Since there seems to be a recent shortage of posts recently I thought I would share my story with you all as I have been a member of this community for a few months but haven't posted anything about myself yet.
I spent some time in ICU exactly 2 years ago after contracting the rare PVL-MSSA bacteria in my lungs which caused double Necrotising Pneumonia ,a Pneumothorax and Severe Sepsis ! On top of it all I also had the A Flu as well. I was 36, very fit and had rarely been sick before and was proud to have had a period of more than 11 years without any single sick day at work ! Besides I'd never even been to hospital. All of this came very suddenly and as a bit of a'' perfect storm'' . I thought I had a bad cold but it turned very bad very quickly and I ended up in Ressus. and then ICU within a few hours of arriving in hospital..
After 2 days on Non-Invasive ventilation ( NIV) which was exhausting I had to be sedated and put on a ventilator for 7 days . I have many memories of my time in ICU and even with the ventilator in which was pretty horrible . I had many bad dreams/daydreams/hallucinations and was very paranoid most of the time I was there . I apparently was hard to sedate and pulled my wires,lines etc off a lot ..I actually remember doing so too ! However I also remember the kindness of many of the nurses and doctors who looked after me and their encouragements when I was so ill and could do absolutely nothing for myself ..
I spent 2 weeks like this then was transferred to a Respiratory ward for another 2 weeks where I improved very well before going home . I stayed off work for 7 months but my recovery was very steady and so rewarding ! In that time I went to peeling a banana in 10mns and having to learn to walk again and struggled to regain my voice to being able to go on hikes and back to all the gym classes i used to attend before. It wasn't easy ,even scary at first and I had to take many steps of faith and work hard as much as I could but it paid off ! I often remembered the words of a lovely nurse who'd told me to keep going & only ever look back to see how far I'd come.. Indeed ..!
These days my life is pretty normal I would say ; I still have ( and might always have) some obstructions in my airways at times and still cough and the only thing I am still not able to do is to go back to a Choir I had joined a few months before I got sick as my singing voice isn't the most constant unfortunately but it's a very small price to pay and I am grateful of everything I got back everyday and feel very blessed indeed.Overall this whole experience,especially the recovery part has been very positive for me and I hope others going through it too can make the most of theirs as well.. It's a long road and you need to keep looking after yourself well to make the most of it..
Last year I got in contact with Peter Gibbs of ICU Steps to enquire if there was a local ICU Steps group here near Belfast but found out there wasn't but I was put in touch with a ex-ICU nurse who was interested in starting one locally and we are currently working on it ! We've now met up a few times and met other survivors who hopefully will keep attending and help more others ! : o )
Wishing you all the best. X