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ICUsteps
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Traumatic Brain Injury

Hello everyone,

I am new here and going thru a lot and just wanting to hear others experiences and suggestions. My boyfriend of 14 yrs was in a car accident 8 days ago. We have 2 boys ages 9 and 11 and I also have a 15 yr old whom looks to him as a father. Anyways he hit the right side of his head pretty badly in the car accident and was rushed to the ER and they immediately did surgery because he had a brain bleed and a fractured skull. They did they say the bone took a lot of the force but his brain has beeb affected but they dont know to what extent yet. They had to remove the bone so the brain had room to swell and they are saying later on they will need to put an artificial one back in since his is so damaged. The doctors are somewhat hopeful but they are saying to be ready for anything because they do not know yet. They r saying this is going to be a long road which is scary because I just want to know if he will wake up. As of now they took the bolt out of his head after a few days because the swelling was staying at good numbers. He does move quite a bit especially to pain. He stretches his legs and lifts them and lifts his right arm a lot. He does seem pretty weak with his left arm. He still has not opened his eyes nor has he responded to any commands. I have felt him squeeze my hand but I'm not sure if that was intentional or not. Yesterday was the 2nd day they tried him on the cpap mode and he was prettt much breathing on his own for 10 hours. I got so happy cuz that's a big step to me. Im just wondering when or if he will wake up or when people who have been in situations like this have woken up? Yesterday they also took him off the strong sedation med propofol which they said was keeping him from waking up. But now I know its only been a day but he still hasn't woken up so the doctors want to put a trachea in because they said the vent going thru his mouth can not stay in for much longer. They are also going to put a feeding tube in his stomach since they are going to do the trachea. This is all worrying and scarying me to death. I just want him to wake up. I know there are going to be issues and things won't be the same as before but I just want him to wake. Any experiences would be greatly appreciated. I know everyone is different and everyone takes a different amount of time. I just want some more hope!

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Since being taken off rhe propofol he gets agitated very easily and his vitals spike up pretty high so they've been giving him meds that aren't as strong to sedate him. So they said since he keeps getting agitated everytime they lower the meds is why they need to put the trachea to get him out of the ICU and to another floor where he might be able to relax better and have a bigger chance at waking up. Does this sound rite?

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I hope he wakes up soon for you. My wife went through the hell you are going through with children too. The medical staff were fairly pessimistic about me ever recovering, they feared I would be brain damaged even if I did finally wake up. Things are different because critical care changes everyone BUT we all enjoy life & live a full largely normal life. In answer to your question, I’m sorry I can’t offer any insight but I would guess that any move would be due to budget constraints, a patient in ICU is a costly affair. Have you had a look at ICUsteps booklet on ICU?

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

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Thanks for giving me the link. I did read this, it does give me a bit of an outine of what is to come.and for that I am thankful.

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I am so sorry you are going through this. This link may help you understand what is happening to your partner when they induce a coma.

intensivecarehotline.com/qu...

It took my younger brother from 27 December to 27 January 2018 to start to wake up. It was a traumatic time to wait and hope. It took further weeks for the drugs to work out of his system as his kidneys weren’t working. There is a helpful guide on ICU delerium which Sepsur May have sent you. The best advice we were given was to remain hopeful. My brother has 2 children the youngest was 6 at the time so I understand your situation. We were told he could have brain damage. Today 14 months on life is good for all of us as he is well again. Please remain hopeful and our family is thinking of you and your family.

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Thanks for replying, and Im happy to hear about your brother and that he is doing good now. Thats awesome, hearing things like this really give me hope

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Hey jazmine my baby father going through the same thing but except he shot his self in the head he moves & yesterday they let him breath on his own for 6 hours they say that’s good he is only 21 we just had a baby boy in January he haven’t wake up yet they saying it’s going too take baby steps we have Good days & bad days his vitals are great he have been moving his head and legs , arms we have a meeting in Thursday so the sound of meetings scares me a lot I have trust in God I’m praying for your husband, you & your family

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It sounds like the doctors are telling u the same as us. And I do understand that he has a really bad injury its just hard not knowing whats going to happen or when. But I will pray for u and your boyfriend. I hope he pulls thru. It sounds like our boyfriends are near the same steps rite now. They started mine a few days ago on the cpap mode so he could breath on his own and hes been doing really good. Yesterday he went all day and night breathing on his own he just hasn't woken up enough to respond yet. So today they r going to do the trachea for sure. I was hoping he'd wake up before but its ok I see now that its better than him pulling his tubes out of his mouth. Lastnite I couldn't believe how much he was moving. He literally sat up and was trying to get his head close to his hand thats tied to the bed to try getting the tubes out. I told the nurse if he can do that then he for sure has a lot of stuff going on n his brain rite now. It gave me a lot more hope to see this.

