Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Catnapper

  • Rank
    Living in the South under Baptist Sharia law.

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests

Recent Profile Visitors

2,659 profile views
  1. Monday, February 17, 2020: I had my fifth treatment today. As I stated in my earlier post, there was a big slide downward in my mood from how good I felt last Friday to how I felt last night and this morning. I didn't take Ambien last night as directed by the pdoc, so I might have gotten an hour's sleep, and seriously considered calling in sick today, but I forced myself to get up and sort of get dressed and go. My fear of having this treatment fail overcame my inertia. The treatment this morning was reassuringly the same as the previous ones, and no residents or medical students were there today, which was good since I wasn't in the mood for an audience. Now I know what a zoo animal feels like! My Beck Depression Inventory score was 34 today, which is "severe depression". Last Friday it was 29, "moderate depression", and a week ago Monday it was 41, "extreme depression", so the needle is moving. The pdoc reassured me that not having a straight-line recovery is to be expected. I had a late breakfast after the treatment, had some tea at a Starbucks, and came home and took a shower, and even washed my hair, so I guess I got a little bump in mood. I think I will go to bed early tonight and hope tomorrow is better, or at least not worse. The shower took all my energy. The best news is that I don't have any memory deficits at all, at least not yet.
  2. It's Sunday evening before my fifth treatment tomorrow morning, and I'm feeling really down again. I reread my post from after my fourth treatment last Friday, and it seems almost unbelievable that I felt that good only two days ago. I did sleep well (for me) on Friday night, and continued to rest on Saturday, and I had a pizza delivered for supper Saturday night. Today I've just binged (also have binge eating disorder) and napped. Showering seems too tall a mountain to climb, even though I desperately need to. I am going to fix myself something hot to eat since getting dressed to go out also seems insurmountable at this point. I'm not looking forward to the sleepless night I'm about to have since I can't take Ambien before the treatment. The ECT nurse warned me that there would be some setbacks and not to expect a straight line recovery, and obviously she's right. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow after the treatment. Everything just seems so exhausting right now...
  3. Friday, February 14, 2020: Today was my fourth treatment, and I couldn't be more pleased to say that it's working! 😁. I saw my regular pdoc on Wednesday, and he noticed a definite improvement, and during our hour-long appointment (he does therapy, too), I also noticed I felt better, and was much more animated, and actually laughed without faking it for the first time in a long time. On Monday, my Beck Depression Inventory score was 41, severely depressed, and today (Friday) it had dropped down to 29, moderately depressed. I haven't had any suicidal ideation all week, which I hadn't even noticed till I did the depression inventory. That's a huge change for me as I've been suffering through that hellscape for what seems like forever. It's an amazing feeling to have the darkness leaving. I noticed the sunshine today, and enjoyed the way it felt, saw some beautiful violas and started making plans to plant some at my house, and am really hearing music again. I feel like Dorothy in the"Wizard of Oz" when she lands in Oz and her perception goes from black and white to color. As far as the actual treatment went, it was the same as Monday, which means everything went well, except with a new cast of players. I met the third of the three doctors that do ECT, and I liked him fine. Unfortunately, the asshole resident was back today, but he behaved better than he did when we first met; I guess I'm going to have to get used to him. The only thing I really don't like is not taking Ambien the night before, since I don't get any sleep, but that's a minor inconvenience for the results I'm seeing. I also hold my bedtime dose of Lamictal, but take it right after the treatment in the a.m. so that my total dose over the week doesn't change, per pdoc instructions.
  4. Monday, February 10, 2020: Today was my third treatment. The big process change was to raise the head of the bed (from the laying flat position used during the treatment) before the anesthesia wears off. During the first two treatments, I had the terrifying sensation of not being able to breathe for a short time (maybe 20 - 30 seconds?) when the anesthesia wore off. The paralytic agent that keeps your body still while your brain has a seizure also keeps your diaphragm from working, which is okay since it's for a really short time (under a minute) - your blood oxygen level stays okay, it's just a bad damn sensation to feel. Instead of having me flat on my back when I'm coming out from under the anesthesia, having me in more of a sitting position reduces the sensation, since it's easier to breathe upright. I'm happy to say it worked well. Apparently, I'm a really fast metabolizer of anesthesia so I become fully aware of what's going on almost as soon as they turn off the i.v. The good part about that is that I'm not really groggy so I get dressed and go home shortly afterwards. I still scored "severely depressed" on the Beck Depression Inventory, so the pdoc said if nothing in my mood or activity level had changed by my next treatment on Friday, she may want to revisit the electrode placement with me, since I haven't had any memory deficits at all (yet...). The treatment was at about 9:00 am, and I've had lunch and am now just hanging out; it's now 4:00 pm. I could easily take a nap, but I'll probably try and stay awake so I go to bed at a decent time tonight. My current meds are 300 mg of Lamictal at bedtime, along with Ambien, and then 300 mg of Wellbutrin in the morning. For the first two treatments they had me stop the Lamictal the night before, but for this third one, they had me stop the Ambien, too, which means I didn't sleep at all last night. I asked the pdoc if I could take Ambien before the next time, but she said not to as it does affect the seizure response level. She also told me to take my nighttime Lamictal dose (that I stop the night before) right after my morning ECT treatment so that the cumulative weekly dose stays the same. And the best thing is that she didn't have that young asshole resident with her today, thank god! She's starting to grow on me. I see my regular pdoc on Wednesday, who knows me really well, so maybe he'll notice some improvement that I'm not aware of yet.
