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ICUsteps
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Waking from a medically induced coma

Hi looking for some advice my brother has just been taken of the life support and is breathing on his own he isn't responding to me when I talk to him do you think he can hear me

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Apparently it look me quite a long time to wake up respond. When I did respond, it was in context, so I obviously heard and understood. I hope that reassures you. I don’t remember any of this, it’s what my family has told me. They were told this is normal, although horrible for them.

Take care of yourself.

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Thank you it is very distressing looking and talking to your loved ones and nothing coming back but please God he will come back to us soon

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Yes I am sure he can hear you and it will be reassuring for him to hear his sisters voice. I have just gone through this with my brother. It has taken about 3 weeks after the sedation drugs stopped for him to wake up. A book has just been published by an ICU doctor called in shock who is advising talk to patients in comas as she has experienced this situation for herself and recognises how important it is to keep talking as she could hear herself when she was sedated. She is advising on how to be more compassionate for patients.

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That's reassuring I was trying to talk to him yesterday he opened his eyes for a second but he wasn't there if you know what i mean i think he did hear me it's been 2 days since he came off life support and I suppose I am looking a miracle I need to be patient but it's so hard isn't it

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What is the update? I too struggle with patience. Drs talk sometimes in ways that make it feel hopeless but i keep reading so many amazing stories.

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Yes it’s very hard but I promise you he can hear you and he will get there and your voice will comfort and reassure him. . My brother was like that a few weeks ago and it’s so hard every day but he is getting better and I know that talk is reassuring from a sister. Keep strong and he will get better. It just takes time. X

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Thank you very much found this site yesterday and it is very encouraging. I hope your brother continues to do well

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Dear Deidre

Thank you. I found this site recently too and it is helpful to understand that many people have had similar experiences and have progressed to live full life’s. I am sure your brother will progress. Do keep taking to him. It will reassure him. Please keep in touch and I will too

Best wishes

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Thank you so much for your kind words. He had started pulling the tube out of his mouth last night so they had to sedate him for his safety the nurse said it was positive that he knew how do that. Has to go for MRI scan to see what damage has been done to his brain hopefully not too much it is a waiting game I suppose

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Deidre My brother did the same on his ventilator and it was so distressing for me and my Mum to see as we knew he was really unhappy with having the tubes down his throat. This means your brother is aware which as the nurse says is positive. Do keep reassuring him he is strong and is going to get better and do try reading the book called in shock how nearly dying made me a better intensive care Dr by Dr Rana Awdish

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They told us my brother had bleeds to his brain but he is doing well now and the bleeds can dissolve and be reabsorbed.

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My brother is a diabetic and they are not sure if He has had a stroke as he was not taking his insulin I suppose they have to see. Our families are going to be the death of us . My brother is only 53 is your brother young

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Yes he’s young only 49. My husband is 55 and had a stroke 5 months ago. He is doing fine now. They thought my brother had a stroke when they talked about bleeds but just wait and see.

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Gosh you have had a rough time as well sometimes you think does anyone else go through this

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Hi Deidre you are not alone. A lot of people are experiencing similar problems. You see it every day when you visit Critical Care and intensivevcare. Please keep us updated on your brothers progress.

Best wishes

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Hi sorry I dont know your name but we had a bit of good news he has had the tube removed he is a bit agitated and has been asking for me so that is great I will keep you up to date

Deirdre

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I am so happy for you. Like you I am happy as I saw my brother last night and he could speak for the first time in over 5 weeks. Sorry I don’t want to put details on an open website. It would be good if we could message privately. Very best wishes for your brothers recovery.

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Of course I totally understand glad your brother began speaking I am sure it is a relief for you all. Went to see my brother today he looks much better with the tubes removed he is very hoarse but that is understandable he was talking to me bits seemed legit but other bits of conversation was totally rubbish. He did say he had lovely dreams that is strange isn't it ?

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I have no memory of my time in ICU, however I do remember some of the wonderful nurses, whom looked after me during my time in there. The human body is rather remarkable in certain situations.

All the very best.

