PARALYZED AND WAKING UP during sedation? - ICUsteps


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PARALYZED AND WAKING UP during sedation?

Pressuresupport18 profile image

Hello. It is my prayer that you are all doing well here at ICUSteps the GREATEST support group. ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. I have a question. If you do not want to answer this question because it is too upsetting, I TOTALLY, TOTALLY UNDERSTAND, AND I RESPECT THIS AS SOME THINGS ARE JUST TOO UPSETTING. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT! If I'm going against HealthUnlocked Terms of Use, "OH GOD, I HOPE I AM NOT," well I am asking that you please let me know. PLEEEEEASE. I have a question. You know when you are inside of the ICU/ITU, you are sedated if you are on ventilation usually, and at times very heavily. They often not only use sedation and Analgaesia, but occasionally when a patient is still fighting the mechanical ventilator meaning that they are attempting to breathe when the ventilator is giving a breath when they want to breathe, and this is at times dangerous for sick lungs, and so they will often administer medications that will paralyze the patient meaning these medications alone if they were not administered du in conjunction withthe sedation and analgaesia, than the patient would be utterly awake, able to hear and feel everything, however, they would be PARALYZED, and unable to move. NOW obviously,this would be the meaning of a TRUE TRUE NIGHTMare. This would be HELL ON EARTH LIterarily11 This would be literarily the meaning of LOCKED INSIDE.

Well, this is one reason sedation MUST "MUST," be closely monitored. I am wondering if anybody while in the ICU/ITU has ever woken up when sedation has worn off and been unable to move, with total utter paralysis. I'm curious if you have ever experience. I will tell you from myself. IT IS A PROFOUNDLY HORRIBLE FEELING. Thank you for reading this message. God's blessings be with you, your loved ones, and the Critical Care Staff that took care of you in the hospital. THANK YOU1!

30 Replies

When I was in an induced coma and moved to a brand new hospital I had never seen. I saw the image of the entrance? I also thought I was in China and they told me on a follow up one of those weeks I had Chinese nurses on the ward? I also had an experience were I was stuck in a chair unable to breath and a secret policeman dressed in a blue uniform and hat wanted to defect back to UK! All of a sudden I could breath and I was on a plane! I was put on a oscillator for 10 days and they are very noisy. I think the man in the blue uniform was the surgeon attaching me to the oscillator wearing his surgical blues.

I was so out of it it is hard to say but I did pick things up while in a coma that is for sure!

Be Well

My friend, Thank you so much for this reply. I really really appreciate it. the high frequency oscillator ventilator, HFOV is a very specialized ventilator. It is wonderful that you have recovered. I am very happy to see that you have gone through this, and have successfully recovered from your ilness. God bless you.

Yes me too :) The oscillator had at the time a 50% survival rate to it. Which was a lot higher than doing nothing in my case. My only problem now is I have Restrictive lung disease, paralysed diaphragm, Pulmonary Hypertension and Fibrosis with my heart conditions but I am alive and kicking.

The oscillator is a specialized high frequency ventilator that is used when patients often do not respond to the use of a conventional ventilator. what this high frequency ventilator does is delivers very small breaths to patients at breath rates from usually between 300 breaths to often in babies as fast as 1200 breaths per minute. It does this with these extremely small breaths and that is to allow the lungs to be ventilated and oxygenated without having to open and close so much like a conventional ventilator. It is often used when lungs are fragile and tear easily. Or if a patient has a hole in their lung called a Pneumothorax and have been on extremely high ventilator pressures which are damaging to the lungs, they will place the patient on this ventilator, and the oscillator holds the lungs opened while delivering these breaths. This makes the patient's chest appear to be vibrating. And the oscillator is loud. So esentially the lungs do not open and close so much with the huge breaths from a conventional ventilator and they have the ability to heal better, yet they are still being oxygenated and ventilated.

my lungs were bleeding at one point so bad I had 6 units put in one day. I always try and have PMA :)

WOW. I want to thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I have some questions. Do you have trouble talking about the event? I know the ICU experience for some patients is a very hard experience.

I have no problem talking about it. In fact I find it helps. I am still trying to find out why Brize Norton featured so heavily in my second life?

WOW. That is wonderful that it helps to talk about. Anything to help you is A GOod THING. When you were in the ICU, were you on the oscillating ventilator, or the ECMO machine? The ECMo machine is a heart lung bypass in the ICU that is used in patients who's lungs really really are failing and who's lungs cannot be supported by the ventilator itself, or even the high frequency oscillating ventilator.

