July 8, 2009
- When I went through ECT the first time around, I wrote down my passwords to the various online accounts that I have on a sheet of paper. This advice came from the book Shock by Kitty Dukakis and Larry Tye. It’s a great safeguard measure, and it was probably good to have my memory refreshed about those passwords anyway.
- Keep a record of what you did each day during your ECT series. I think my main reason why I was able to remember a lot of the events surrounding my ECT treatments is because I wrote stuff down. Even just writing down your mood may be helpful in tracking how you are doing.
- If there’s something you’re supposed to remember (even if you remember at that moment), write it down.
May 8, 2009
This sounds downright silly, but this is something that mattered to me.
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Though the hospital’s ECT guideline said otherwise, the staff allowed me to wear toenail polish. Only thing I can do to make my feet look decent is by painting on some bright color on those toes. I wanted them to look like my legs were prepared for sandal season. So, I picked a lovely deep-red color named “London Bridge is Falling Down.” (I already had this polish in my stash so didn’t bother buying some new color). But if you’re so inclined, you could pick a color name that is appropriate to this moment in your life. It’ll be like an expression of emotions on your nails!
Also, make-up is totally allowed! So, keep up with your daily skin regimen and look your best, because your face will be seen by all those medical students that line up and stare at you as you’re being put to sleep. A little concealer goes a long way in covering up the little bumps you get if your skin reacts to the gel they put by your hairline. Blush or a touch of shimmer just might add a healthy glow to your face.
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Obviously, I’m joking a bit here and all of this seems totally trivial, but I needed something about myself that I liked during those five weeks, even if it was just the color of my toenails. Feeling pretty wasn’t the objective in getting a little dolled up. Putting on make-up before the ECT just allowed me to keep the same morning routine. A part of me was able to emotionally distance myself for a minute just before the reality that I’m about to have my head shocked. I also wanted to have just the same face on that I have when I go out of the house, including when I’m out for some electroconvulsive therapy. (One could argue that a bare face would show the doctors the ‘real’ you that they need to see.) Sure, call it a mask to hide the fact that my face isn’t really glowing from happiness, but surely, the doctors can’t be fooled by some bare minerals.
Small privileges sometimes mean a whole lot, so if a little eyeliner and gloss can contribute to a perceived sense of near-normalcy, there’s no harm done.
read other “lessons”
May 3, 2009
I don’t know if this is allowed at all ECT programs, so please check with your respective hospitals about the following.
Maybe this stuff doesn’t matter to everyone. It’s one of those things that made my life a little easier every time I went to the hospital. After all, I had to do the same routine 15 times. Anyway, the one thing my nurse told me was that I didn’t have to strip down and change into only a hospital gown if my top was short-sleeved or no-sleeved. The reasoning for the short-sleeve deal is so that the nurses will to be able to put the catheter in your arm. I still had to wear a gown over my shirt, but it felt a little bit more casual to get to wear my own clothing.
A totally random tip, but not having to strip down every time I went to ECT was kind of nice. The rest of the time isn’t all that fun, so why not make some things easier for yourself?
read other “lessons”