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I’m praying for your fiancé & you and also y’all family that God do a miracle for him that he rise up & do the will of God , We will keep in touch 🙏🏾

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Stay Positive! My father suffered a cardiac arrest Jan. 17 2019, he went through hypothermia treatment, followed by an operation to put in a defibrillator, followed by an operation on his ribs to put all of his ribs put back together and sternum plate because the CPR that saved his life fractured his sternum and almost all of his ribs. The next two weeks were an emotional roller coaster, every Doctor had their own opinions ranging from "He will never make it out of here or wake up, to He will be completely brain dead if he does wake up, to He is expected to make a full recovery and if not full, close to full recovery." We did not know what to believe and once the sedation holidays started happening and they weren't getting the responses that they wanted no one seemed to be very hopeful, except for the surgeon who stepped up and actually wanted to give my dad a chance at life. My father was the same way, he had labored breathing, feeding tube, and when they lowered his sedation he became very agitated and his heart rate and vitals would just sky rocket and go all over the place! It was terrifying! It wasn't until the surgeon ordered a in-depth MRI of my fathers brain that they found that he actually did not have any brain damage, just swelling. Long story short, 5 days after being completely off of sedation my father finally woke up. Everyone is different and its frustrating that all the doctors and nurses want to treat each patient that same as the person before them. My father has a very long road to recovery but is a fighter and so strong and is actually being discharged tomorrow to come home, 2 and half months after his cardiac arrest! He is getting excellent therapy and definitely on the road to a full recovery. So don't lose hope and my heart hurts soooo much for you and anyone that has to go through this! It is literally the hardest thing I have ever experienced my entire life and if there is anything I can do to help you through it please don't be afraid to reach out to me. I remember feeling so lost without answers and don't google anything because everything I ever found was just devastating. So I prayed daily and when i needed help or answers I always turned to this website and it really helped me get through that extremely hard time. God bless you and your family and I hope and pray with all that I have that your boyfriend wakes up soon and you can find peace during this hard time.

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Thank u sooo much for replying. Hearing stories like this really gives me more hope. Some days I start to really hopeful and other days like lastnight it just gets scary and I start thinking the worst. I keep trying to keep my mind off of bad thoughts and staying positive but it is hard sometimes. The doctors came in this morning and basically said that they want to get him off of the last sedation med by IV that hes getting so that he will be on all oral meds that way he can go to the intermittent floor. He also said that we need to be looking into some nursing facilities because once hes off the vent he can go there to rest and let his brain heal. I feel like its probably going to get down to the fact that he doesn't have good insurance so the hospital won't be keeping him there long even tho I feel like he'd probably get the best therapy there. But I am praying things will get better, I am feeling positive too because the way hes been moving around it just makes me think hes gotta have stuff going on in his brain still to do as much as he does. He hasn't woken still but he will lift his whole upper body towards his hand like he wants to get the trachea out. He did get the trachea and feeding tube lastnite so Im sure hes extra sore from all of that which has gotten him even more agitated

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My father had to be tied down also because he kept trying to pull out his ventilator, so our thinking was, he has to be awake (mindfully), but the doctors wanted to disregard it as a positive sign, other than the neurologist. Our neurologist said that, "although he is in a sedated state, he is conscious enough to know that something was there that wasn't suppose to be there, and although he does not have the best control of his motor skills, his brain was still trying to tell his hands and arms to pull out the foreign object" which was a good sign. During our time there we hung on to all the positive diagnoses and hopeful comments that we could because it is such a world wind of diagnoses. Unfortunately, there were 4 to 5 different doctors taking care of my dad but they all had their own plans and own diagnoses and opinions, but NEVER talked to each other to EVER get on the same page, so if it was something negative we tried our best to just forget it and wait till we heard the next hopeful news on my dad. Trust me, I know its much easier said than done. I also remember being so frustrated because with my dad first being under deep sedation for 6 days and then on and off of them for over 2 weeks because of the surgeries and procedures, it was like they didn't take into consideration that they just did a procedure and had to give him more sedatives but didn't change their expectations of his "wake up time". Its so sad that we live in a world that the care of a patient revolves around their insurance. We ran into this problem as well. I would say day 6 when they wanted to put in a chest tube to inflate my fathers lung and drain it because he had fluid in it, and then discovered how fracture his chest area was. And when we found out that the insurance was not going to cover the surgery to repair his ribs and sternum and put in a chest tube, unless they had proof that he wasn't going to awake in a vegetative state or be completely brain dead, I was DEVASTATED! They wanted proof that he had a chance at a normal life after the surgery and if he couldn't they felt the surgery was unnecessary. Its horrible that insurance companies have that much control of the patients chance of survival. Without that surgery my father would of died. And we had to wait 3 days till they had the proof that the insurance wanted. Its just so sad. My best advice is if they do end up transferring your boyfriend, make sure to do a little research on which ones are the best in your area. Its not uncommon for patients to be moved to a Continuing Care Hospital. My father was moved 2 days after he fully woke up and was there for almost 2 weeks where he did start to receive speech, occupational, and physical therapies. Once they got him off of his oxygen, and feeding tube and his vitals were stable enough they sent him to a Rehabilitation Hospital where he has been ever since getting 6 hours of therapy everyday. But I honestly believe that he is where he is today because of the care that he received from the Continuing Care hospital so its important to make sure he goes to the best one he can!

