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5 days in icu

I had what I thought was a fairly common acdf spine surgery. Released after 1 night in the regular ward I felt great. After taking a nap for 3 hours my wife noticed extreme swelling in my neck. Rushed to the emergency room I spent the next 5 days and 1 more surgery in icu. I do not remember much from my time there other than dramatic hallucinations and the firm belief that there was a concerted effort by the staff to harm me and blackmail me. When I was stepped down I tried to escape the hospital being confronted by doctors nurses and security guards...even my wife and son, not trusting anyone. I even called my attorney to see if I could force my release. Needless to say a sedative shot stopped me before much damage was done. I am now home recovering nicely but seem to have a recurring nightmare and a horrible fear of needing a hospital again. Something I don't think I could force myself to do. The doctor told me it was just a normal reaction due to the amount of antibiotics, pain meds and sedatives I received while there. I am concerned this will not go away. I am terrified to go to my office because of my trust issues developed in the icu. Am I going crazy?

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Hi Al63

Hallucinations & nightmares can appear very real to those of us that have experienced ICU delirium, I've always described it as being in a terrifying virtual world where we play the leading role, it's been 6 years now since I was in ICU but I can still remember the terrifying & sometimes just bizarre nightmares & hallucinations as if it was yesterday but please be reassured they become less obtrusive with time.

Unfortunately many people will never meet someone else who has experienced the trauma of ICU and most people will never understand the psychological damage it can inflict, we are very fortunate here in the UK, as ICUsteps have a growing number of local support groups to help both patients & relatives in the recovery process, they have also produced an intensive care guide that you can download for free at which you may find will help answer some of your questions.

Best wishes for 2017 & in your continued recovery.


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