One's mood when coming out of an induced coma - HELP

My partner has come out of an induced coma due to pneumonia. They've moved him from ICU to High Dependency, but he's entering what I fear is a deep state of depression and is refusing to eat or do his physio. He's been hallucinating, which I've read is normal. Right now, any words of wisdom on getting him to realize he needs to do his physio and he needs to eat would be welcome. What makes this even harder is that I won't be able to return to his side for another two weeks and my heart is breaking over this. He was in an induced coma for a little over two weeks and was just moved to High Dependency a few days ago.

12 Replies

  • Hello Sue. How dreadful for you both. You expect your relative to be getting a little better each day now he's out of ICU, & it's so upsetting if he's being held back by this. There's a condition called Post-intensive care syndrome (PICS), have the staff told you about this? Your partner's behaviour is quite common. There's a lot of information on the ICU Steps website and also here Health Unlocked also has a support group, run by ICU Steps I'm sure the staff will be looking out for him as this is a well-known problem.

  • ICU had not advised me of PICS, and I will look into these sites. Thank you so much. They did begin giving him his anti depressants yesterday, and today was a better day. Again, thank you...

  • Why oh why don't they warn people & tell them about ICU Steps?! It's all so terrifying, but forewarned is forearmed in my opinion. So glad today was better 😊He's obviously been very ill, & antidepressants take 2wks to kick in. I do feel for you both, but he will get there

  • Oh poor soul no wonder he feels depressed I would think he's feeling frightened at the moment too. I'm not sure what to say to you really. Lots of love and support and a bit of firmness thrown in might help. What about writing a letter for him for someone to read to him every day or send a post card with either something funny on or something thats special to him every day.

    I think I would be telling him how much I loved him, how I was/am and will support him but now it's his turn to support you by getting stronger and eating and doing his physio.

    But that's just me lol!

    take care x

  • That's a good idea about having someone read letters from me to him. There are no phones allowed in the High Dependency, and there's no portable phone the nurses can give, so this will help. Firmness needs to be thrown in, and I'm working on that too. Thank you so much for the ideas.

  • Hi I had a bad time with bilateral pneumonia and septicemia over Christmas. I knew I had to do things but my mind was not in the right place. I was having flashbacks, bad dreams very poor sleep etc. There is a growing amount of evidence that people who have this type of illness suffer a type of PTSD. Perhaps having a word with his care team about his emotional state may kick start the help he needs.

  • I was all over the staff about him having a long history of depression and that being my biggest concern when he came out of the coma. Thankfully, they began giving him his anti depressant yesterday, and I can only hope in a few days, he will begin to see things a bit more rationally. It's so nice to know I'm not alone here. Thank you...

  • I can relate I was in the hospital in intensive care only for 3 days out but I was so drugged up I was hallucinating like crazy couldn't eat because food tasted like metal I just wanted to get out of there I ended up going to a care facility for a few weeks took quite awhile to get better but they didn't expect me to live.

  • I'm so glad you're well now. How long did the hallucinations last?

  • Not long u think mine was from being overeducated they were strange though I felt like my lungs were made out of puzzle pieces that no longer able to fit together I guess it was true to a certain degree they actually had to sew some cow skin into my lungs as they were dissipating. I never want to go through that again.

  • My experience with this sort of thing is that when I had a pulmonary collapse 4 1/2 years ago, I was out cold for a week and part of the time at least was on assisted breathing. This meant my diaphragm didn't actually do the work for which it was designed and seems to have deteriorated because of it; I looked it up and it's a matter of hours rather than days for 'assisted breathing' to have a negative effect on one's diaphragm.

    As for the hallucinations and not eating, neither one bothered me after waking up but I didn't have a muscle left in my body and it took weeks before I was able to walk with any sureness at all.

    Your partner is going to need loving patience from others; please help him with that need.


  • Thank you Duncan...I have boat loads of love and patience, and I'll remind myself of that each and every day. Thanks again...

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