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Aww it makes me so happy to hear this about your dad. Sounds like the doctors have been rite about one thing and thats that this is going to take time. I just need to be patient. So did your dad finally wake up after he was off all of the sedation meds? Or actually what I'm wanting to ask is how long did it take him to wake up? They have tried getting him to wake up but they don't give him long off the meds. Like they will turn this and that down for an hour or so and he flips out so then they spike everything up again. Rite now he is only on 1 sedation med by IV and they r starting to ween him off that now but they are still giving him oral meds into his feeding tube because of the pain of course. I kind of feel like hes starting to build a tolerance to some of the pain meds cuz lastnite he was so restless and they'd give him meds then he'd settle down for 30 min to an hour then he'd b at it again when the meds he was getting was actually supposed to last for 3-4 hours.

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Yes! Time is honestly the best medicine!!! And the doctors and nurses have this expected time line and seem to forget that every patient is different. We were told that if he didnt wake up after being completely off of all sedations for 24 hours that he probably is brain dead (although they had the MRI's saying differently) and if he didnt wake up after 3 days he had a 95% of mortality. But it is funny, talking to some of the people in his Rehabilitation hospital I do not know of anyone waking up before that 3 day mark and majority of them were from the 5-10 day range of waking up and none of them are brain dead. So stay hopeful and positive! My dad "woke up" after 5 days of being completely off of sedations. They considered him "awake" because he responded to all of their demands, ie squeezing their hands, blinking his eyes, wiggling toes, and ect. But he wasn't fully conscious and aware till about a week and half after that. So when he does wake up and he is just laying there with his eyes open don't be alarmed it really does take what seems like an eternity for ALL of the sedations to exit his body. I believe that he can build a tolerance, because we had some nurses telling us that my father had enough sedations in his systems to put down an oxe LOL so take that into consideration that if he hasn't waken up yet that his body is probably metabolizing the sedations which will keep them in his body for longer and delay the "wake up"

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I also forgot to mention that my fathers agitation was because he was in SO MUCH PAIN from the deflated lungs and fractured ribs that it was unbearable to just breathe which is why he became so unstable and his vitals were so eratic. Maybe ask to see if there isn't something else that is causing him pain that is causing the agitation because its unbearable. And keep in mind, my father was fully off ALL sendations for 5 days before he started to wake up. And I would say he wasnt FULLY awake until after being at the Continuing Care Hospital for about a week.

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Ok I got yah. Thank u sooooo much seriously. This means so much to me just to hear of someone in somewhat of the same situation. And to hear some kind of time line. The doctors haven't told me any kind of timeline. The way they r talking is as if it might take forever for him to wake up but again they haven't given me even a glimpse of how long they r thinking. Thank u, thank u, your comments have really given me a lot more hope

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Not a problem! I am happy to help! I understand exactly how it feels to be in your shoes right now. And I remember the relief and hope that I got from reading peoples stories on here and at times it was the only thing that helped me get through the day. So I vowed that if I ever came across someone that I could possibly help I wasn't going to miss the chance! I will continue to pray for you and your family! Remember although there are many very educated doctors, there is only one Ultimate Physican and sometimes it is best just to pray to him for his healing hands. I am actually relieved that they haven't given you a time line for his situation. Time honestly is the best medicine. My sister just reminded me that a friend of hers was in an awful car accident and he was ejected from the vehicle and rushed to the hospital, all the same stuff, and woke up about 2 and half weeks after his brain surgery and now at the continuing care hospital. So maybe that helps because he also had brain bleeding and swelling and he is doing really good. He recognizes his kids and his wife and everything. It took several weeks for everything to really start coming back to my dad.

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