How long is recovery?

My father went into hospital on the 3rd March for an ilesotomy reversal. Due to surgical complications he has had two further emergency operations and now has a colostomy. In that time he has spent several weeks in ICU on a ventilator and also had a tracheotomy for a while. He is now back on the ward and can hardly move or speak and is unable to feed himself. He also has delirium still which is to be expected as he is 70 and also has parkinsons. What I'd really like to know is how long does recovery take. I know that's like asking how long is a piece of string. But no one will give us any indication. Will it be a week before he can stand or months? How long is he likely to remain in hospital now that he is stable and only on a bit of oxygen and paracetamol? It's just tough to have got past the intense will he live or die bit but still be in limbo. I've just got tickets through for trooping of the colour of the 10th June. Will he still be in hospital or could he be home and able to come? Any indication or expectation levels would be great fully received!

10 Replies

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  • Why are they not sending him for rehab, especially after such a long-standing critical illness?

  • Sorry replied in wrong place! No one has mentioned rehab yet. He just gets physio on the ward. They am for three times a week.

  • Hi Friz the nurses have started talking about sending Dad to rehab when he gets surgically discharged. Unfortunately they spoke to him before we had got there so he found the whole idea quiet frightening. My guess is any change when you're at your lowest must be scary to cope with. They are going to assess him next week . The are also talking about taking out the nose tube and feeding him directly into husband stomach as he is still not wanting to eat.

  • For sure, change is extremely scary. Especially if he can't move yet I think Rehab might be the next step. Is he getting any Physiotherapy? Also, how long has he had the nasogastric tube for? Is it bothering him? A PEG tube requires a surgical procedure keep that in mind...

  • I'm not a medic or physiologist so I can only refer to my own experience regarding standing and walking and how long will it take. It is a bit of a piece of string question but the patient can determine the length of the string. As I recall it needed an immense amount of will power, you have to absolutely want to stand and walk again. The physiotherapists that cared for me were absolutely fantastic, gentle bullies. Trying to stand for the first time after weeks of lying in bed is terrifying, realizing your legs won't hold you like they used to is scary but when the physio's get you standing the progress from being held up by nurses and walking sticks to walking unaided can be quite 'rapid'. For me the time between being unable to get off the bed, to just sitting in a chair to trying a flight of stairs for the first time was about six weeks. The downside can be the amount of time the therapists have to spend with the patient each day. Hope that helps, Best Wishes, David.

  • Thank you David, hearing from people's own experiences really helps. I'm sure my Dad will do his best. Unfortunately as he is still delirious it is tricky to get him to totally understand what is required of him.

  • No one has mentioned rehab yet, just physio on the ward who aim to visit three times a week.

  • My experience was very similar to David's. The first time I was sat up, after about five weeks in ICU, I thought it would be months before I was walking again, but it took about six weeks. I was 61 at the time. It does take will-power, it was a huge effort to stand at first. My rehab took place on the hospital ward and I was visited by the physios every day. As David says, they're gentle bullies! 😃

  • Thank you for the reply hearing other people's stories really helps. I'm so pleased you've made such progress in your recovery I hope my Dad finds inner strength like you. If you don't mind me asking was there any one thing that helped or that I could do to help my Dad? We had a very special moment with him today as the physio wheeled him out if the ward and he went outside and felt the sun in his face for the first time in forever.

  • Just sitting on the edge of the bed was a big breakthrough for me, and being sat in a chair after being in a bed for so long. But I put most of my progress down to the physios; they worked on me every day. I think my progress would have been much slower otherwise.

    It sounds like your dad had a really good experience feeling the sun on his face, I hope he recovers well and goes from strength to strength. Best wishes, Steve

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