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The nurses do an amazing job they are very patient and caring

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Yes If you read the ICU steps guide you will see ICU delerium is common.

icusteps.org/assets/files/I...

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That article is very helpful thank you my brother was alert yesterday but very confused and agitated and tried to get out bed so they sedated him and today he is very sleepy doesn't know me I don't know if it's last night sedation or he has got worse I hope not did that happen to your brother at all . I had a happier day yesterday today I can't stop crying sorry for this I am so upset and worried

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Deirdre, try not to worry. I was in intensive care for two months and put to sleep for one month. Your brother is in another world. He is imagining all sorts of things. What helped with me is that a psychologist would visit and they also gave me Quetiapine for a short period. I was still being fed through my neck but it helped to bring me back to reality after I woke up. Go to your hospital's website and try to find a psychologist who specialises in these things or ask the consultant next time you see him. If you request to see a psychologist with experience in ICU they can't deny the request. Don't give up hope. When I was asleep I remember thinking, I must see my sister and I did see her but the image only lasted a short period of time. But seeing her gave me hope. When I woke up I was warned that my prognosis was "not good" but here I am 5 years later. Don't give up hope. Even though I can't really remember my sister being there, I know that her being there helped me so much. Assume he will get better. Make the visits part of your life, not your entire life. He will get better.

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Thank you very much Gary that is comforting there is only my brother and I and it's heart breaking seeing a man who once was very intelligent funny guy who is lying with lines coming out of him its been only a week since he was on life suppprt and he has come a long way but it feels like months

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That's how my sister described me!! It can be a long slog. Please do keep us updated. Your visits to him are probably helping a lot more than you realise. I don't have diabetes but I did have to have dialysis. I don't remember it though. But I've always thought that, even if I was "asleep" having visitors really helped. He's lucky to have you as a sister. He will get better. I was on a ventilator for nearly two months and delirious during much of that time. Don't let that freak you out. When he is finally well, he'll be able to tell you about some of the delusions and you will both be laughing about them, like I did with my sister. Wishing you all the best.

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Hi Gary my brother turned a corner yesterday he was awake knew me and understood everything I was saying but unfortunately he cannot get words out . The nurses told me he no longer is considered as being critical but is waiting on a bed in the renal unit as his kidneys are working great. He is on a waiting list for a Mri scan to see if there is any damage . The intensive care unit do a wonderful job and save so many lives I will be eternally grateful

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Yes, the intensive care unit people are wonderful. So glad to hear the news about him understanding you. Thanks for the update. I woke up thinking about your situation this morning - glad that things are getting better for you. Keep us posted. Also, one thing I meant to mention and probably the nurses have told you this. Try to get him in a chair as soon as he can manage it. It helps the brain to adjust to being upright. Even if it's just a short period each day. It really is important. I didn't do it and ended up not being able to do it and then they had to hoist me everywhere. It took me much longer to recover.I didn't realise how important it was to get in a chair as soon as possible. All the best wishes.

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Hi Gary funny you said that about the chair the nurses put him in the chair yesterday and he was in bed when I went visiting yesterday he is so exhusted and the speech seems to be an issue for him at the minute but hopefully it will come with support . He is going for a Mri scan today So I am praying that there is not too much damage done ie stroke etc. Thank you for thinking about him its very much appreciated. Deirdre

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Any further up dates, Deirdre???

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Hi Angelrock I am heading up this evening to see him. I rang the hospital earlier and they think he is suffering from delerium. His diabetes is under control he is still on kidney dialysis she thought he was slightly more coherent than yesterday I suppose there will be good days and bad

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Deidre

I have been reading your and Gary’s posts. We are in a similar situation. There is only my brother and me. It is day 42 for him and yesterday he was able to have his first drink after being nil by mouth for 40 days. He still is on dialysis so don’t worry about your brother. . My brother has had times where he doesn’t know me and couldn’t speak. It will all come back. It is so hard but I understand as we are going through the same. They are sitting my brother in a chair and it is hard to see him so exhausted but that will help his organs to start working. Best wishes x

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It took me days to wake from coma, my sense of reality took a long time to normalise

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Update my brother has had more lines removed which is great but the unfortunate thing is his kidneys aren't really working fully yet . He is constantly sleeping and the nurses say this is because of the toxins in his blood because of the kidneys has anyone experienced this . I am so worried as I sit and look at him at visiting time and try to talk but nothing

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Deidre it’s me again my brothers kidneys are still recovering too after weeks on a filter to do the work of the kidneys . It takes time but he will get there.

