Induced coma x 2

Hi I'm Sarah, November 2014 I was rushed to hospital with severe ketoacidosis (type 1 diabetes) and put in an induced coma for nine days.

Took me a long time to recover both physically and mentally. In March 2016, I had an ear infection that turned into sepsis and I was in an induced coma for 13 days. I still struggle with stairs and any physical exercise. I was in ventilated both times, second time I had grade 3 AKI and was on dialysis whilst in a coma I also had a tracheostomy. Twelve months on I have started having traumatic nightmares, same as the induced coma ones and constant flashbacks of a particular dream from ICU that I know is not real and never will be. I'm crying all the time, I've been to my gp and she gave me a number to call, three times she has done this, even though I need this help, I can't bring myself to ring it, why?why?why? I'm going mad, I'm crying while I'm writing this because I feel so pathetic and weak.

8 Replies

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  • Sarah, I am sorry to hear of your distress - I don't think anyone would regard you as weak, after the very real traumas you have experienced.

    I am not a medic but it strikes me that firstly, you need help to get over the immediate situation and secondly, you might benefit in the longer term from some counselling. However, you have to be 'on an even keel' first before you consider the counselling. (that's been my experience)

    It sounds as though you don't have confidence in your GP - but you really should take her advice and make this phone call. You don't say who it is to, or what organisation it might be, but I think you have to try this first and foremost.

    Also, you might be genuinely suffering from clinical depression. There is absolutely no shame in this. If it is the case, you might benefit from some short term medication. This is not about being 'weak', it's about recovery.

  • I TOO WAS PUT INTO AN INDUCED COMA AND WITH A TRACYOTOMY COULD NOT SPEAK TO THE NURSES WHEN I CAME ROUND I WAS AFRAID BECAUSE OF ALL THE HALUCUNATIONS I HAD HAD AND NOW FOUR YEARS LATER I HAVE MEMORY LOSS IN MY LIFE . I WAS 70 AND LIVED ON MY OWN AND WAS SENT OUT WITH NO HELP WHATSOEVER, THEY DID SAY I COULD HAVE A FRAME BUT MEDIQUIP LOST THE PAPERS. MY DOCTOR SAID SHE HAD MADE ENQUIRIES FOR ME TO SEE A COUNCILLOR BUT NOTHING CAME OF THIS MY HEALTH HAS BEEN SO POOR SINCE THEN AND HAVE HAD ILLNESS AFTER ILLNESS. I REALLY SYMPATHISE WITH YOU , BUT MUST LET YOU KNOW THAT IT DOES GET EASIER ALTHOUGH YOU NEVER REALLY FEEL THE SAME, BY THE WAY MY ILLNESS WAS STREPTOCOCCUS PNEUMONIIA AND AND WAS TYPE 1 DIABETIC AND THE NURSES WERE SO GOOD TO ME IN HOSPITAL I WAS JUST SO AFRAID AND COULD NOT USE MY ARMS OR LEGS . I CAN ONLY GO ABOUT BY TAXI AS I HAVE HAD TO LEARN TO WALK AGAIN BY MYSELF AS I HAVE TOILET UPSTAIRS BUT NOW CAN USE MY LEGS INSTEAD OF MY BOTTOM TO GET UP AND DOWN BUT MY NERVES ARE STILL A MESS. I DO HOPE YOU WILL SOON BE ON THE MEND AS I CAME OUT WITH DIVERTICULAR DISEASE WHICH I BELIEVE WAS WHEN PUT ON SOLIDS I HAD MY RECTAL TUBE STILL LEFT IN WHICH CAUSED A BLOCKAGE. GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU MY LOVE.

  • Please be gentle and compassionate with yourself, it's very normal to cry I still feel very emotional at certain times, life can be awful at times and I still find it hard to believe what I went through. I am still having regular occasions when I think of my times in hospital.

  • Hi Sarah,

    A stay in ICU can be a traumatic experience for most people but twice is something none of us would wish to experience, so it's very understandable your reluctance t speak to someone on the phone about such a terrifying experience.

