Cognitive Problems

My husband is now ten months post ICU.He had a serious motorbike accident which resulted in life threatening injuries.We have both noticed his cognitive part of his brain isn't the same anymore.He actually said to me the other day he isn't as sharp as tack anymore! He didn't sustain any brain injury from the accident .He often forgets words and is aware of this ,is very forgetful and he zones out and I actually have seen him several times just stare into space.Ive been told although his scan was clear the brain still gets shaken about and that could be the problem.He is also on Lyrica a nerve tablet for his Paralysed Upper Limb ,maybe it's the drugs he's on.I have read it's common for ICU patients to suffer from long term cognitive problems.Does anyone else experience these sort of cognitive problems?

4 Replies

  • Hiya and ten months will feel like a long time but it isn't when it comes to recovering from a coma. My memory was rubbish for a long time and even now I still forget things, but I started doing puzzles it may seem insignificant but has helped as does time. Doctors always say it can take up to 2 years to fully recover. And you and your husband focus on the positives he here and he has no brain damage x

  • Hello. I came out of ICU in May last year and have experienced some sort of cognitive struggle ever since. It's hard to know how much of this is as a result of being in Intensive Care and how much is normal, or business as usual for me. I don't think I've ever been good at remembering names, but in the past year it feels like it's been more difficult and at times I'm aware that I've completely forgotten something that others around me seem to have no difficulty in remembering. It sounds like your husband may have been affected both by the shock of the accident and by the drugs that were used to help him then and are still being used now. Hopefully the effects of both will gradually diminish over time. What I've found useful is to keep an ongoing list of all the things I need to do. I write it on a Sunday evening and I keep it updated throughout the week. It doesn't stop me from forgetting names, but it does help me to avoid that awful uneasy feeling that there might be something I needed to do that I've forgotten. Best of luck to you both.

  • Hi I can relate to everything you've said, I was in ICU just over 6 years ago for 3 months, with most of the first 2 months completely missing from my memory the only record I have of that time is in a diary my wife kept of the horrendous time she & the family went through as I was so critical I had a DNR placed on me (thankfully removed) had respiratory arrest and 2 cardiac arrests when a mucus plug blocked my airway, stopped breathing for ten minutes and had every drug they could find until they found one that would work to cure for my illness.

    It was when both my wife and myself saw a psychologist several months after my discharge that my wife mentioned her concerns about my cognitive state something I hadn't noticed, I was referred to a clinical psychologist where I had 5 hourly sessions of doing different types of memory tests which I thought I done quite well at, it was not until I received the results that I realised how bad it really was, my communication skills were above average but my short term memory was well below average and has shown no improvement as I now find at times I can completely loose the thread of a conversation, I'm not sure if it was all the drugs they used to save my life or the ten minutes of being technically dead, what I do know is that 6 years on I'm glad to still be here enjoying life something I'm sure your husband would agree with, we may not be as sharp as a knife anymore but that won't stop us enjoying life.


  • Dear Bill, Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.Thats exactly my hubby,he's half way through a coversation and loses his thread.This happens quite a lot and he uses an incorrect word in a sentence.Hes very aware of this ,we tend to make light of it.Its only my ours sons and myself who have noticed this changes.No one else would pick up on it.We have started playing Chess and doing crosswords.He beats me every time at Chess,so no problem there.The crosswords he struggles with,but watches The Chase and his general knowledge is still excellant.I totally agree that it could have been to do with drugs you have in ICU,plus the shock to the system .I have been reading up on his condition and there is research going on with patients in ICU placed in an induced coma as this can cause long term problems.My hubby doesn't seem to understand the enormity of when he was gravely ill in ICU ,as he cant remember hardly any of it.I kept a diary but I find it to upsetting to go there even ten months later .Sadly my hubby has been left with a totally paralysed Arm& Hand he's having a hard time dealing with that,it causes him a lot of Phantom pains and has been life changing regarding work and his hobbies he used to do.But on a positive life is getting better,it's taking a lot of adjusting to but lots of love and kindness have got him along way in ten months.I hope you and your wife are keeping well and life is a lot better for you both.I wouldn't wish the pain and sorrow my husband ,ours sons and myself on anyone.I know a few people who have had their loved ones in ICU for different reasons and they totally get me ,when I try to explain things.Take care.

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