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Hi there my brothers kidneys have improved so much they have taken him off the dialysis which is great. I went to see him yesterday and he was fully conscience and was asking questions as to what happened to him he was still a wee bit confused but nothing to what he was I can't believe it he can't really talk too much as he is still being tube fed but very much improved thank God.Hopefully your brothers kidneys will improve soon x

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That is such good news. Hope it isn’t too long until the tubes can come out. He will be much more comfortable then. This is a wonderful supportive community.

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It is indeed it has helped me so much . I called in to see him today and they are moving him to our local hospital which is 5 mins away he has all tubes removed apart from catheter. It has been nothing short of a miracle that he has improved so much. I was very emotional leaving intensive care today they have saved his life now the hard work begins with him taking responsibility for his own health hope your brother continues to do well Deirdre x

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Dear Deidre I am so happy for you. Blood results show my brothers kidneys are improving and his NG tube came out today after 48 days. That is really wonderful as I know it was horrible for him. Xx

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That's great that your brothers kidneys are improving and the NG tube came out . The body is wonderful at healing itself. My brother started eating solid food yesterday in small amounts fed by me still a wee bit confused but it will improve. Hopefully your brother will be eating for himself as well soon.

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Yes thanks Deidre. It is all heading in the right direction. I hope your brother continues to make good progress too. Best wishes.

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Just checking in. Glad to hear things have improved. All my very best wishes to you and your brother. xxgary

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Hi Gary my brother is doing well still in the local hospital. He is now waiting on a bed in a rehabilitation ward to build him up and help him walk again . His confusion is almost away. He now needs help to deal with the demons in his head as I have found out that He is alcholic and he was drinking and not eating that lead him to end up in iCU. This is another hurdle which I think will take a lot of time to come to terms with but if he accepts he needs help that would be the answer I think. He doesn't know how lucky he was to.come out the other side

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He should stay in hospital as long as he can as he can't drink in hospital. Once he gets out he should go to AA. It's the only thing that helps, even if he has been before and it didn't work. Eventually it sinks in. You might want to ask him if he wants a visit from someone in AA in hospital before he gets out. If you contact your local AA there will be somebody else who has probably been in his exact predicament before. Because of what he's been through, he might have lost his taste for alcohol when he gets out, but it's a big if.

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The frightening thing is Gary he is in denial at the minute he thinks he is ok but unfortunately he isn't mentally or physically well I just hope he gets the help he really needs. He is such a good man

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Well, see how it goes. The good news is that he survived. He'll hopefully be so busy with physio that he won't think about drinking. I was a bit of a drinker myself before I got ill, but gave up entirely afterwards - gave up smoking and drinking. When I think back on it, I wondered why I drank in the first place. It really isn't that much fun and the hangovers were horrific! He does sound like a good man. If he drank, it doesn't make him a bad man. The good thing is that he will have gone through detox in the hospital so he really can make a new start of it. Without being too dramatic, he needs to realise that given his situation, one drink = death. Is he still having delusions? (For instance, does he think he's being kidnapped by the nurses? - that's a common one.) If so, he should see a psychologist that has experience with ICU delirium. It can continue a long time.

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He doesn't seem to be having too much delerium now I would say more confusion more than anything he thinks he is getting out of hospital soon and he told me he hated ICU as he thought they were horrible people and he had no control which is a strange one. Maybe he has forgotten he was an alcholic that would be good !! Somehow I doubt that though

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At one point I thought the ICU people were kidnapping me and trying to inject me with poison, when in reality they were just giving me blood tests! I realise now how helpful they were. The loss of control is the thing that got me as well. I had to learn to "trust" them and that took a big step. I'm not sure I ever made that step until after I was out of ICU for some time.

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