  5. Iceberg, thanks for the kind words, it means a lot to me.
  6. Friday, February 7, 2020: Had my second treatment this morning, basically no change from the first in either procedure or results. I remember both before and after the treatment today, and also my first treatment, so no memory impacts yet. My jaw is a little sore today, but nothing a Tylenol can't fix. Also, they let me hold the oxygen mask myself today before I went under. I didn't like the sensation of the anesthesiologist having his hand over my face that I had at the first treatment when they gave me oxygen. They give me oxygen for a minute or two right before they knock me out. The pdoc said she is happy with the seizure response. She had a resident with her today who was an arrogant jerk, but whatever, we were all young assholes at one point or another. He asked me to pull my hair back during the middle of the initial interview, and then when we were in the treatment room, he asked me again, and said, "Like I told you to before!" The most distressing thing today was that I revealed my first choice suicide plan to the pdoc and the resident, which I have never told anyone before. I have always admitted in the past to having a plan, but I never said what it was. I was laying in bed by this time, and they were hovering over me, and I felt ganged up on and gave in. It makes me furious at them and at myself. But fuck it, you can't un-ring a bell.
  7. It's the night before my second treatment (on a Monday / Friday schedule), and I just looked at the info I was given after the first treatment. I'm supposed to have washed my hair, but that isn't going to happen. I have really curly, dry hair so hopefully it will be okay. I'm in that lovely phase of depression where I don't bathe very often... Time for bed.
  8. It's the day after my first treatment, and I have slept, but my memories are all intact from yesterday. I realize the possible memory deficit is cumulative as treatment goes on, so it will be interesting to see where I end up.
  9. Another thing I forgot to mention - I had to fill out a Beck Depression Inventory. I don't know what I scored, but based on doing one just now, I came up with severe depression. I don't like the Beck rating system because I think the questions come off as too melodramatic, so I always feel like I have to annotate my answers. I like the HAM-D rating system better as I think it's more straightforward, and I did one just now and came up with 30, which translates to "very severe depression". No surprise there... Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D)
  10. The one thing I didn't like that I guess I will have to get used to is having a different pdoc do the treatment, instead of the one who did my initial evaluation. I thought I would have the same pdoc throughout, but apparently they rotate so I will potentially have three different doctors performing ECT on me. In the last year and a half I have had several physical ailments that required hospitalization, and one of the things I found most distressing was the constant changing of personnel. During a nearly one week stay for diverticulitis I never saw any doctor more than once. I've never been inpatient at a psych hospital, so I guess they do the same. But my regular pdoc is nice and steady, so that should help keep me calm.
