Walking after medically induced coma : My husband... - ICUsteps


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Walking after medically induced coma

Suzieq4664 profile image

My husband was put into a medically induced coma due to CO2 in his blood being at a dangerous level. He was in the coma for only 5 days. When he woke from the coma he was unable to walk. It's been 2 weeks now and he still cannot walk! He has full feeling in his legs, he just cannot walk! Is this normal?

16 Replies

Yes. Physio will try and get him up and walking ready to go home but for every day in coma you lose up to 11% muscle mass (I think, there are links on here that can help).

I was walking within about 10 days but ONLY 2-3 steps to my chair and I would be exhausted.

Please be so so patient with him, he will he still massively impacted by the drugs he was under.

That is worse than my induced coma but everyone is different. I could walk again after the physio helped me but stairs took awhile. He lost 50% of his muscle. I was in an induced coma for two weeks and it took me a couple of months to be able to climb stairs

Everyone is different - have a look at ICUAW - intensive care acquired weakness

The atrophy takes a while to get over. I was in an induced coma for a little under 12 days ( with day 12 being the day I really remember much of anything). I was induced due to a very infection so don’t know what affects the c02 would have on his energy level, etc. when I woke I couldn’t even move my leg at all and was terrified I was paralyzed.

It took a few days until I could even sit on the side of my bed by myself but In a few more days I was able to walk to the door of my room with the physical therapist, but it was hard. And there was nothing wrong with my legs other than atrophy, which was significant.

I was told that I progressed very quickly, which I believe is because I was lucky enough to have both family and friends able to be with me most of my waking hours AND a nursing staff that allowed me to practice sitting and then standing and then walking with the family so that I wasn’t limited to only the few minutes a day that physical therapists were able to be with me.

And before that the doctor told me to flex my ankles and them slide my legs up and down on the bed. I was determined to get better and had people pushing me, and did these things as often as possible. It started as only once every hour or two because that was all I had energy for, and then became more frequent.

If the doctors haven’t said that there is a physical reason for him not to walk, I would presume he will and it is just a matter of time and practice. It is not easy, and it was a slow recovery, But it happened. I would suggest asking every day what he is allowed to do between therapy visits.

It took about another five or six weeks of therapy and a lot of practice until I felt comfortable enough to leave the house without someone I trusted nearby. And I just passed the one year mark ( I was still in the hospital a year ago ) and no one looking at me would know anything had ever happened unless they noticed the scar from the Trach.

I am hopeful it will be the same for your husband

Hi Susie Q, I second everything that has been said in the previous replies - another factor is what caused the CO2 to rise in the first place? (build up of drugs? or chronic respiratory failure? or degenerative muscle weakness for examples)

I appreciate all the advise. We are not sure what caused the CO2 to get so high. My husband is fighting advanced non small cell lung cancer. Which we have been told there is no cure. He receives immunotherapy treatments with Keytruda every 3 weeks. He also suffers from end stage COPD. I already know I am going to lose my husband long before I am ready, but I will continue to fight along side of him to keep him alive for as long as I can! He is currently in a rehab facility learning how to walk again. I am still holding on to hope that he will be home for christmas! I have a gofundme and a Facebook fundraiser set up to help us through these very trying and difficult times!

Bu5hy profile image
Bu5hy in reply to Suzieq4664

Your words - ‘end stage’ COPD probably hold a lot of the answer, with the ‘incurable’ cancer knocking his breathing from the tightrope he manages to tread carefully on a daily basis.

It sounds painfully hard, I’m sure you both understand the difference between being ‘alive’ and living. - just try and stay in the moment and fight each day and battle as they come

- and although this is very hard; make sure you have both talked about how both of you would like to die. Death is after all one of the few inevitability’s in life, and is also very personal.

Given a chance / choice I would rather die surrounded by family without a tight mask strapped to my face - also I would rather not have the preceding days intubated : ventilated.

All my love and thoughts are with you XX

Bu5hy profile image
Bu5hy in reply to Bu5hy

One more question - how far could he walk the week before being admitted to ITU

Generally if you can’t breathe well you can’t walk well. (If you can’t breath / you can’t walk)

Sorry times are so hard

Suzieq4664 profile image
Suzieq4664 in reply to Bu5hy

He had quite a bit of trouble getting around before going into the hospital. He would get very winded and weak just walking across a room in our home.

Hi I was in an induced coma for 15 days. When I woke up I could not even scratch my nose. When I got a little strength back i would use my mobile as a dumb bell. It felt as heavy as a bottle of coke but it was a big help. Keep faith it takes a while

Yes - it’s called ICU acquired weakness - he has to keep to his physiotherapy regime

How are things going ?

Suzieq4664 profile image
Suzieq4664 in reply to Bu5hy

My husband is coming home today! It is going to be hard for a while. He is able to take care of basic needs, bathroom, getting dressed. But he will continue outpatient therapy every day for a while. I am just grateful that he will be home for Christmas! Thank you!

Bu5hy profile image
Bu5hy in reply to Suzieq4664

Well done - stick together & be patient.

Being weak can be hard on the patience, and people can be snappy through frustration.

Exhaustion can make concentration hard - I have no doubt you’ll be loving and forgiving - but it’s sometimes good to have a heads up !

I hope all goes well

Suzieq4664 profile image
Suzieq4664 in reply to Bu5hy

Thank you! It's very difficult for both of us. I am exhausted all the time. But I cannot let him know that. He feels guilty enough about our situation. I try to reassure him that none of it is his fault, it's nobody's fault! We have been together for almost 22 years, and we have been through a lot of struggles. But nothing like this! We both know we can only depend on each other!!!

Hi. When I got out of induced coma, a year ago, I couldn't walk, either. I couldn't even grab a piece of bread with my hands. I think ir took me a little less than two weeks to make the first few steps, but I had a very good recovery. I supose your husband is doing phisiotherapy. It will all come back. Just be patient. All the best to all of you.

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