Utah seniors share their stories of resilience.
My Ketamine Infusion Treatment #6
My last treatment. I’m sad. I may be smiling but if you look closely, you can see the sadness.
Here I sit in my big comfy chair. If you’ve been follwing my blog, you’ll notice I replaced the word ‘the’ with the word ‘my’? That’s how I feel. It’s ‘my’ big comfy chair.
It’s a very vulnerable situation to be in this room, in this chair. Vulnerability is the path one needs to travel to love people. I’m definitely vulnerable in my big comfy chair and I definitively love the staff at this clinic.
Another nurse is taking care of me today. She is a patient too. There is something comforting in knowing your caregiver knows what you’re experiencing.
And so, the IV is inserted and off I go.
This treatment is different….
I feel more aware. I open my eyes a couple of times. I realize it’s different. When I wonder if I’m dead or if ‘this’ is really reality, I consciously think it’s not. And then I notice that I’m thinking. Then, I relax and allow myself to float. I actually see myself floating. I like this part. Floating in air is nice.
Whatever the mind imagines, it believes. Really? Yes, really.
I let go and enjoy the remainder of the treatment. Nothing else unusual happens. Just the usual swirly colorful lights, some light, some dark. I swear it’s as if I’m watching my brain be washed clean. It’s bizarre.
As I start becoming awake and present, I find myself alone in the room. This is new. Do I like it? I’m not sure. Usually, there’s a landing party to meet me. We talk. Not today.
I like this aloneness. I feel free to wake and adjust at my own pace. I like when the staff is here too. Both have its benefits.
I sit with my eyes closed. I open them periodically to see if the room is spinning. Yep, I shut them again. I notice my stomach isn’t nauseous yet. I expect it will be soon. I’m enjoying how still I feel and I can actually feel myself sinking further into my big comfy chair.
I decide to change my music. My hand looks funny. The phone looks funny. I’m swiping and swiping. Nothing. Ooops, I think I’m still under the influence. Yep, sure am. The music goes unchanged and the phone lands in my lap.
Once again, I relax into the moment. It feels good.
A little bit later, staff comes in. We sit and talk. I prefer my eyes closed. I ask her about her experience as a ketamine patient. She’s a flight nurse. I love her candor as she talks about her struggles in life. I recognize her struggles as mine.
I really like the way I feel when I know I’m not alone. It takes vulnerability to get me here. I’m grateful for both of our willingness to be vulnerable.
There are no new struggles! We all silently believe we’re the only ones that have ever felt alone or anxious or depressed. HA! Nope, there are no new suffering thoughts. Millions before and millions after us will feel these exact same things including the shame that keeps us from admitting it.
I ask her what she sees during her treatments. I’m surprised by her answer. She sees her kids, husband, and bodies. Bodies? Then, I remember she’s a trauma flight nurse.
I never see people. Actually, I did once. They were on a TV show I watched the night before my treatment. Talking with her, I realize how different the treatments might be for people.
I ask her to get my husband.
Immediately my mind jumps to worry mode and I wonder if we have water and propane yet. (For those that don’t know, this morning we lost our stove, dryer, water, and propane.) My husband walks in and it’s the first thing I ask him. It distances me from my peaceful, present, relaxed self. He answers in the affirmative. I immediately feel gratitude for the professionals who so readily rescued us from what could have been so much worse.
I announce I’m ready to go which is a lie. I don’t want to stand up and feel dizzy and I don’t want this to be my last time. Yet, I do it anyway. And we leave.
Once in the car, I put my sunglasses on, drop my head to avoid the movement the car creates, and start to eat my crackers. My stomach is doing really well! I open my eyes to see if maybe I can. Nope, dizzy. Eyes closed and head lowered it is.
We arrived home and I promptly and wobbly walk to my room, close the drapes, and flop stomach down on my bed and fall asleep.
Two hours later, I’m starting to regain some normality…whatever that means. I cancel an appointment for that afternoon. Obviously, I’m in no condition to make any decisions.
The day of treatment belongs solely to the treatment. I eat more than I ought to. I sleep more. I’m wobbly. I just am.
I’m going to let the healing continue before deciding if I’ll do more treatments. From what I’ve been told, the healing of the neural pathways takes place for several weeks after each treatment. I have a lot of healing to do. The nice thing is that I’m not consciously doing any of the work outside of what I normally do and probably not even that. I’ve changed. I know I’ve changed. I just haven’t noticed every nuance quite yet. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. That’s yet to be seen.
What I do know is that the hard conversations are easier to have. I’m not as easily annoyed. When I am annoyed, I find I’m using my words more. Sometimes that’s helpful and sometimes not. I guess I can say I’m more authentic. I’m certainly not worrying as much. To be clear, I still worry just not as much. I have way more energy. I have no idea how that’s even a possible side effect yet it is for many. It is for me. I like it. Maybe the biggest surprise is the effect on my hydrocephalus. Since I’ve started treatments, I’ve gone through many storms with no headache, no depression, nothing. I have no explanation. Maybe it has to do with the documented pain relief effect of Ketamine. I don’t know but again, I like it.
I promised myself if I blogged my experience, I’d be honest and as complete as possible. Obviously, no one wants to know every little detail. If they did, too bad because I don’t want to write it all down. I’m always open for a conversation though.
The downside? This treatment takes time. It’s not just my time. My husband, Bruce, has to take me, wait, and drive me home. It’s a 1/2 day. Then like I said before, the rest of the day belongs to the ketamine.
Another downside is nausea. It doesn’t happen for everyone. I don’t throw up. That’s a bonus.
Probably the hardest part is the painful discoveries. I’m seeing life from different perspectives. Some of it hurts. And some of it it’s hard for my husband. He says I’ve been grumpier. Well, unfortunately, he’s not around much of the time and I actually have been happier. Hopefully, he’ll be able to see that too. What I think he’s experiencing is my honesty and sometimes that might be unpleasant. Go ahead, laugh out loud. I just did. I never tell him he has to change. I know better than that. What I am telling him more of is how I feel. Some of my feelings are really, really sad. Some of my feelings are angry. And some of my feelings are really really peaceful and some happy. I’m simply feeling more. I like that.
Current medications are an issue. I have a plan to titrate off my medication, Adderall, with the supervision of my doctor. It’s time. I’ve studied enough now to know it’s become a problem unto itself. I want my body and mind back. I feel like I have a clean slate and I’m ready to write a different story.
Thank you for coming on this journey with me. From January 24th to February 19th, I’ve received 6 ketamine infusion treatments. Feels like years have passed. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a proficient and moral clinic in my county. If you are feeling this might benefit you, please reach out to them. You’re worth it!
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