THIS MORNING, FOR THE FIRST TIME, ANGELA SAID, "I FEEL GOOD."
Her statement was spontaneous. Her voice sounded bright and buoyant. After her ninth Electroconvulsive Therapy treatment yesterday and a good sleep last night, this morning at 9:30 a.m. Angela said, and I quote, "I feel good."
This is a first. She's never sounded so emphatic. So vigorous.
Yesterday, she mentioned that she couldn't remember much yesterday about "going under" with the anaesthesiology during her 7:30 a.m. session at Toronto's University Health Network, other than the fact that the doctor's resident administered the anaesthetic.
"On Monday, the resident was there watching. Yesterday, he did it and the anaesthesiologist was observing. Afterwards, I couldn't remember very much about it, but now I do," she said.
Thus far, any memory loss she's experienced during her eight or possibly 12-week course of bi-weekly ECT treatments that began five weeks ago on Monday, January 25, has lasted no more than a few hours. Routinely she's described it as "a tiny bit of confusion" more than actual loss of memory.
A CURIOUS PATTERN
Earlier this week, Angela admitted that on the days of her bi-weekly ECT treatments, she's noticed a curious pattern. She has short, momentary flashes of suicidality. Only on those days. Only right after the treatment. It's minor, but definitely present, she said.
"Nothing serious, though. And usually, I just go to sleep. I'm really tired after each treatment," she said. "When I wake up, those suicidal flashes are gone completely."
She confided to me that she thought, perhaps, these short-term suicidal flashes might have more to do with the anaesthesia than with the ECT. "I'm going to talk to my psychiatrist about it," she said.
FLASHES OF SUICIDALITY CAUSED BY THE ANAESTHESIA – NOT THE ECT
When Angela did, her psychiatrist thought it might very well be possible. Why wouldn't this reaction might be caused by the way Angela's unique body chemistry or metabolism reacts to either the muscle relaxant succinylcholine and/or the Sodium Pentothal, the rapid-onset, short-acting general anaesthetic, or the combination of the two she receives intravenously every times she has an ECT treatment.
"I don't know if there's any validity to this," Angela admitted this morning.
"If it's valid for you, then it's valid," I countered.
I reminded her that we're all different and we all react to drugs and medical procedures in our own unique ways. That's why there is nothing purely objective about most of medicine, and especially psychiatry.
She admitted that she's getting a bit tired of waking up at 6 a.m. twice a week to get to the hospital at 7:15 a.m. Angela is always early. Whenever we've had a "date," she's always waiting for me when I arrive.
ECT DOESN'T SOLVE PROBLEMS OF EVERYDAY LIFE – IT HELPS YOU COPE
Although she knows that ECT doesn't solve marital problems or other varied vicissitudes of everyday living, "it helps you cope with them better," she's finding. "I'm not having suicidal ideation all the time, and that's a huge difference. And I'm not going to kill my cat for pissing all over the floor, though I have no idea why he's doing it and neither does the vet."
I suggested that maybe he (her cat) is reacting to her change of mood. She laughed.
She told me she's thinking of retraining. Of going back to school. Perhaps studying interior design. Angela has started painting, along with her sculpture. "But I'm having a hard time finding what I want to paint, right now. I find I'm pretty abstracty."
We signed off with a possible plan to meet this coming week for lunch.
I'M ON READING WEEK STARTING NOW!
I'm on Reading Week! Hurray! And there's no Community College Strike.
This week, all I have to do is mark over 100 journal entries and 52 midterm exams. Plus finish the final editing of the book of my late father's war stories that Marty and I wrote and edited this summer.
And, surprise, surprise. Lucy's breeder decided at the 11th hour to breed her with my male Riley's son, Charlie.
SURPRISE! WE BRED LUCY THIS WEEK – AT THE 11TH HOUR
Last Sunday, at 2 p.m. whilst putting the finishing touches on my midterm examination, on 10 minutes notice, I sped up to Uxbridge so little Lucy could have her romantic tryst with this fabled stud.
Charlie, who is just three weeks older than Lucy, is a Canadian and British Champion and the top sire in England last year. He's never been bred in Canada until now. We're crossing our fingers that this breeding will take. We repeated the process on Monday, right after my 8 a.m. class.
After doing two "Olympic" Review Quizzes for Gold – I used two medals Lucy won in her obedience class – and two midterm examinations, my classes came to a close yesterday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. I'm off until Monday, March 8 at 8 a.m.
Can you understand why I'm exhausted?
So, all this to explain that I'm taking next week off here, too. I will continue monitoring Angela and her ECT treatments. I want to be able to see her if I can, between all my marking and editing. I feel I need a little holiday. Because of a possible strike hanging over our heads until Wednesday, this has been the most stressful term for both students and faculty.
Now it's resolved and I can relax, a bit.
THIS WAS A WEEK OF PURE MADNESS!
What a wild week I've had. So, I'm off. I've been binging on chocolate. Eating badly. Sleeping sporadically. My entire system is off. It's 11:45 a.m. and I haven't even eaten breakfast yet. Or taken all my pills. My darling, overworked, endlessly supportive editor Brandie Weikle is off next week, too.
So, have a great week. I'll see you after Monday, March 1st, with Spring just three weeks away!
Comments to Coming Out Crazy are always open to you, and you're welcome to carry on a free-form dialogue. I love them and live for them.
You don't need me, though I'll probably be watching, maybe even contributing. Or not. Depends on how I feel.
Truly, I am bone-tired. I need to rest. This has been a trying time.
I long to read for fun.
My breeder was clearing out her library and she gave me free rein, so I've come home with a potentially pregnant Dandie Dinmont Terrier. (This is a seriously endangered species and there are several wonderful families anxious for puppies. So keep your fingers crossed and send positive thoughts, please.)
I've also brought a shopping bag full of old-or-precious-or-new-to-me books, including a yellowed, 1937 edition of Gone With The Wind, the first-ever adult novel I read in grade five, after everything L. M. Montgomery ever wrote.
Also, I have a slender volume published 1968 and titled "The Last Will and Testament of ..." an intriguing selection of 27 celebrated men and only one woman from John F. Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe to Albert Einstein to Ernest Hemingway to Shakespeare to Hitler to Pope John XXIII and on and on.
Can't wait to dig into them! And not one of these books concerns Electroconvulsive Therapy. Yipppppeeeeeeeee!
Be well. Take care. Spring is closing in on us, despite the snow.