Advice for getting through having loved one in ICU

Hi, I'm new to this group but I'm looking for some support. Three weeks ago my boyfriend was admitted to ICU, he had an accident on his bike which resulted in him breaking his neck. He can currently only feel from his shoulders down, the doctors are confident that he will be able to make a full recovery but this could take several years. He is on a ventilator at the moment and has been sedated for most the time we've been here but they have woken him up to try to ween him off the ventilator. He was only meant to be in ICU for a week at most but he has had severe sepsis which has led to kidney failure and this has delayed the second surgery on his neck. This whole experience has been incredibly difficult for me and I feel incredibly selfish for saying that because it has obviously been a whole lot worse from him. It has been hard seeing the most active and talkative person I have ever met being unable to move or speak. It's horrible to see him in pain and feel like I can't do anything about it. I feel guilty when I'm not in the hospital or even if I am happy about something. I feel like I have no one to talk to about all of this because no one knows what to say, I was hoping people in this community who have been through similar things might have some advice for getting through this. Thank you,

Julia.

6 Replies

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  • Hi Julia,

    Has it been suggested to you to keep a diary for your boyfriend as it will help him at a later in his recovery, I had almost 2 months missing from my 3 months in ICU almost 7 years ago.

    My wife & daughter kept a diary of that missing time, not just what I was going through but about daily life at home, who would visit and the thoughts of what they were going through, don't feel guilty because at this stage it's the relatives that go through the most trauma while a loved one is in a induced coma, I like many others here were in what can only be described as being in the most bizarre virtual world, at times terrifying and other times amusing totally unaware of how critically ill I was.

    Try and find a little time for yourself to meet up with family or friends and have a coffee and a chat just to give you a break from it all and most of all don't feel guilty about it, your boyfriend will need your support later in his recovery, as recovering from such a major trauma can take it's toll both physically & psychologically.

    Some hospitals give out the ICUsteps Intensive Care Guide that may help you understand more or you can download it for free from icusteps.org/guide.

    Best wishes to you both in your boyfriend making a full recovery.

    Bill

  • I meant to send you a very insightful article from huffington post too

    m.huffpost.com/us/entry/271...

  • Hi Julia, I too found myself in a similar position to you, my partner was admitted to hospital ( we live in Spain) whilst I was in the UK with an acute attack of pancreatitis, he basically went to the Dr's surgery collapsed and to cut a long story short after 3 days in hospital ended up in an induced coma for 2 months in ICU, his kidneys failed along with his lungs and was ventilated and at one point we were given 48 hours! After several bouts of pneumonia and unsuccessful attempts at weaning him off sedation, we did eventually get there! I found the same as you, my emotions were all over the place, I suffered from guilt when I had to leave him ( ICU had a strict visiting policy here in Spain of 1-1.30pm and 8-8.30pm ) I visited twice a day at these given times after my first visit I would return home and have everybody to inform I was exhausted and an emotional wreck, I got through by taking one day at a time and after a week decided to turn to social media I used this as both a means of communication to everyone instead of having to inform people individually and also to keep as a journal of Andys journey! I found this a comfort as when he had set backs and I would take this hard if I read back it made me realise how far he had come! I went through every emotion possible including anger and the biggest piece of advice I can give you is don't be hard on yourself, don't feel guilty if you need to take time out, your boyfriend is in the best place possible with 24 hour care, you need to take care of you! Thinking of you and wishing you both well.

    Lynn

  • THE 3 MOST DANGEROUS MISTAKES THAT YOU ARE MAKING BUT YOU ARE UNAWARE OF, IF YOUR LOVED ONE IS A CRITICALLY ILL PATIENT IN INTENSIVE CARE! intensivecarehotline.com/bl...

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