The end of January 2015 is fast approaching with a lack of posts this year, as monitor of the community for ICUsteps I thought I post a few words to get things started again.
I've been asked to talk at a conference in April regarding the recovery and support I received when I left ICU, it was while I was putting my PowerPoint presentation together, looking back over the last 4 years I realized what little support was available then.
Leaving ICU after 3 months for a ward was a total nightmare, with no understanding of the trauma I had been through, even being asked by a doctor who never checked my notes, "Have you had a stoke" totally unaware I had had double pneumonia, severe sepsis, MOF & ARDS, I was so glad to leave the ward after 2 weeks and finally go home after 108 days.
I was so pleased to finally be home but totally unaware how difficult things would become, it felt like when you left hospital you were given a discharge letter and forgotten about, the only help I received was some community rehab, where someone would come and help me with walking again as I'd lost so much muscle tone. I quickly slipped into a depressive state due to the lack of support, it wasn't until my niece who is an ICU nurse helped us get a follow-up appointment with the ICU consultant that things started to get better, he arranged psychological help for both my wife and myself, we had to wait another 4 months for the appointment, which for me was to late, as I had started to come to terms with what had happened.
I've been very fortunate since those early dark days, putting my experience of being a patient in ICU to good use by starting a local support group back in early 2012 with the help of my wife, niece and another nurse, which became part of ICUsteps in late 2012, I had the good fortune of becoming a trustee of ICUsteps in 2013 and spoke at their first ever conference in November 2013, along with talks at my local hospital, talking of my ICU experience.
It's been my way of giving something back, turning a negative into a positive, hoping it will inspire others to become involved in this very special charity.
Best wishes to all on your journey to recovery, wherever it may take you.