    It's now six year since I was in ICU so critically ill no one thought I would survive, I was there for 3 months with most of the first 2 months completely missing, the only record of have of it is the diary my wife kept which painted a very bleak picture of what must have been a terrifying time for my wife & family, I was locked into a bizarre world of nightmares and hallucinations that I can still remember as if it was yesterday but they do become less intrusive with time, my first year after discharge turned into my darkest days trying to come to terms with what had happened to me and asking that question we all ask "why me" but I got the counseling both my wife and myself needed, it was difficult to start with talking about it but it got easier with each session, so I would recommend getting the help you need no one will be judging you so don't let that hold you back, if you're lucky enough to have an ICUsteps local support group near you that's another way of meeting others that have been through the ICU experience and understand what you have been through, detail can be found at icusteps.org/support we have more groups starting soon if there's not one near you.

    Most of all don't put yourself down by saying you're weak, I've met many people who have thought the same way but by sharing their experience it shows how brave they really are having survived such a traumatic experience, most people will never understand with the attitude you survived so you must be fine, I've spent the last four years using my experience through ICUsteps to help educate people on the difficulties faced by many ex-ICU patients long after discharge, thankfully people are starting to listen.

    Best wishes in your continued recovery and I hope you find the help you need.

    Bill

  • Sarah, you are so far from pathetic and weak. My wife is still in an induced coma as we speak. Every day I see her fighting against incredible odds. And I read all of your guys incredible stories of triumph I wish I was 1/2 as strong as all of you, you are all amazing!!! Sarah, please try to remember this on the bad days. You are increadibly strong.

    As far as talking to someone, please try to do it. Come to think about it, you already have started. You offered up your incredible story for us to read. Talking here with other survivors will let you know you that you are far from alone in your recovery.

    I can only speak as someone who'is watching my wife fighting through a medically induced coma (Ally is on day 6). 3 days ago I felt so lost and alone That is when I found this website and all of you amazing fighters. Now I know that I am far from alone and way more positive that my wife will beat this She is the strongest person I know

    Thank you for your help Sarah and I promise you that talking with people ( even complete strangers, LOL) will help you win the final leg of your inreadible journey.

    Sincerely,

    Marc

  • Hi Sarah

    I was in ICU in an induced coma for 12 days. I can still remember the dreams I had, but 11 years on they are far less often. I was 36, I had a 4 year old boy and my daughter was 3 months old. My husband was doing a PGCE course which he had to leave to care for me & the children. The guilt I had was overwhelming especially for my failings as a mother. I just used to cry all the time. Eventually I took the medication and went to counseling,

    You are not weak, you are a very strong person and you have been through a terrible ordeal. Please try to take your GP'S advice, try counseling and medication. I found my best cure was the love of my family and friends and I got a puppy. You only get one life , so please try and enjoy it, you have nothing to feel guilty about.

    I do hope you start to feel better soon, and you are able to enjoy your life to the full.

    Regards sarah

  • Sarah, you're not alone. Coma flashbacks are common,, me too, you have experienced an extreme negative health event and, as I keep being told, 'you're lucky to be alive'. Hmm… in terms of psychotherapy the state of the art seems to be with treating PTSD, (we first heard of it with returning veterans and equated it with something like shell-shock.) I think the trauma of surgery, intubation, deep sedation and the protracted return to 'reality' should be classed as PTSD and treatment available for such. I was also given phone numbers I haven't called, probably for the same reason as you. I want to talk to someone, therapist, analyst, whatever that has lots of experience with coma dream survivors and coma flashbacks and can't find how to connect with one.

    BTW, I'm not a doctor and shouldn't advise medications but you should ask your GP. Ever since hospital a year ago when I was having panic attacks over all the pipes, tube, braces (broken neck) that I was encased and immobilized in, I was described a mild anti-anxiety drug called Clonazepam, works for me, not for everybody, not too happy, not too sad, no panic attacks, fewer tears, fairly mellow, get on with life sort of a pill ;-)

    Your message was 19 days ago so I hope you're much better by now.

    Best Wishes for a complete recovery.

    David.

  • Hi David. I'm sorry of your ordeal. Since I posted on here I have unfortunately been admitted again. I'm home now, as I had gone into severe DKA no one could get a line in, 7hrs later still in resus the put in a femoral line and prior to this icu nurses kept coming to tell me that I might end up in the unit again. My fears panic anxieties nightmares hallucinations and night terrors have returned ten fold I'm scared to go to sleep I am addressing it and a nurse from icu has referred me to psychiatric liaison and said it could well be PTSD. Thank you for your kind words

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