October will mark my four anniversary. Acute pancreatitis hit me in October, and by the end of November, I had been in a coma, acquired severe sepsis, gone through two surgeries , and was relearning how to walk. Even after being released from the hospital, it would be another 10 months before I was completely released from the hospital's care. It would be another two years before I was able to go back to work, although only part time.
I suffered from all the usual post ICU stuff (PTSD, anxiety, depression, financial hardships, etc.). I even lost the ability to move my left foot and now wear a brace in order to walk. My memory isn't what use to be. Most of my episodic memory from 15-20 years ago is spotty to nonexistent (I may remember names or faces, but no recollection of how or why I know them). Losing those memories is more difficult than losing the use of my foot.
Even with all the difficulty and pain I just wanted to tell anyone who is going through it, that you can and will have a good life. You must decide what that life will like. It will be different from before the ICU, because you are different. The people who care about you may not understand, but that's okay. The only way to really understand it, is to have lived through it. I have learned to be patient, not only with friends and family, but with myself. I have also learned to relax and rest when I am tired. At the same time I learned to challenge myself and never give up (I will finish graduate school soon). Most importantly, I learned to not be ashamed of starting over. I know this post is way too long.