I would very much like to compare notes with anybody who is researching or writing about the dream states and hallucinations experienced while in induced comas in ICU.
I am now almost 70 years old but in my life and career have been notorious as a risk taker and been frequently told I had a charmed life for some of the crazy stunts I've gotten away with. It's extremely ironic therefor that in June this year I tripped and fell on a short flight of stairs, only about four stairs up, and fractured my neck and spine in multiple places. It's been hard to accept that such a simple tumble could have done the damage that it did.
Despite the misfortune of the accident itself I was extremely fortunate to have been quickly taken to the ICU at Charing Cross Hospital where the skill of the surgeons and medical technicians there probably saved my life and repaired the neck fractures that might have otherwise left me paralysed. God bless and long live our wonderful NHS. I'm happy to report that 18 weeks later I have made an almost complete recovery and am now back at home, I can get up and down the stairs and even drove my own car again, briefly, a few days ago.
Reading other peoples stories in this community it's tempting to go off on topics like the quality of nursing, the difference in attitudes between nurses in ICU and those in the recovery wards, the information about ones condition and prospects, or lack of it, provided by both doctors and nurses, the insane staff rotations and medication cycles that don't allow patients to sleep properly more than four hours at a time, the noise levels and continual beep-beeping of equipment in ICU, the disco-ordination between departments like outreach and physiotherapy and so on and so forth on and on but that's not why I'm writing.
I was in an induced coma for five weeks. The dreams, hallucinations, phantasms, nightmares, whatever you want to call them, were spectacular and so very 'real', in 3D and technicolor, like visiting other worlds, other lives, other dimensions. All that was lacking from ordinary reality was sensation, touch, scent, etc., but there was sound, language (often difficult to understand), speech, background noises all seeming very real.
As it turns out I later discovered that my experience was far from uncommon, in fact it seems to be typical of ICU patients under heavy sedation. The paranoia, the sense of having been abducted and restrained by some agency or other, some report it as aliens, I imagined that I had somehow stumbled into some kind of CIA mind control program. On at least two occasions I thought myself to be already dead and in some twilight realm beyond.
I'm not going to go into detail of the dreams here, I could write a book, but would like, even need, to compare the content and emotion of my hallucinations with other ICU survivors with a view to being able to help partners, relatives and friends understand better what's happening to loved ones currently in ICU or still suffering from the effects of having been in ICU.