Page 14: The Truth about Joe’s ECT

“Mom, I had no idea,” Don said as they were making their way from Joe’s room to the elevator of the hospital.  “This is normal?”

“Yes, that’s what his doctor keeps telling me.  They’re the professionals.  They must know what they are doing.  Short-term…that’s what they keep saying, short term.”

“But why did he still remember Tessie?” Sharon asked.

“Well, that’s the memory the doctor said that he needs to forget, so I’m guessing that’s why he still needs to keep getting these shock treatments…until he doesn’t remember Tessie anymore.  Then I guess his other memory will come back.”  Or so Christa hoped.

As Christa and her children continued walking down the hallway, Christa heard someone call out, “Mrs. Aden?”

“Yes?” Christa asked cautiously. She turned around and saw one of the nurses that worked on Joe’s floor.

“Yes?  What is it?” Christa asked.

The nurse walked down the hallway toward Christa and motioned to have her come over by her.  She gently pulled her arm to the side of the hallway and leaned in very close to Christa.

“I could probably lose my job for this, but I feel that I need to tell you….”

“Tell me what?” Christa asked.

“Joe…what they are doing to him.  It just isn’t right.  I mean, he doesn’t remember anything, and they just keep giving him more shock treatments.  I’ve never seen anything like it before. He doesn’t remember anything…nothing.”

“Yes, obviously I’ve noticed,” Christa sighed.  “But the doctor told me that this type of memory loss is expected…short term…that it will come back.”

“He has more than short term memory.  Joe doesn’t remember anything.  The other day I heard Alice say that Joe didn’t seem to know how to go to the bathroom.  She thought Joe was just being difficult.  And yesterday, Alice had to show Joe how to eat…he picked up his knife to eat his mashed potatoes.”

“He keeps having these nightmares, too.  He wakes up in the middle of the night just screaming out, ‘Tessie!’  I ran in there one night on my shift, and he was crying and in a cold sweat.  I had to call the doctor to prescribe something to calm him down.”

“But here’s what you need to really know, Mrs. Aden…I know for a fact that they are giving Joe stronger shock treatments than normal.  The doctor said it’s because of Joe’s size…that the electric current they normally use isn’t enough for someone as big as he is.  You have got to tell them to stop.  Joe shouldn’t have any more ECT’s.  They are going to fry his brain…if they haven’t already.”

FACT:  Joe remembers someone telling him that one of the nurses at the hospital called his mother and told her that they should stop giving Joe the treatments because they were too strong and that this type of memory loss was not normal.

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