March 5, 2009
I’ve been sorting through a few boxes of “stuff” in the last few days. Much of it turned out to be trash, but yesterday I came across my discharge papers from August 2004, when I first spent time at Parthenon Pavilion and also met Dr. J., who later became my ECT doc. Seeing those papers brought back memories of the circumstances that led me to check into that hospital and the moment I was told that I had bipolar II disorder. I knew I had these papers somewhere, but I found something else today that even surprised me. Among the pile of old bills and stuff I don’t really need, there they were: pages of my thoughts from that hospital stay, all written in some purple pen. I knew I had scribbled things down during that time, but I did not remember what all I had written in there. Take, for example, this thought:
Great. Bipolar II. Sounds fun, like being put in a hospital.
It’s probably not that surprising that I had written that in those days. After all, I thought I was being confined there because I needed a cool-down period after an overdose, not get a new diagnosis. But I had also written the following the day before:
I didn’t know hospitals did ECT at this frequency. It’s a lot of people going through that procedure. I wonder how everyone reached the conclusion to go ahead and do the procedure.
Here it was, in my own handwriting, something that proved I had thought about ECT five years ago! It’s so weird that I am now that person who’s getting ECT at the hospital. And I now know, from my own experience, how one might reach the “conclusion to go ahead and do the procedure.”
This is one time it was a good thing I can’t throw anything away.
February 20, 2009
I arrived at Parthenon Pavilion, got dressed for treatment, and entered the treatment area when Dr. J. greeted me with a smile on his face and told me that he talked to my psychiatrist, Dr. A., and that they both thought it was okay for me to stop ECT at this time and that I needed to call her to schedule a new appointment with her. (I exclaimed: this is the last one!?) Let me write the rest out later…
February 5, 2009
The hand tremors are back. I thought I already dealt with this situation. I’m glad Dr. J. had been made aware of my previous neurological issues from my regular psychiatrist. He reassured me that ECT may cure the tremors. As glad as I am to have the possibility of this issue solved, this just isn’t the time for me to be solving this little problem. I know plenty of other people who have way more to deal with, but I just am not up to taking on bunch of stuff at a time. Or one of the medications that shorten the seizure time is Alprazolam (xanax), which is taken to control the tremors. If I take Alprazolam, it also means I’m not maximizing my seizure time.
Today is the first time where I felt worse than before the treatment yesterday. When Allen from Parthenon Pavilion called me to check up on me, I can generally feign that all’s okay. Well, I could not even hold back an ounce of how I felt today. I really am a bit surprised as to how not-so-well I’m feeling. I know things could all change, but at the same time, things should have been incrementally better. I refuse be to one of the statistics where ECT didn’t work out so well…..that’s only like 15%!
On the real world MH front, NYTimes is reporting a rise in suicide rates in the Army .
January 14, 2009
Yesterday I had a physical exam that is required within the seven days before the first ECT treatment. Because the blood analysis, etc., will not come back for another day, I won’t know for certain that the actual main event will happen as scheduled. If there is an irregularity that would delay the treatments, it is going to be a problem for me logistically. My mother is flying in from Japan tomorrow and will be staying with me during the course of the ECT. I’ll know soon enough, I guess, but it would be very nice to know that my mother has rearranged a month of her life for a reason.
Following the physical, I headed to Parthenon Pavilion, a psychiatric facility and the location of the ECT treatments, to complete their intake procedure that usually takes place when you first check in. For ECT patients, the process is done ahead of time so that they don’t have to deal with it at the beginning of the first treatment. This assessment is not unfamiliar to me; I’ve been to Parthenon before. As depressing as one might fathom a psychiatric hospital to be, there’s an unseemly calmness about their waiting area (this opinion is coming from having been to another hospital; I still have negative thoughts every time I see that building). After I checked in with the receptionist, I sat in the room recalling the time I strolled in this hospital with my luggage as if I was coming to some hotel. I could see that their couches are showing the wear of everyone who must have had to wait for their family member or their own turn in this hospital. There’s a television set, but it’s just a background noise that attempts to drown the fear that begins to mount as you think to yourself, “Why am I here?,” and perhaps more critically, “What have I done to myself?” The couches have imprints of those memories, and they seemed to have been imprinted into my own memory.
Of course, there’s nothing pleasant about having to check into a psych hospital, but the experiences I’ve had at Parthenon have been not only necessary but positive ones. I used to think that, even in times of crisis, hospitalization should be avoided at all costs. In fact, “at all costs” only serve to place further burden on your friends and loved ones. And by not being removed from everyday life for that short time, it only delays effective care. Though I will always have a bit of hesitance in my heart before choosing to be hospitalized, I totally understand and accept my occasional need for hospitalization and believe it is the best place for me to be safe from myself.
But if anyone ever takes me to a psych hospital in town, please take me to Parthenon.