Coping with life after Coma

Hi All,

I was in a induced coma two and a half years ago. Went from a sore throat to major infection within 24hrs. Fortunately when the paramedics came out to me they recognised a problem and I went straight to hospital. Made a full recovery with 18 months, but over the last few months have had to start to deal with the mental trauma. Having therapy is really helping and meeting others at the ICU steps meeting makes me feel that I am not alone. Happy to chat to anyone else who has had similar problems.

15 Replies

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  • It's interesting what you say - at first post ICU I was so intent on overcoming all the obstacles that I didn't have time to think about what went on. I'm not haunted by my experiences, but there is an illogical residue of guilt for having got so ill and putting everyone through it. With the gift of 20/20 hindsight - I would have behaved differently - got flu jabs & blood tests etc etc. What I'm starting to recall more is how awful some of the procedures were, how awful some of the side effects of treatments were, the medicines felt worse than the illness. Oh welll, mad world - great to find like minds here & ICUsteps. Critical illness is lonely - I was in isolation for 4 months - now I want to reduce the 'terror threat' from my illnesses, for my family.

  • Like you I too feel the Illogical and sometimes almost overwhelming guilt for just getting ill, mine was Sepsis from a stuck gall stone, so unfortunately there was nothing I could have done about it, but I still feel the guilt

  • Thanks Steve , I will get in touch with ICU steps

  • I note that you say 'went from a sore throat to major infection within 24 hours' It's a while since I posted here, but I've often noticed, from contributors' stories, that the transition from being a relatively healthy person to life-threatening illness in ICU, can be a very short period of time. That in itself is traumatic. Whilst we do recover (and it's often long term very hard work) the knowledge that you can become so ill, so quickly, never goes away.

    It certainly hangs over me, 7 years after my ICU experience.

    It's sad to say, but very few of my friends have understood and can empathise with, the enormous trauma and after-effects, of such serious illness/being in ICU.

    Good luck with your recovery.

  • I agree @muncii - I went from skiing black runs on Friday to fight for my life for 3 months on Monday

  • that's awful, you were obviously very fit, and perhaps that makes the whole thing worse.

    I think we have been 'sold' the idea that if you keep fit, eat the right things, don't smoke etc etc, then you won't get ill. It's mostly rubbish, of course. But it's a powerful message, repeated frequently in the MSM, and perhaps it can make us feel guilty if we did all the right things, and still got ill.

  • Yes...but the deciding factor was that I stopped smoking 24yrs ago. I look at it that because I was fairly fit & 52 - I survived. The docs had said that I was sooooooo close to the edge, had I smoked....................

  • I too was in an induced Coma, having had full blown Sepsis with organ failure etc. I am now 18months into recovery and slowly improving. fortunately I have absolutely no memory from just as I was wheeled into A&E until 6 weeks later on the recovery ward (coma for 4 weeks) I don't know if I will ever regain the memories but partly I hope not :)

  • Thank you for your post. It made me think I'm not alone as I keep having flashbacks and recall in my head things people say/said. Mine was a very rapid trip taken to A&E then whisked onto a trolley then panic seemed to surround me. Lots of voices , next I'm in ITU, mor voices, Drs. Nurses etc then nothing. Awake eventually with tube in my throat family surrounding me etc. no idea what had happened to me. So rapid. My family told me I wasn't expected to live. I'm now 2 years on but sometimes it could be yesterday in my head. Sorry I've gone on a bit. The speed and what happens to you never leaves you I don't think as its a rare journey and I wouldn't wish it on mine enemies keep well everyone.

  • oh those tubes!! and for me the awful suctioning out of the tracheotomy... quite disgusting really.

  • That suctioning really was awful!

  • yeah - gruesome !!

  • Totally, and waking from your coma not having a clue where you are and what's happened. Everyone expecting you to be back to normal and you're not and never will be.

  • As muncii says, it appears that quite a number of people on here went through a rapid transit from health to finding themselves in ICU. In my own case I had a couple of weeks diarrhoea, till came a day I remember little about except anxious family around me, ambulance crew coming in the house, being wheeled into the back of an ambulance, then nothing until waking 11 or 12 days later from an induced coma. I can still clearly see the image of my sister and niece standing over my bed with beaming, excited smiles; to me it was like watching a tv screen, a silent flat image. I can no longer recall how I felt, probably as flat as the images I was watching. The road to recovery was, and is, long. And I'm with muncii in the belief that nobody who has not been through it can truly understand the depth of the experience we have plumbed.

  • I think we are quite a 'special community' Steve. And some of my friends really couldn't cope with the severity and consequences of my particular illness (a Boerhaave spontaneous oesophageal rupture, which resulted in my lungs and digestive system packing up, hence ICU and a very long recovery ) - perhaps it reminded them that a sudden and very serious, life-threatening, illness, can happen to anyone.

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