I need some help to come to terms with a few things - ICUsteps

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I need some help to come to terms with a few things


I ended up in ICU after a couple of drinks followed by a packet of very strong pain killers. I suffer with very strong depression after a terrible past experience. I woke 8 hours after being admitted to find myself with a catheter bag :(! (My horrible past was of a sexual assult) & I can't help but think "omg who seen me 'down there', how many were watching? Was it male or female? They could have done anything whilst I was asleep', they surely have no right to do something as invasive as taking underwear off and going to such a private place?' :( I feel disgusting and violated and keep telling myself it was all for good reason? :'(

10 Replies

Dont worry about it, getting paranoid will only make you worse, thank god your still alive, find a hobby, enrol at your local tech, learn a trade, do anything to get out of the house etc, good luck

Sexual assault is a terrible thing and can cast a shadow over the victim for life. I think you probably may benefit from some therapy as a survivor. It is not unusual for these feeling and doubts to emerge at times of stress like being admitted into ICU but there is help out there.

Try the Lucy Faithful Foundation they may be able to assist.

Good luck Simon


That's a horrible feeling love. To not know what has happened and to feel violated. It must be scary and weigh heavily on your mind.

There are a few things you do know:- in intensive care, you are looked after by a team of people, not just one person, so the chances of sexual assault are really low. Intensive care wards are locked- people have to buzz to get in- and you are never left on your own- so it's very unlikely anyone came onto the ward while you we're asleep that would have assaulted you. Plus the ward staff are very protective of their patients. It's scary, but it's very unlikely that there has been any type of sexual assault while you we're asleep. There are systems and procedures in place specifically to prevent vulnerable patients being at risk.

Thinking about the catheter itself- you must have been pretty ill. The doctors had no way to tell that you were going to be awake in 8 hours, and made their best judgement as to what care to give you to keep you alive and safe. Doctors don't undertake procedures lightly- you must have needed it at the time. Also it's worth knowing that its never staff member - always two or three- so again the chances if sexual assault are very very low.

It's hard not to focus on it: the reality is you will never know what happened in those few hours. But when you think it through, intensive care has so many staff it's probably the least likely place for anyone to get away with an assault.

So sorry to hear that alcohol plus painkillers landed you in hospital. That's a horrible situation to have been in. Are you getting any counselling or therapy to help deal with the shock- of this and your past experience?


whatever the circumstances are you have suffered terrible experiences my own reason for being in intensive care was through an ilness and after eight or nine weeks in hospital i had terrible depression that was so bad i didnt think i would ever be the same again, i am 63 and with the help from icu staff and a brilliant afterteam i started to recover., but without my aftercare and talking to people who have had depression i could not have recovered. i had a loving family and grand children that helped. it took me a long time but i look back now after two years and thank goodness i took all the help there was. IF ever want a chat click on and i will do everything i can just to help Take care love xxx

Thank you all so much for all the long, detailed replies (I did not think anyone would reply!) I know I'm lucky to be here but I just don't feel it :( I feel so low.. I know there are worse things happening to nicer, lovely people on this site and I don't feel worthy to be posting here if I'm honest. I'm receiving visits daily from home help teams for depression/mental illnesses. It doesn't really help me :( I have an appointment with a specialist tomorrow whom will hopefully get me on the right medication (anti depressants,ect.) & About hospital I felt violated that someone went "there" whilst I was out of it :( horrible knowing something happened in such a private place and I had no say in it :( horrible feeling! Are they allowed to just do that!? :( thanks for the support it helps :( xxxx

Yes they are "allowed" to catheterise without consent. Medical staff have to make a judgement but also have to adhere to the Mental Capacity Act. If the procedure is absolutely necessary for the sake of your health and possibly your life, then they are permitted to do it if you cannot give consent and it is reasonable to presume that you would be incapable to give that consent for some hours. The problem with painkillers is that they can cause liver and kidney damage which needs monitoring. The only way to accurately monitor fluid balance is to catheterise the patient.

Please arrange to see the ICU staff. They should be able to talk you through what happened. You also should get counselling xxx

I was recently in intensive care, I had a seizure and it was decided I should be sedated. When I woke up in ICU I also had a urinary catheter and all my clothing was removed. They also attempted 2 spinal taps as the first one was dry and no fluid was obtained. All the doctors on ICU are males. I Had just turned 17, I should have been in a paediatric ICU but where I live the local hospital only has an adults. Instead of transferring me they thought it was fine to put me in an adults. I am so haunted that they removed my clothes and placed in a catheter also that they put me into positions to remove fluid, and there's a good chance they have seen me fully naked. I would feel more relaxed if it was a nurse with the urinary catheter but as I was unconscious I highly doubt it was. I feel so violated and am finding it hard to sleep at night.

