managing and maintaining my Bipolar frame of mind.
Although the perception of ECT is mostly negative there a lots of new and different protocols in place to make sure it is the right kind of treatment for you. I had to fill out a small tonne of paperwork to consent to it and at any moment I wish I can change the consent and stop treatment which gives me a sense of control over what is happening. I haven’t had much control lately especially with my suicidal thoughts and depressed state of mind.
Well, yesterday was my first treatment of electroshock therapy. Everything happened the way I remember.
With the car full with all three kids MC drove me the twenty-five minutes to the hospital. The drive felt like I went in slow motion. The kids were being noisy and arguing, but they were happy so I tried my best to focus on the first shock. I ringed my hands and fidgeted for the whole trip. MC tried to hold my hand and rub my neck but I was descending into the plastic bubble of protection that I so often hide in.
When we arrived at the hospital at 7.30am my family entourage escorted me to locked double doors of the day surgery. It was at this point everything starts flooding back.
Shoes off and get up onto the hospital bed. I get swarmed, checks from three different nurses with my “name, date of birth and do you know what your are having today”. Next I get a cannula inserted onto my left hand, I love how they say “just a scratch’, that is a lie. Then the orderly puts the pads down the sides of the bed to protect me when I seizure. Now that I have been moved to the operating room I am prodded and poked everywhere. Heart monitors on, oxygen mask on and now I have the conductors pressing against my head and they made me realise that there is no turning back. A nurse from the ward overseas all ECT and she was saying encouraging words to me as I am being pressed to take even deeper breaths, keep my eyes open and then the distinctive smell of the anaesthetic and I’m off.
… As I stir from the anaesthetic wearing off the orderly is back to move me to the recovery room. When we get there I’m told to go slowly and get into the chair. I am covered in a disposable blanket with heat packs stitched inside. I am offered a cuppa, but I prefer water, and a cheese and ham sandwich and a couple of bickies. MC gets called to come in and pick me up and take me home.
We eat in a nearby food court and I stuff myself with a huge kebab and then we head home where I sleep until seven pm. I wake up with incredible body aches and pains and I know this is one of side effects.
I must rest until Thursday when I go in for number two
A work in progress!