I woke up to find myself in ICU. How I got there I still have no memory of to this day. I personally felt fine. Couldn't understand why I was still in hospital. Nobody told me anything.

I was given medication (which I took), because I assumed someone would tell me why I was suddenly on so many new tablets. I can't remember anyone sitting down & talking to me,about what had happened.

My husband told me how I ended up in ICU, but no-one told him anything about the experience of ICU either.

What no-one, not even my doctor's, mentioned was the side effects I was likely to have. Mental as well as emotional side effects that is.

For instance no-one told me how WEAK I would be.

Did you know you can lose approx. 2% of body muscle per day in ICU.

Why? I don't know, does anyone?

ANGER because you feel unable to take your 2nd chance at life.

You loose WEIGHT when your in ICU. I lost 2 stone.

Did you know your NAILS (hand and toe) stop growing for a while.

CONCENTRATION & INTERESTS take a long time to come back. MEMORY LOSS, & HAIR LOSS is another example no-one tells you about.


You could end up with DEPRESSION &/or PTSD.

I could go on & on, but the most important thing is that you DO get better. It takes time, a long time, but you will get there.

Help is out there in the form of SUPPORT GROUP's. You can go on-line to find your local one. At the moment there are 12 different groups around the country. With more in the offing.

All the best to my fellow survivors

Last edited by

17 Replies

  • Get well soon, i was in ICU a while back, it was a strange experience, ime ok now

  • I have had the same I lost 3 stone. with regards this lose what happens as it was explained to me is: You are fed by a drip as solids when in ICU or in a coma is not an easy thing to do. With the body being a clever beast it looks for protein to keep going. This is not found in fat but the muscle so you start to eat yourself to survive your shortcomings. when they tried to get me out of bed I could not support my own weight because of muscle wastage.

    Nails and hair are made of keratin which is a protein (food for ICU) you should see groves in your nails as that is the time it still grows but not so thick. Adults nails grow (on average) about 0.02 inches a week. Bigger the groove the longer you have been in.

    I suffered short term memory really badly for the first 6 months and my short term memory is not back to what it was but better.

    I have has sleep problems since my stay in ICU in 2008 but I know lots of people that get it back to normal.

    This is me we all are different.

    Be Well

  • Thank you for sharing the common effects so we all know its 'normal'

  • Thank you Kulta.

    That was my reasoning behind writing the post.


  • I am so glad u feel so much better but having no one to tAlk to and find out what happened must of been awful. You need to be assured and helpto get through I c u. I was lucky though they didn't no what was wrong with me had a traccy so couldn't to just lied there not being able to communicate but the staff were so lovely even just hold my hand wAs hopeful the after mental problems were worse for me when I got home but I had follow ups with the wonderful sister on I c u help from my doctor and gradually could see the end of a tunnel. Two years on I am 63 and still feeled tired but love the help group in Coventry and love helping others I am going to the conference in November and I can't stress enough how these groups are literally life saving. All the best health and if u fAncy a chat click on love xxxx

  • I was in ICU for a month in an induced coma on a ventilator after Respiratory Failure post-op for major bowel surgery. I still get flashbacks to the horrible hallucinations I had and the terrible paranoia about "the nurses trying to kill me" which I've noticed is very common to ICU patients. I've never had any follow up care and can only say the services in the Glasgow area are wanting. A year on I would still say my memory isn't as good pre-ICU and found the transition to HDU a bit poor at first and only one nurse had good experience with tracheostomies and had to show other staff on how to care for these. I've kept silent about my 6 weeks in hospital. This is my 1st post.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I remember when I got home and all my long nails snapped off at once as the groove got to the end of my fingers!band almost all my hair fell out. It came out in clumps and looking back at photos my whole head was covered in a fine layer of new hair with really sparse long pieces. Looked so strange. No one told me about that! Also being in bed for 3 months I think a year in I'm still getting muscle tone back. I didn't feel like I lost a lot Of weight as my body was overloaded with fluid. This is gone now but my skin is very loose as it was stretched so much

  • I went to my local hospital for my Xolair (anybody heard of it) jab for my Asthma. I told the Resp nurse that wwasn't feeling well. I had been bringing crap off my chest for a few weeks (after having my Flu jab!) She checked my Peak Flow and it was 200 instead of my usual 370. She rang A and E and wheelchaired me down there. My chest started to deteriorate and I went into Resus. A bit later ( after magnesium and corticosteriod infusions) I was intubated. I woke up on ICU 2 days later being told it was a viral chest infection that was the cause of the venting. After a week on ICU I was sent home from the unit, instead of going to the usual resp ward. I am feeling like I have hit by a very large bus. I am flash backs, daymares and bouts of extreme crying. I had PTSD before due to being in ICU sereval times and Vented 4 times in the past. Can anyome give me any advice or help please.