Mijmijkey74 in reply to IFEEK

Go back into ICU and talk to them about what happened. You are allowed to do that. And perhaps think about your body as like everybody else's. We ultimately all have similar bits and bobs. Doctors and nurses will have seen lots of vaginas, breasts, penises, scrotums, bottoms and public hair every day I imagine since they qualified. Understand that feeling of violation, feel that myself, especially with my past history, but without that catheter they would not have been able to monitor your health, just as they would have been able to monitor mind, and standard procedure for coma patients I think. Cheaper than then putting us in giant nappys and having to change and clean each coma or catheterised patient every couple of hours over and over again intimately. That would be even more harrowing to overcome. A least with a catheter it's inserted once, and then removed once. It was highly embarrassing for me my catheter was removed on the ward, all knew what was being done behind my closed curtain and done by a male doctor, but had to be done as I was in so much pain from it after they forgot I still had it in. Thankfully the doctor didn't see any of my bits, he didn't look and just threaded it out quickly. No need for him to look. And just as when it goes in I'm sure they are not looking at our bits, but at a screen as inserted to guide them if needed.As for undressing us, I do know it is done very discreetly, and we are not left exposed to all. Our dignity even in emergency situations is still taken into consideration the best they can. And as much as I personally resent being woken out of my very peaceful wonderful feeling of complete love and care coma dreams I've never felt in my real life. I did beat the odds, my essence fought to survive against my knowledge and I woke when they woke me. I wasn't happy, wanted to go back, but considering my survival wasn't expected and that I'd been expected twice about to die and my mum called in to say goodbye. She didn't bring my son or tell him even. He would just never have seen me again, as doubt my old fashioned valves mother would have allowed my then just turned 13 year old soon to see his mother dead in a chapel of rest, morgue or coffin. He just wouldn't have seen me ever again. So that catheter is minor regardless of some of us having been abused/raped or just embarrassed/mortified at being naked and exposed. It is done in a respectful way, we are not treated like slabs of meat and man handled. Some nurses though do need to watch what they say in front of patients, especially ones they think can't hear. I get fed up of hearing from others to forget about stuff they have never experienced, and to stupidly say oh well at least you survived, be glad about that. My thoughts about my own life are yeah I survived because I'm a fighter, you " the other people who said that to me " wouldn't survive because you are weak, stupid.and clueless! At least I survived, yeah at least I did so my son still has a mother, but that's all. The rest of my breathing life is devastating, and I got torn away from a very special, loved and protected place deep in my coma mind/place/space/dreams that I know experience as a devastating loss. To lose such a feeling of neverending unreserved love, protection and care is devastating knowing I've survived to a life devoid of that feeling. I long to return to my coma state as for me I experienced only complete love, no horrible or scary dreams. Real breathing daily life itself are the horrible scary dreams. Reality troubles us all and often disturbes our sleep. My coma sleep was utterly peaceful, I was at peace in peace, and undisturbed, having the most luxurious sleep ever, and idiots come along saying at least you survived. Wtf? Like they know what I felt otherwise? Like they think I wanted to survive to come back to the life that actually made me so I'll in the first place? Those idiots are clueless, and make statements like those without thinking about what they are saying. I truly hope you have a life you wanted to survive for, and have since your coma found some peace in living life as you are even now still young. I think in my head to myself, I didn't want to survive, but I did, so there must be a reason my essence fought for me to survive when my death was expected more. My coma was last Jan 2018. Apparently I'm supposed to be over it now according to people who have never experienced it to ever comment on with understanding which is why they make such comments like that, as no understanding, but then they should keep their mouths/uninformed opinions shut in the mouths and minds until they educate themselves enough to make a comment of any sort. Thinking of you. x

sophiemercer94 in reply to IFEEK

Aww, I'm sorry I've only just seen this, my post was from 6 years ago and I

still struggle and cringe at the thought of it all. I had only just turned 18 at the time. X

I did have that same thought about what might have happened when I was in there. But I looked at it this way what I don't know i don't need to deal with. Focus on that you are ok and that your life was saved. The drugs they use do a serious number on your brain and all these thoughts I'm pretty sure normal cause everyone seems to have the same thoughts. Lots of love and prayers for you to feel better

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