The oscillator and it was set to keep my lungs inflated but as a consequence it damaged the finer tubes to my lungs. I was going into MOF and the wife was told a few times that I was not going to survive the night! When I left hospital in 2008 I had 76% lung function I now have 45%.

WOW. I am so sorry to hear that. The oscillator can be a very very good ventilator, but often when the pressures and the frequency as well as the Amplitude are set incorrectly, it can damage the patient's lungs. And some lungs are just not best ventilated on that specialized ventilator. I know for a fact, "BEING tOlD You ARE Not going to SurVivE, or KNOWING Your FAMilY was told THAT ABout You, its very upsetting, and even thinking about it is hard.

mike999 profile image
mike999 in reply to Offcut

Part of my dreams in ICU involved me being a patient on a medical evacuation flight back to Brize Norton! So that's two of us!

I think the dreams are really moments when you come out of sedation and try to make sense about what is happening. I am told that dreaming of yourself in a medical organisation or facility is very common - after all that is where you really are. I was on a high frequency ventilator and I wonder whether the noise of it induced the thoughts of being on an aircraft? My dreams then followed a tale of me in military hospitals and recovery centres with some very bizarre story lines. Again, not surprising given my backgound in the forces. I was lucky that none turned into real nightmares - they were just plain weird. A common theme was being held in hospital as part of some fraudulent conspiracy, even though there was nothing wrong with me.

I am sorry you have not recovered fully, but I hope you can feel positive about surviving your illness. Every day I have now is a bonus.

The dreams that a lot of people experience are induced by A LOT of things. Such as the equipment around them, The equipment ON them, the people talking around them, to them, the feeling of the lines and wires that are attached and inserted, the feeling of the ventilator, and the feeling of the Nasogastric tube, and EVEN THE BED THey are oN. Because in the hospital, ESPECIALlY IN THE Intensive care UNIT, they often have you on an air mattress and this mattress moves continuously when set to rotation therapy to help rotate the patient's body to prevent bed rest related complications such as pressure ulcers, and many more complications that are related to being in bed for long periods of time, and there is one report of a patient who was on one of these air mattresses and who had a dream that she was being held captive on a hospital boat, and the nurses, and Drs. were performing painful performing painful procedures on her. Well, in her dream, the boat was running out of water. Now that dream the nurses would guess was induced by the rotating bed and the air mattress that she was on. That is not uncommon. And so the weird dreams that you experienced was induced by a lot of things, and the aircraft dream I'm going to almost GUARENTEE WAS induCED BY THE OSCIllATOR, because the high frequency oscillating ventilator is often very loud, and some people say it sounds sort of like a jet aircraft. I would say it sounds more like a washing machine out of ballance.

Offcut profile image
Offcut in reply to mike999

Funny you say that I was spying in my second life while in ICU. Also I live in Coventry but I had a beach outside the hospital. I had not long come back from Spain so that may of been were the beach came from. But I was moved to Nottingham in my head and it was snowing badly but it was June?

Lexi59 profile image
Lexi59 in reply to Offcut

How are you feeling?

Hi PS18, When I come round after a month of sedation and ventilation I was paralyzed, there was no panic though, I remember my daughter was by my side, I thought she was sat on the bed on top of my hand because I was unable to lift it off the bed. It was some time before I could raise my hand and months before I could roll over on my side without help. My lungs were wrecked and I had lost all of my muscle so it took me almost 4 months to be able to walk again and that was only around 10 meters before being completely gasping for breath.

To think 5 months before I was a healthy 51 year old working, playing tennis, cycling etc, until I was taken ill with double pneumonia which turned into ARDS and has now left me with roughly 30% lung function and Pulmonary Fibrosis.

It all happened 4 years ago now and I'm doing ok, everything is stable and I'm on the lung transplant list waiting to have a chance of returning to my old life and not a life in the slow lane but if that's how I have to stay then so be it. I've adjusted and I'm happy with what I've got.


WOW. I would liketo thank you so much for sharing your story. I must say, you are one inspiring person. You have blessed me. I know how it is to only have limited lung function. Its just a HORRIBLE feeling walking around a little bit, and them when you are done, you feel like you are being forced to breathe through a straw with bricks on your chest. IT IS UTTERLY HORRIBLE!!

