February 24, 2009
I really can’t believe I didn’t remember that I had actually already bought these Christmas stocking hangers from Potterybarn when I went there a few weeks ago. Or how many times I had asked certain questions to my mother and sister in the time around the treatments. I kind of now wonder if the reason why I think I may be happier is because I’ve become quite a bit cognitively dumber…..okay, I’m joking a bit, but then again, I think I might be a bit serious.
It has been several days since my last treatment day, and I can openly say that I am a happier person. But I can also tell you that I don’t remember where the treatments took place nor can I recall the exact location upon looking up the physical address. I still have not regained my entire ability to speak Japanese, my very first language. Though I can understand what my mother is saying, I sometimes cannot respond to her in the language that I would like to respond. Sometime, my response come out garbled, between that of some Europeanized version of the Japanese language. If I performed a certain task within weeks prior to the treatments, it may as well be like never remembering doing those tasks at all. For example, I know I went to see Dr. J at his office, but I have absolutely no clue where that office is located. I seriously asked my sister what happened to Capt. Sullenberger’s airplane that got him so much attention (okay, the geese…..).
My goal for the next week or so is to explore what is going on within me as I try to put myself together post-ECT. I first need to watch President Obama’s address to the Congress. ..There’s more to write out so please bear with this little blog as I hope to look at what it is that I actually accomplished by going through this procedure.
January 19, 2009
It was like pulling my car into a gas station, except in this case, car equals me. The room had seven beds, divided by a checkered hospital curtain (the person next to me thought the colors reminded her of a Mexican restaurant). The nurse asked me to wear a “vest” that allowed her to loosely tie my body to the bed in case I try to get out of the bed later and fall off. Then, someone inserted an IV, followed by my ECT psychiatrist, who was wearing some sort of a track suit. I saw him for about 30 seconds, just to tell me happy new year and that I will be receiving unilateral ECT for today (less memory loss, according to some) . Then, the anesthesiologist spoke to me for about 10 seconds. There’s no countdown.
And then, I woke up. It was already over.
My head still hurts, and there’s some hardened gel in my hair from where they placed the electrode.
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
January 11, 2009
Countdown to Obama Inauguration: 9 Days
No reason to countdown to the AFC Championship game anymore. Now that the Titans are out, I’m counting on you, Eli Manning, to see a team I care about in the Super Bowl.
I watched some Saturday Night Live and found myself laughing out loud. As I soaked in that welcome emotion, I began to wonder, if I can lose my memory about events, won’t I be losing my memory of the feelings I felt during those events?
One of the goals of ECT is for my recurrent thoughts of suicide to dissipate. That prospect of such amazing evaporation, in a way, is tied to that main side effect of ECT: memory loss. I am well aware of the likelihood that I won’t be able to recall some events that has happened or will happen during the treatment. Even though I may not remember that the Obama Inauguration happened, I will be able to DVR it or read about it once the cloud of confusion lifts. Things that have happened can be retold to me by others. But what about the thoughts that I had about those moments, or those intensely personal thoughts that I never wrote down or told anyone? It’s one thing to forget events; it’s another to forget your own insight. No one archives our deepest feelings in a catalog which could opened after ECT.
I would be okay with losing the memory of watching Obama’s acceptance speech on Election Day. But if the emotions I experienced on that day become unable to be retrieved from my head, that would be such a loss to me.