  • Dear Taffyrocker

    You are not the only one as you will find by perusing the many stories posted by others. As I have tried to put across, it does get better. You might get a bigger response by posting your own question.

    I found the best help came from my local ICU support group. There is a list which can be found at There is also a lot of useful information to be found on this site.

    All the best.

  • My son was in a medically induced coma for 5 days in January 2013. The side effects when he awoke were delirium, hallucinations, trouble knowing who we were, frightened, paranoid etc....couldn't sleep when he came home. Nobody told me this. He had severe pneumonia after a pneumonia shot two weeks prior. He was never the same again. Massive amounts of drugs are pumped into you. Then they try to wean you off of them, unfortunately my son died a year and three months later of a seizure caused by drug overdose. I am broken inside and wondered if this coma made him a different person. He was just 25 years old.

  • Hi Bella,

    I don't think anyone is prepared for effects of being in ICU, as patient or relative I spent 3 months in ICU with double pneumonia, severe sepsis and multiple organ failure, for me the first 71/2 weeks were completely missing, they were just full of nightmare and hallucinations, believing they were trying to kill me (a common belief) I to had so many drugs pumped into me, having to be weaned off making everything seem much worse. The first few months after leaving hospital were the worst for me I ended up in a very dark place, becoming very depressed I thought I had become a burden on my wife and family and thought they would have better off without me, I was lucky my niece is an ICU nurse and got me the help I needed, I've met so many people since then that have not been so lucky and are still looking for answers, things are now beginning to change and it's being recognized help is needed long after discharge from ICU, something all the volunteers at the many ICUsteps groups are helping with.

    Best wishes

  • Thank you. I wish my son were alive to have comforted him and to let him know these were results of his coma..:(

  • Hey, y'all. My dad is 79 yrs young. He went in for a colon resection, and the next day he was in icu for sepsis and pneumonia. Fast forward 5 days and we find out is pseudomonas, so the antibiotics he was on were resistant. He also Two days later he's on life support and in a medically induced coma. This lasted 11 days. He spent 2 days in icu after removing the tube to make sure his body could handle it and is now in a room. He's seems so confused at times, sleeps a lot, and is refusing to eat. My mom is staying in the room with him. She said last night he tried to get out of the bed, and, later tried to remove the the things off of his legs that are attached to a machine to promote circulation. This is breaking my heart and worrying me to no end. What do I do?

  • RebaFan At this point in time all I can suggest is talk to the ICU medical staff. Tell them of your fears and anxieties and put your trust in them. After all they have the expertise and the knowledge.

    Wishing your Dad a speedy recovery. Lacemaker

  • My dad has made it to a room, no longer in icu. He's having trouble swallowing water/liquids, and decided to quit eating. He says he isn't hungry when they bring his trays, and when he decides to take a few bits his food is cold and he gets frustrated. How can we help him? I've tried yogurt, pudding, diced peaches, oatmeal cream pie cookies, ice cream, etc. He'll take a couple bites then he through. One of his drs has told him if he doesn't try to eat he will end up in a nursing home which scares me. (My twin brother and I have always told our parents that we would do our best to keep them out of nursing homes.) Our mom is completely beside herself, as are we, but we don't know how to help him. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

  • I personally did not want to eat or drink anything for about 10 days after I left ICU. Then a doctor suggested I drink milk, which I did and thoroughly enjoyed but it had to be cold. Slowly but surely the appetite came back but I still like to drink a lot of cold milk. For what its worth, four years down the line I am still drinking up to 24 pints of milk a week and eating meals. I am not saying that although it worked for me it might not for your Dad

    As this is an old post, I think I am the only one who is seeing your posts. Although I am more than happy to respond, I think it would produce more responses if you started a fresh new post, within the ICUsteps community, with your story.

    Delighted your Dad has left ICU. Lacemaker

  • Hello, your life will return just take small steps, I can recall falling out of my hospital bed due to no leg muscle. I, too had problems with hair loss, ridges on my nails, sleep loss and memory loss. All these things are short term and I am now much better and remain positive.

    I hope you will take heart from what we all have to say. I wish you lots of positive thoughts and a sift recovery.

    Kindest wishes, Angie

You may also like...