The below is from an electroconvulsive therapy (“ECT”) treatment I got at McLean Hospital. I got several of these treatments during the summer and fall of 2020 to fight severe depression. ECT is known to cause severe memory loss.
“Allie, good to see you again.”
The nurse, Katherine, welcomes me into the hospital room. I know her name because I’ve been here before. 10 times, in fact.
“Are you having suicidal thoughts? How has your mood been since your last treatment?”
They start strapping me in like a race car driver. Monitors on my arms, chest, stomach. I’m used to this by now.
“Mood’s been the same,” I respond. “Still feel empty.”
“Is she ready to go?” The second nurse asks and pops his head in the door.
The two nurses wheel me into the operation room. Looking up, I see the team of anesthesiologists and the doctor. “Hi Allie, I’m Doctor Pines. I’ll be doing your treatment today.” This is the doctor that will be conducting electroshock therapy to put my brain into a seizure. “How’s your memory?”
“Not good. I keep forgetting short term things. My boyfriend doesn’t even think I remember our relationship, which I don’t.”
“Well we’ll keep things the same as before.” MRN151067.
“Take deep breaths and let me know when you start to feel sleepy,” the anesthesiologist tells me. I feel that great release when the anesthesia hits my bloodstream and I feel my eyes close.
Maybe the memory loss was for the best. I needed to get the last 10 years out of my mind.