3rd anniversary of my stay in ICU

I'd just like to share my experience of recovery a spontaneous splenic rupture. I'd had planned surgery for a bowel resection and was in post operative recovery, unfortunately, my spleen ruptured causing massive blood loss and I was in cardiac arrest. I had numerous arrests through the next 24 hrs and my family had been told it was highly likely that I wouldn't make it. For the next 10 days I was in an induced coma and showing no sign of improvement. I was moved from the Churchill hospital to the John Radcliffe, Oxford where I had a balloon pump inserted in my heart to give my heart a chance to recover from the numerous arrests I'd had. 48 hours later..... I was awake and amazed to see my family staring at me in equal amazement!!!

My real journey to recovery started there, I'd gone from 15 st to just under 10 stone. I was so confused about everything that had happened to me. Nightmares, guilt I felt for putting my family through an ordeal I thought wrongly was my fault, my body was mentally and physically shattered. My heart had taken a real battering and my nights were filled with horrific nightmares.

I was diagnosed as having PTSD and referred to a Psychologist who was amazing, she was able to take me through everything and over a time I was able to lessen the the affect of the nightmares, though I still have flashbacks.

I suffer from fatigue after very little exertion but it's a small price to pay to walk in the fresh air and see Spring sunshine. I treasure every day, things that would have irritated me before seem trivial, I think I have a grasp on the true value of life, your health and support of your family and loved ones.

Finally....no matter how bleak things look when someone is in ICU the impossible can happen. My daughter and I went for Oxford to meet the surgeon who saved my life, I couldn't find adequate words to express my gratitude for the care I received in ICU. He introduced us to two of the nurses who had performed countless CPR on me through the first 24 hours. I have never felt so humbled in my life but two young nurses worked so hard to keep me alive and I was able to thank them.

3 Replies

  • Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and showing your gratitude to those wonderful doctors and nurses that saved our lives, I remember meeting the consultant that saved my life 4 years ago at my 6 month follow-up, I had double pneumonia, severe sepsis & multiple organ failure with little chance of survival, while on a ventilator I had a mucus plug the size of a golf ball break away from my lung blocking my airway causing respiratory arrest & 2 cardiac arrests with the consultant struggling to remove it, it was so nice to meet and thank him for saving my life, it also inspired me to become involved with ICUsteps helping others to understand the trauma many ICU patients go through.

    When you have a second chance of life you realize how precious life is and cherish everyday new day.

  • Thanks for your sharing your story. I know we're the lucky ones, we came through ICU, as my surgeon explained, a lot of people don't make it.

    I was talking to a friend about ICU and we all know it's there but it's not until some sudden event plunges us into a world where lives depend on the skills and dedication of the Doctors and Nurses right across the NHS.

    I don't know if Lift Psychology is a nationwide service, I live in Swindon and the care I have had there has been exceptional.

  • Thanks for sharing your story - and in doing so, you'll help others too as there are so many common threads from the critical illness experience that people who've been there will pick up on.

    I hope your anniversary is an enjoyable one and a special way to mark and appreciate the second chance you've been given. My 12th anniversary is at the end of the month and I've booked the day off work to spend it with my wife. Though we'd never wish such an experience on anyone, I do think surviving critical illness can give us a new perspective on life and the things that really matter. It's easy over time to get sucked back into the mundane troubles of daily life but I believe it's good to take a moment to remember how lucky we are and to get the most from our second chance.

    Happy anniversary.

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