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« An Infusion, My Son & Me | Main | Ketamine Boosters »
Wednesday
Jan082014

A Journey Through A Ketamine Infusion

We drove up the 405. My eyes closed and head resting on the passenger window. We were driving home from a ketamine infusion. The infusion ended hours before, but I didn't come-to until three hours post-infusion.

Ketamine causes hallucinations. I was fortunate this time to have had enough counter-medication that kept them at bay. But it doesn't stop the dreaming.

When you first arrive for an infusion, it's similar to a pre-op protocol. They offer you a hospital gown. I preferred to stay in my cozy sweats. They take your blood pressure. Make sure you didn't eat past midnight. However they did allow me to take my pain meds with a few drops of water when I woke up. You fill out forms and sign paperwork. Then comes the IV. You can pretty much have them place the IV wherever it is most comfortable. But it also has to have an acceptable vein. I suggest staying away from the hand though as the hand is the most sensitive area for an IV.
Once the paperwork is done, and the nurse has cleared you with the Q&A, and your IV is in, the waiting game begins for your doctor to appear. Nothing much else can happen without their consent. So save any questions regarding your dosage until the doctor appears.

The nurses will call for your doctor once you are prepped and you have your injection of Zofran. Zofran is usually injected into your IV line to help stave off nausea due to the ketamine. Don't be surprised if the Zofran makes you a little bit sleepy.

When the doctor arrives, he will decide your dosage. If you are doing a series of infusions, they will start you out on a lower dose of about 300 mg of ketamine. Each day they will increase the dosage. The doctor will administer the Ketamine through the IV. You won't feel a thing and will swiftly drift into no man's land.

Ketamine can cause hallucinations. Versed is a medication administered that helps avoid hallucinations by creating an amnesiac effect.

The infusion process for me lasted four hours. This time I remembered absolutely nothing. Unlike last time, when the Versed was not quite strong enough and I clearly hallucinated about magnificent Indian fabrics swaying before my eyes. I always bring music and headphones. Soft, gentle music will help dictate the type of dreams or hallucinations you will have. Better to be safe than sorry. I listen to George Winston. The funny thing, is now that I have used that music during infusions, whenever I listen to the music now it immediately calms me down. A subliminal Calgon take me away!

After the Ketamine was administered, it took an additional three hours for me to come-to. You must have someone drive you home. Throughout our drive home, I was bombarded with dreams and double vision. Everything seemed so real, my mother said I was sleeping but I was also reaching out into the air in front of me for door handles that didn't exist. I murmured non-sensicals. And the songs I was listening to in my headphones were playing out as movies in my mind.

I don't remember getting home, making it up to my bed. And I slept until 10am the next day. It is now 4pm. I have showered and eaten a good meal. But have very little energy for anything other than Housewives reruns.

Tomorrow it will begin again. My second ketamine-booster to help get my system back on track and quiet the CRPS flare that has me sidelined at the moment. I already feel a sense of peace coming over my body. We'll see how round two goes. I'm optimistic!

So if you happen to be nervous about ketamine infusions, let me tell you from my own experience (I've been through the ten day, four hours a day, five days a week for two weeks infusions) that there is very little to worry about. When done in a good facility with experienced doctors, the only thing you truly need to worry about is the logistics of having a loved one with you throughout the infusion and until the next day. This is mostly because the ketamine takes time to work its way through your system. I was "out" for twenty hours this last round.

The benefits far outweigh any risks. And the dreams have resulted in closure on many unresolved topics. Call it therapy if you'd like.
As I go through tomorrow's infusions, I promise to be careful as to what doors I open, at least one thing about ketamine is, it's never, ever boring.

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