Mary Grace Bagalso, DNP, CRNA talks about her military experience and providing IV Ketamine to veterans struggling with anxiety, depression and PTSD.
My name is Mary Grace Begalso and I'm a certified registered nurse anesthetist and I'm also an Army reservist. I am an officer in the United States Army and I practice anesthesia and as well I am an adjunct clinical instructor for the United States Army nurse anesthesia program. I've been in the military for seven and a half years and currently, I belong to a unit in Germany and my first unit was in Hawaii in the 1984th. It's been about, you know three deployments and I've really enjoyed it because I've got to be exposed to many cultures and any kind of disease pathology and get to meet some really great veterans and take care of people that are my brother and sister in arms.
For me at a high-level assessment mental health should be our priority, especially for veterans. Being a veteran myself I feel like it's an unexposed issue that we need to look at. Both civilian and military but specifically, because we're exposed to an arena that not every person walks into as a military person or the families of military people are also experiencing things of mental health depression anxiety addiction, and abuse and it's something that has been underlying for a long time.
It's very different from being in the arena of the operating room and I mean that because I meet someone in five minutes and I take them to the operating room. I see them for a couple hours and then I wake them up they usually don't remember me. It's different here, and it's different because at that time when I meet them here I'll have a series of moments of talking to them on the phone before they even see my face then you get to the point where you come to the clinic and we get to talk in person we talk in-depth about your physical assessment what your goals might be expectations. We have to have a balance and relationship in how you treat a person and what their goals are and it's different for everybody. You do have to take the whole entire approach of their psychosocial what other adjuncts they've used before and you kind of come up with a recipe together in a safe space with a lot of trust and honesty because they're coming to us knowing that we want to keep them safe with that provider or guide so I've seen a lot of change even after two or three treatments it's very fulfilling.
Some of the changes that I've noticed in patients are their mood and something like anxiety or addiction I've seen them progress through phases in just a couple of months. Their moods change, they're happier, they're explaining and expressing more than they were before, they're discussing abuse openly in a safe space and that makes me feel like we're doing the right thing. They're coming off of medications they're decreasing their antidepressants, their use of alcohol, or other types of drugs that they really want to get away from.
I think for veterans it's something that we are very embarrassed at first in a physical to tell them that we have any sort of PTSD. Whether it's for me specifically losing a patient or a family a mother or a child, it's really hard to talk about and then you don't want to expose it to your unit into your commander and you know being someone that's had that happen to me coming to this point where I actually get to take care of people who can now express it makes me want to like walk the walk and talk the talk and here I am now and I'm doing it so I think if I can do it then I want to make everyone else around me elevate to that level where they can actually expose that raw feeling and heal.
To any of the veterans that want to try this, I would say it's going to be something that's safe, it's confidential we keep it in an environment that you will feel safe to talk about whatever your issue is. It could be sexual trauma, abuse, addiction anything you name it we have a great staff that's incredible with guiding psychotherapists you have an arena that you will be able to find where your spot is in this place like I want the goal for you and us as a team to look at things with a different optic and be able to disassociate from that space of pain and anger or you know shyness and just open up in a way that you won't be judged and you will be safe.
I think CIT clinics is special is because it is ran by veterans and a group of guides who really care about their product and their person and their people. The secret isn't about a drug a mineral a vitamin it's the people who make the secret sauce. It's the group effort, the comprehensive medical team and collaboration with other physicians, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, nurses, guides. Everyone wears a different hat, it's not a hierarchy it's more of a family that knows when you are the person that needs to step up for that particular patient you know not everyone is perfect for everyone but we will find who will be perfect for you.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and even chronic pain, please do not hesitate to set up a free phone consultation to explore whether or not this approach may be appropriate for you. We look forward to supporting you in any way we can.
Want to learn more?
If you would like to explore whether or not Ketamine may be an appropriate treatment for you, please set up a free 30-minute consultation with a CIT Clinics Patient Care Coordinator.