Monday I began the wonderful world of maintenance ECT at Sibley Memorial Hospital. While it was the same treatment I received at Suburban Hospital it was worlds different at Sibley. To begin with there were appointment times. I mean, it wasn't first come, first served. It was lovely not feeling it necessary to leave the house at 5:10 am to get there at 5:20 am to make sure you were one of the first taken back to the stretchers. I practically waltzed into the Psych department at 7:40 am.
So that brings us to the second difference. The ECT area is in the In-Patient Psych Ward. I did not like that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've done my time in-patient. But man I DO NOT want to have flashbacks to those times. Keep me outside of the locked doors thank you very much. I did not like that part of the set up. I think Sibley is working on finding a new space for ECT to keep it out of the locked ward.
The third major difference is that they do not make you put on a hospital gown. You stay in your comfy clothes, sitting in a chair, until they call you back for your turn. Even then you don't change out of your clothes. It's lovely actually. I did wish they could have started the IV when I was with my mother, but they took a precursory look at my arms and declared that there were no viable veins and that the anesthesiologist would insert the IV.
So when it is your turn they call your name and you walk back to the treatment room. You hop up on the stretcher and they took my glasses, which I hated because it is kind of claustrophobic when you can't see. I don't know, do you find that too? Anyway, then the anesthesiologist inserted the IV into the tiny spot right above my left pinky knuckle. That hurt like a mother! The psychiatrist was very kind and explained everything he was doing while he was doing it. Then they turned on the IV.....burned like a million fires!!!!! For whatever reason, even after the meds were in me I got jerky and moved and the IV came out. So they had to start a new IV, in the other hand, and give me a second dose of the anesthesia. So all told I had twice the amount I should have had. But to be honest I don't remember much after the burning of the first IV going in.
Usually you are in PACU for about 45 minutes and then you are ready to leave and go home. Well I was there for 3 1/2 hours. It took me a long time to wake up (from the double dose of anesthesia) and then my 02 level was so low they wouldn't let me leave. They gave me a nebulizer treatment to try and bring it up. They put the little oxygen spouts in my nose to help bring up my O2. They coached me in breathing deeply (which I think was necessary since I kept falling asleep). Finally, finally, finally they deemed me O2 saturated enough to go home.
I arrived home at 1:30 pm. Seven hours after I left home that morning. For a procedure that should have taken about 2 hours from start to finish.
I slept literally the whole rest of the day. I took a nap in bed. Woke up to eat some lunch and then fell asleep on the couch while talking with my mother. She left to go back home and I fell back to sleep after she left on the other couch. I couldn't wait to go to sleep for the night. I slept through the night H-A-R-D. When I woke up I had a fat lip and every inch of me was sore. Now I don't remember this happening before but I've been assured that it is normal for me. I guess part of the beauty of ECT is that you really don't remember any of it. Which my sister tells me is all for the best.
Everyone was very nice at Sibley. It was just a completely new experience for me as compared to Suburban. Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is bad and sometimes it is neither. I think this was a neither instance. It is what it is.
Next date of ECT is Monday, August 21st. Here's hoping that August goes a little smoother.