I thought my first post should start with something particularly topical for me at the moment - my experiences with ECT.
I am actually starting ECT bright and early Monday morning as an outpatient. This is the second time I have lined up for a course of treatments, the first being in 2012/2013.
As to my experience the first time around... Not at all traumatic for me, which is why I am voluntarily having another go!
I work as a health professional and was very lucky to be able to see ECT done, before ever having it done... and as a medical procedure it's pretty much a non-event. That is NOT to say it is not taken seriously by staff or that people who have had negative experiences should feel diminished by this fact. For many, many patients, ECT is a huge step and individuals, worries or concerns are totally valid and to be respected. But as a treatment, there isn't much to it.
My first block of ECT was also as an outpatient. I have been an inpatient before, but have never had ECT during admission. If anything I think inpatient ECT would be slightly more enjoyable as you could at least have a good nap in a real bed afterwards, rather than a recliner! But otherwise it is always nice to go home to your own bed.
My ECT routine was/is the following:
Fast from 12 midnight, arrive at mental health unit (public hospital) at 0700. Quick blood pressure and pre-op checklist completion with ECT nurse then taken up to theatre with up to 2 other patients, no special pre-medication required. IV inserted by anaesthetist, hospital gown put over clothes and a couple of sticky dots on the chest. When it's my turn, I walk into the theatre and hop on the bed, get given a little bit of oxygen and then the sleepy drugs. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in recovery with lovely nursing staff watching over me. Once I'm awake, back down to the unit for a snack and relax. After lunch a quick check over by the nurse and on all doctor, then picked up and driven home for a nap!
A couple of times I woke up crying but for no particular reason and certainly not because I was distressed. Afterwards I generally have a few little aches and a bit of a sore jaw, but nothing a couple of Panadol haven't cured.