ICUsteps
2,960 members871 posts

Learning to walk after severe muscle weakness

My mom had been In ICU for 4 weeks from a perforated bowel and double sepsis. After the 4 weeks , she spent 2 weeks in the ward.as she's getting moved out of the ward within the next week to do physio , she is very down on the fact that she can't walk and thinks she will never be able to walk again. Does anyone have stories on how quickly they were able to walk and get back to semi normal functions. Thanks a lot

17 Replies
oldestnewest

My husband spent about 2 months bedridden and with physio for only 5-7 days he can pull to standing and walk with his walker (being watched of course). Your mom will have to be patient and determined. She can get there.

❤🙏

Reply

Thank you for your words of encouragement , I'm Very happy to read about your husband Russ!! Miracles do happen and prayers go a long way, my family had heard for 3 weeks that my mother was very very sick and probably won't make it. We can't Thank God enough!! Congrats and hope your husband has a speedy recovery. All the best

1 like
Reply

Power in prayer for sure, i was asked to put my husband on hospice with DNR in late may/early june, only 6-8 wks ago and he will be coming home soon with minor deficits. Your mom too is a miracle, soon walking miracle

Reply

It’s a long road. My dad ran 10 marathons between his quadruple and triple bypass. It saved his life bc he was in such good shape.

Reply

With sepsis, I was in ICU for 9 weeks, and then another stint in rehab. When physiotherapy began I could hardly move anything: I remember hiding under the sheets from the physiotherapist, who was going to ask me to move my feet - impossible! The impact of lying down for so long is catastrophic for the muscles.

After discharge it took about a month before I could walk normally to the shops (with a simple stick for balance).

Give your mum as much courage and confidence as you can – and good luck!

1 like
Reply

Lol! I also dreaded the arrival of the physios on the ward. Nowhere to hide! 😁

1 like
Reply

I used to dread the physio as well they used to say there is no such word as ‘can’t’

1 like
Reply

I was in ICU in January and by February was able to progress from a zimmer frame to a walking stick. My walking improves a little everyday (still on a stick outside of home) It is a slow process but mobility does improve. I was also paralysed down one side of my arm but after a few months all the feeling has returned. Good wishes go out to your Mum it just takes time.

Reply

When I woke up after 2 month coma, I could hardly move. Look up ICU acquired weakness. You can lose 40% muscle tone in first 10 days of being on life support. It took along time to get right - weakness, no stamina & a messed up head is not a good combination. Although you lose muscle quickly- you do not regain it as quickly - just facts of life Im afraid. I was told it would take me approximately 10 days to recover from every day I was in Icu. Encourage your Mum that the physiotherapy is crucial & essential for rehabilitation- no matter what her head is telling her.

Reply

Zach, I was exactly the same, I had to learn to walk again all I can say is small steps, a zimmer and gradually it does come back I can walk go up and down stairs but it takes a while once you start and gain confidence it gets better please believe me, all the best, Garry 2017

Reply

Hi Zach, like your mom I was also in ICU with a perforated bowel. After about four weeks I was sat on the edge of the bed for the first time; it was so, so hard and it took three or four nurses to support me. I thought it would be many months before I could walk again, but a few days later I managed to sit on the edge of the bed without any support. After five or six weeks I was moved to a rehab ward where my physiotherapy began in earnest. I looked with envy at other patients walking around the ward. But I progressed rapidly, from Zimmer to walking supported, then a magical moment when the physio released my hand and I could walk unaided! From then on it was just a matter of practice and building up strength. It took about four weeks of physio before I was released from hospital. So tell your mom not to give up hope, she'll get there.

Reply

I was 32 days in ICU and another 10 on a ward but I had to use my bloody mindedness to get to walk. I was 2 weeks on a Zimmer and then 4 weeks on crutches which kept me upright while I got my breath back.

1 like
Reply

I was in ICU for 3 weeks on life support also after a perforated bowel followed by septicaemia,peritonitis & e-coli . When I left icu i couldn’t feed myself as couldn’t even lift my hands, I dreaded the physio turning up as standing up & trying to walk was so hard . I was on a ward for another few weeks& by the time I left I could walk a few steps . I had to sleep downstairs for a few days as couldn’t get upstairs but pure bloody mindeness got me up the stairs a few days later & I never looked back . It was 8 years ago now I still struggle with a few things like tiredness but just glad I kept fighting . Good luck to your mum xx

1 like
Reply

I spent 12 days in induced coma and couldn’t move my legs at all ( much less walk) when I woke up On December 3 2017. Within three weeks I was walking very short distances- normally holding onto railings etc and not standing for long periods of time but it was enough to be able to go to my office holiday party with my husband driving and helping me. By mid -January I was walking enough to drive myself places. A few months ago I realized that I rarely think about whether I am physically able to do things any more ( although if I do stop and think I become hesitant and grab railings). And yesterday I was able to walk up a long spiral ramp to the middle tier of a football game without a problem. I became slightly tired at the top, but I probably would have been the same before I was sick.

It took a lot of PT and working on stuff in between sessions, but I am back to normal.

Reply

I went through exactly the same. After physio, I could walk, but i was still very weak. The recovery process took a few months - and 1 year till my physical strength was back to normal.

Reply

I was in the hospital for almost a month with sepsis and then had to go back for two surgeries. I was very weak and lost a lot of weight and muscle mass. When I came home from the hospital I could barely walk let alone do basic functions. I couldn’t even raise my arms to brush my own hair. It will take a couple months before she feels back to normal. I actually thought I couldn’t walk either at first. Just do baby steps. Things will get better. Just work on basic things like self care, then house chores that are small then taking little walks. It will get better. The thing that’s so important is to make sure she tries to stay active because giving up and just lying or sitting there will make her go back to the hospital with other problems. Good luck on her joining life again.

Reply

Zach,

I left the icu after sepsis unable to walk seven months ago. I was 44 yrs old. It started with a few steps with a walker, then walks to the mailbox, then finally physical therapy. I still have nightmares about not walking as it is very traumatizing. Please be understanding and encouraging. Much love...

Reply

You may also like...