It ain't much fun is it PS18, I still get seriously out of breath, sometimes at the top of the stairs but sometimes with my oxygen pack its at the top of a rather big hill. :)

Its all about pacing yourself and its amazing what can still be done eh'

NOT EASY AT ALL. I have you on the very top of my prayer list. I PRAY THAT You wILL GET LUNGS ASAP AND THAT You will Not have to wait long at all. THE LUNG TRANsPLANT list is long, and it can take years, but I pray, and now my family and churchis going to be praying that YOU GET LUNGS ASAP. Because, When you cannot breathe well, ITS HELL ON EARTH.

Offcut profile image
Offcut in reply to dall05

I lost 3 stone in ICU and it took me over 2 weeks to walk with out any support even short distances.

WOw. Well, I must say, you did great being able to walk as much as you were able to in two weeks. I know how it is. when you are in the hospital for a long period of time and then you begin to walk, IT IS VERY HARD, and when you are recovering from lung problems and have been on a ventilator as well, IT IS 100 times harder.

I cheated to get out of hospital too. It was not until I got home I realised I could not get up stairs to bed. My youngest son carried me up! (6'2" fit mid 20's at the time)

WOW. That was wonderful that you had your youngest son to help you.

Lexi59 profile image
Lexi59 in reply to dall05

Wow. My father name is " Tony" and he was taken off of the paralyzing med a few days ago. He is still alert while on the ventilator but he havent followed any commands yet. I dont understand why he is only blinking and moving his tongue but not squeezing hands or moving his toes to show signs of being able to move.

Thanks PS18, anything is possible isn't it. :) . Look after yourself.

YES. If you don't mind me asking, how logn have you been on the list for a lung transplant? If I asked something that you would rather not answer, i totally totally understand. I was just wondering.

Its been roughly 19 months but I was suspended with an infection (Abscess) for 12 of those. I had 1 call but my antibodies didn't match so the wait goes on. What will be will be I say.

Yes, that if common. for patients to receive calls saying, "OH, we have lungs for you. COME QUICK. Come quick. Only to find out that the lungs just were not right for you. Never despair. That just meant that those lungs were not the right ones. AND WE WANT THE RIGHT LUNGS FOR THE RIGHT PERSON so that the lungs will work AT THEIR BEST, and YOU WILL BE ABLE TO BReaTHE PROPPERLY ON YOUR OWN WITHOut hAVING To gasP AND Deal with such shortness of air.That will be such a wonderful day.


Yes. I was in induced coma and paralysed. I distinctly remember the oxygen tube kept blowing off my throat and the alarm going off but slowly 'dying' as nurses didn't answer alarm. And may I add this continued throughout the time I had treachioctomy and my visitors learnt to plug me in as nurses never answered alarms and I became distressed. I also thought I was in hospital in Ireland. Later when conscious hearing Irish accents. I also remember that I'd 'escaped' and was so where with white walls, screens, monitors etc and yes that's the room I woke in.

Msdreadedfate profile image
Msdreadedfate in reply to Yiva

My mum is somewhat in the same position right now. Induced coma. She had seizures which is why she is in the ICU And pretty much every time she had a seizure or any indication of one, the nurses would sedate her and continue to do so every few hours. Literally every time!

When she goes for her EEG scans she is put in a state where manageable. This went on for about 3weeks. They have now said seizures have stopped but say they may be damage to lower brain.

They have apparently stop sedating her and it’s been about two weeks and she hasn’t fully woke up. They are talking about taking her off the ventilator and if so she may die. We want to give her more time as she is doing small things such as opening her eyes, moving a head at times, yawning.

She can feel pain if I squeeze her hand and is somewhat aware of tube and ppl around her as the nurse had said.

Only issue is my Mum is not fully awake and basically in a paralysed state. She doesn’t really move her hands, arms nor her legs own her own but doe reflex to pressure. what does anyone think of this? Just give me any of your thoughts.

The only reason I have hope that she will fully wake up at some point is because this it’s not the first time she has been in hospital and certainly not the first time she has been sedated before. She has woken up back to health many times before but this time it is taken way longer.

We as a family think it’s due to the large amount of drugs they have given her and is still somewhat affecting her even if the doctors think differently.

Hi, My dad is in the same shape at the moment. Sorry for asking this but how is your mum now? I am very anxious about my father’s state at the moment. Please help me

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