  11. I thought it might be helpful for me and others to post this online diary during my ECT treatment. Having said that, I'm not promising that I'll actually keep up with it, but I'll try. I'm doing this on my phone, so please disregard my signature as it is literally years out of date. First some background: I have bipolar II, had my first bad depression in my mid-twenties, followed by a few more in my thirties with no treatment. I was dx'ed with recurrent MDD when I was 40 during my first psychiatric exam. The dx was changed to BP II when I was 49 (by a different pdoc, had moved for work), and a mood stabilizer changed my life so that I had seven years of remission. I'm 60 now. I started going downhill again in 2015, and have been at various levels in the abyss ever since. In fall of 2018 I was to the point of non- functioning so took a two month medical leave. By the end of last summer I was no longer functioning again, so am out on another medical leave. The medical leave was also for knee replacements in September and December, which I don't recommend doing during a depressive episode. I'm not sure I'll still have a job if and when I get better since I used up the FMLA time period in December. On to the actual ECT: My regular pdoc thinks I'm a good candidate, as does the pdoc at the university where I'm getting treatment. I have done my due diligence and am comfortable with the treatment. My biggest concern is that I won't respond. My first treatment was this morning, so I used a car-hire service that I've used before for other medical treatments. I live alone and my friends work, so there's no other way to make it happen. The nurse came out into the waiting area to meet my companion, and went to get her before I could be discharged, so my plan of using Uber or a taxi for the remaining treatments won't work. The car service will be about $350 each time. I'm thankful I can (barely) afford it, but I can't tell you how much it pisses me off that I can't just take a taxi home. Lawyers have ruined medicine! The treatment itself was pretty standard outpatient hospital stuff - sign forms, get your vitals checked, change into a gown, and talk to the anesthesiologist and pdoc. Also, the nurse placed an i.v. for the anesthesia. Once in the treatment room, they hook up EKG and EEG monitors. The strangest thing that happened was when the pdoc explained the pros and cons of unilateral, bilateral or modified unilateral, and then asked me which one I wanted! Um, whatever you think is best, doc... I had the modified unilateral, which is a bit more effective than the unilateral, but with less memory issues than the bilateral. I came out from anesthesia quickly and remembered everything that happened before the treatment, and everything after, as well. When I got home, I drove myself to lunch and now am writing this, so maybe once I sleep I will forget everything. But so far, so good. I just hope it works.
  12. Thanks, all, for your replies. I'm too out of it to use the quote function, but I'll try to respond anyway. Writing everything down seems like a great plan, although right now it seems overwhelming. But when I'm working ( on medical leave right now), I always take copious notes all day long, so hopefully my muscle memory will kick in and I'll be able to track what happens. As far as getting back and forth, I am currently putting out feelers to local churches to see if they know someone reliable who needs some extra cash. If that doesn't work out, my fail-safe is a car service I have used many times to other medical treatments. They are expensive, though. The idea of speaking/texting with someone every day is a good one, and something I would have never thought of. I'm sure it will also please both my regular pdoc and the ECT pdoc. Rowan77, it's reassuring to hear about your good experience. It's also nice to see you're still around. I remember you from a long time ago, and your cute dog picture. I think my biggest fear at this point is that I won't have a good response, or any response at all, because if not, what then? I'm so sick of the med merry-go-round, and this stupid disease.
  13. I'll be starting outpatient ECT in about two weeks, and it will be my very first time. I live alone and realize there will likely be some short term memory issues. I am going to get one of those pill boxes that has enough spots for a week at a time so that I don't mess up my med doses, but I haven't thought of anything else worriesome yet. In my rich fantasy life, I get the laundry done and the house cleaned before I start, but I know that's ridiculous. Do you have any suggestions to help me through this twice a week, four to six week index treatment?
  14. Thanks for all the replies. I'm looking at this on my phone so I can't see or change what's in my signature. Please disregard whatever it shows as it is literally years out of date. I am no longer taking Wellbutrin.
  15. I am running out of options on meds and am considering ECT since my existing health issues make me very wary of second-generation anti-psychotics, which is what my pdoc thinks will help the most now, if only on a temporary basis to get me out of this acute crisis of a bad mixed episode, mostly depressive in nature. I am at high risk for developing diabetes, and am considering ECT as alternative to more meds. What are your thoughts for both short and long term treatment if you were choosing between the two? I haven't been here in a few years and my signature is way out of date, so please disregard it. I was recently doing okay on Lamictal, lithium, and trazadone, but then I went into acute kidney failure a couple of weeks after surgery, so the lithium and trazadone were suddenly stopped, which has pushed me right over the edge. (Luckily I made a good recovery from the kidney failure, but lithium is off the menu forever.) Over 20 years (I'm 60, wasn't dx'ed till 40) I have been through many med changes in all med classes, currently on 300 mg of Lamictal. My pdoc added remeron to the Lamictal, but I stopped after two weeks due to huge appetite increases (with pdoc okay). I ate 6000 calories yesterday, and my pdoc wants me to switch to risperidone. Not quite a year ago, a couple month trial of Abilify left me with mild tardive dyskinesia that is still ongoing, so I'm pretty tired of second generation anti-psychotics. However, the intensity of this new mixed episode is really concerning to my pdoc, who I've been seeing weekly for over a year (he also does therapy). He and I talked about ECT in the past, but then I got more or less functional on the meds, so it wasn't pursued. Every depressive episode just keeps getting worse and worse over the years, which I was aware would happen, but I didn't have any idea how bad it was actually going to be.
  • Create New...