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« The Carry On | Main | The K-Hole »
Thursday
Oct102013

Preparing for Ketamine Infusions

How to prepare for ketamine sedation.
First of all bring your sense of humor. I know. It's been misplaced. It's with the rest of your self that has been lost for ages now. But just for the sake of argument, pretend you're still here.
Pack comfortable clothing. Not the kind you can remove. I mean the kind nurses can remove. Not that they're being frisky. But believe it or not, when under sedation - things happen. You can suddenly have to go to the bathroom and whoops! Pants go off, gloves go one, catheter goes in! Yup, I didn't expect that either. Neither did my hooey. I had to explain it to her later they weren't trying to be mean or any thing, but when a girls's gotta go, a girl's gotta go. So I'll glad I wore light-weight sweats. That I found slightly pulled down below my buttox upon waking up. I never knew what hit me. Which is why I was so glad to have my dear friend with me who explained I had a potty problem and not to try to walk. Then she remembered I couldn't walk anyway. So that argument was rather short.
Moral of the story - when they say don't drink past midnight, there's a reason. When they say wear loose and comfortable clothing, there's another reason. Nurses have a job to do and gosh darn it please make it as simple as possible. Thank you.
The first think they do will be to prepare you for IV sedation. They will take your Medical history. The same medical history you've given that should be memorized by now. Especially if you are going in for ketamine infusions. By the time you get to this point, you could read them your history backwards. In invisible ink. Then you will be handed a tiny little pill called
Clonodine for blood pressure. This is because ketamine can make your blood pressure rise, so Clonodine helps to regulate this. Take it. Smile. And enjoy the tiny amount of water they give you to talk it down with like liquid gold. Then, it's IV time. IV's are never all that much fun, but they do not have to be painful! The nurse will ask for your best arm. I never quite knew what they meant by this so I just hand them the one they didn't prick the day before. The nurses at my surgery center are all about making every procedure as pain free as possible, so they numb there with a tiny needle stick to numb the area for the bigger needle stick for the IV. Believe me, I know it sounds funny, but it's an awesome pay-off. They will them inject Zofran, an anti-nausea medication. This is essential for anyone who is susceptible to motion sickness. I request it every time. Also, if you have ever had a deep vein thrombosis, don't be afraid to ask for compression stockings. They may not get you a hot date, but those days are behind me now that I have a hot hubby. So I love with their lack of fashion motif.
All of your meds from here on our will be go in through your IV. The ketamine especially. So they will keep this area sterile with medical tape. Every time they inject meds into this tube, make sure they sanitize the injection tube to avoid contamination.

At this point, just before ketamine is injected, the doctor will enter the room and things get busy. As through they weren't busy before. Now it's abuzz. Because every nurse gives a brief of each of their patient to the doctor and this is when the doctor decides the amount of ketamine each patient will receive each day. Anything can happen here. Dosage can go up, or stay the same. They call it titrating. I began at around 300mg. I am on day 8 of 10 days of ketamine and am up to 600mgs. I'm so proud. But boy am I whipped. Please, please take to heart when I say - never be alone during ketamine infusions. Either during the infusions or at home after or at the hotel. Ketamine puts you on yer arse. There's no two ways about it / except for the double vision.
So from this point on, things sipped up. IV is in. Colonodine and Zofran and in. Doctor is deciding your dosage. You have begun to hydrate with a solution bag. And dang girl if you haven't gone to the bathroom, it's now or never.
Cause Versed is on its way! Once Versed goes in, you're on your way to Lala land and I don't mean Los Angeles. The Versed is important as it helps you forget the hallucinations Ketamine will give you. Trust me. Take the Versed. One day one, I got all Hunter Thompson on them and wanted to experience the K-Hole. I wanted to know what it felt like for blogging purposes. Not much credence enters the conversation when you tell the nurse you want to blog about it. But they allowed a lightened dose of the Versed. My hallucinations were extremely vivid. But the exit from what they call the K-Hole was very rocky. So once was a charm for me.
One thing to note about the Versed, is that it is very cold going into your vein. Almost a burning cold. But it doesn't last long and before you know it, your calling an xylophone a guitar. A pig a hermaphrodite. Etc.
The lights dim even more. You are about to go into the K-Hole. The nurses draw the drapes around your bed. And from here on out it's game on!
The bottom line is, there is little to fear. But setting is everything. Your experience in the Hole depends entirely on two things. Versed causes amnesia so you don't remember any hallucinations, but most importantly - more important than anything you could ever consider - is the setting you are in while you are under the effects of Ketamine. I have been in a loving environment with thoughtful nurses and a family member or dear friend at my bedside to hold my hand. The lights stay low and all of my needs are immediately cared for. Yes, even a possible catheter, are addressed promptly.
Any concerns are quelled and I could not have imagined a smoother experience than I have had at my doctor's medical facility.

So although there are many moving parts to Ketamine infusions, it doesn't mean the experience doesn't have to run smoothly.

Today I go in for day eight of ten. I will go enter the center at 6:30am, go under by 7:30. I will com-to around noon and leave for my hotel by 1:00pm. Lunch and then a nap from 2:00-6:00pm. By the time you are up to 600mg's of Ketamine, you will be on your arse until about 8:00pm. So consider 8-10pm your social hours. Yikes! But I am almost done with infusions. Then I will begin UCLA's four week pain program. A full-time program as a full-time patient in a Multi-disciplinary approach program of doctors from bio-feedback to pain psychology and physical therapy just to name a few.

It is 4:15am and sleep has lost me so now I will shower and wonder what the day will bring. One thing I know for sure, is it will bring me more of you. Your support, your friendship, and a love like I have never known. I could never make it through any of this with you. And for this I am eternally blessed.

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