ICU Acquired Weakness

My husband Paul was in ICU for around 9 days he had respiratory distress and was septic. Previously he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer which was borderline resectable. The plan was to give him a aggressive dose of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and then perform the Whipple operation. The chemotherapy caused him to become toxic and he became gravely ill with vomiting, diarrhea,unable to eat,severe weight loss,no energy,and extremely weak. We tried to call the oncology unit and left messages but no one replied.My daughter and I escorted him to the ER who hydrated him then sent him home. Later that night he continued vomiting and so we called a on call at the hospital who told us that he should of been admitted that night. Paul was eventually admitted with severe dehydration, low white cell count etc. The days in hospital were fraught with anxiety as we both had to leave him there as we both worked. We were able to visit in the evenings and at the weekend. The communication at the hospital was very poor and he was realy suffering with infections, bowel obstruction which rectified, a fall,vomiting blood which they say he aspirated that led to his admission to ICU. He is now on A Rehab floor and is extremely weak ,unable to stand on his own. They staff have informed me that they are planning his discharge soon either home or a nursing facility. I am 63 and I am unable unfortunately to look after him and I am extremely worried as the nurse told that if he is unable to make the effort soon that they wiill not be keeping him there. He has been in Rehab about four days. Please can you advise.

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  • It sounds like you’ve all had a pretty rough ride. I was in ICU for 3 months. I suffered muscle weakness which left me virtually incapable of doing anything for myself. I pick up numerous infections like CMV, VRE & MSSA & glandular fever whilst in ICU. My immune system was completely compromised after sepsis etc etc. All of the later infection & treatments & medications led to fevers, diarrhoea, vomiting and fitting. I spent another 20 days in various side rooms on other wards before moving to a rehab ward for the final 10 days. Through routine physio I improved but only to the extent that I could shuffle a few hundred yards & climb 15 stairs, feed myself - at last get myself to the toilet and, with help, get a shower. It was only when home, having to do normal things did I really start improving. It takes 10/14 days to recover from every day on ICU. Cottage hospital rehab is a common method for proceeding home. Maybe your husband is prone to cross infection, hence their desire to get him out of the general hospital. I, like your husband, have a blood cancer that means I am susceptible to viral infection and their most potent damage. Hope everything improves for you all.

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