When is life normal after ICU Hospitalization? - ICUsteps

3,815 members1,042 posts

When is life normal after ICU Hospitalization?

How long after being hospitalized in ICU for an extended period of time with intubation because of pneumonia and ARDS did it take for you to return to your normal life? In terms of walking and functioning doing normal things like household chores and feeling normal mentally .

6 Replies

The easiest equation to give you is that it takes approximately 12 days for everyday you are in hospital to return to normal. I felt back to my old self about 3yrs after discharge. I felt adequate sooner than that.

ARDS, pneumonia & sepsis can leave people with some physical impairments.

I don’t have the same dexterity, mental agility or stamina but I am 3yrs older ( and wiser 😜)

Do any exercise, chores and stuff that you can manage, easy does it but do it.


It is a long slow progress and the important thing is that you motivate yourself to achieve a return to a normal life.

I was in hospital for exactly four months following contracting pneumonia with Streps from September 2014 - eleven week's in an ICU, five weeks in an induced coma, three weeks attached to an ECMO machine. When I came around, I had lost about 30% of my (usually skinny) body weight an could not stand up let alone walk. I looked like a concentration camp survivor. It took over three months of intensive physo to get me walking a few steps. When I left hospital, I could only manage a few hundred meters. I very gradually increased this by adding in a few extra meters each day. After about one month at home I made my first short venture into town. After about two months at home I was doing quiet well, making a two hundred mile railway journey to London for a hospital appointment and taking the opportunity to do some sight seeing as well. I bought a bike and joined a gym. After exactly three months at home I returned to work as a lawyer - one week part-time ( to keep everybody happy) but thereafter full-time. I eventually returned to my main recreation, running, and in April 2017 I ran a full 26.2 mile marathon.

I think it took me around 12 to 18 months to feel more or less 'normal'. We are all different and you may get there quicker or take longer. The important thing is to get active and remain focused.

In a weeks time I will 'celebrate the the fifth anniversary of the start of my journey. I am still pretty normal in my every day activities. My limitations show up when I exert myself ('running' since the indecent has been confined to a slow jog with plenty of rests) and when I have to get down low - which is handy as it gets me out of the garden weeding.

I hope that you make a full recovery and learn to love the years that are to come as much as I do.


Hello I had pneumonia I'm only a month out of hospital. I recommend you talk to your ICU nurse even on the phone to gain some understanding of what's happened. My trouble was I understood everything that happen I just couldn't accept it.

I'd ask yourself what is normal? Life changes constantly. I'd set little goals for yourself. Maybe its cleaning a table top if its housework that you want to do.

Try walking up and down stairs. If you are unsure you need to speak to an ICU nurse because its important that you dont over do it.

In terms of being normal mentally it takes time you've probably seen things you never seen before. Felt helpless this changes you. Ask your GP about listening services these helped me alot. Just having someone say its normal to feel like this is sometimes enough.

It just takes time. Use every service everything at your disposal. Hope this helps.

1 like

Just do what your body and mind allow you to do it’s been over a year and a half for me and I’m still trying to figure out what I can and can’t do. Just when I think I know something things change and I don’t know anything. Embrace the uncertainty and power through. Best of luck on your recovery


Well for me it’s been 12 months since icu jan to March then july September massive hi bleed coming out faster than they could put it in 50units I thing that called parents in 3 time saying I wouldn’t last the night but I’m a stuborn git and eventually made it but the delerium was like the worst nightmares u could imagine in itu wasn’t that bad just strange dreams but on normal ward were something else I still can’t talk about it and it’s been 12 months I completely understand your dilemma it’s still going on for me after a tt 😢

1 like

Well for me I’m still not my old self 12months on I had delerium for no 10 weeks on the last occasion it’s not as bad now but I don’t think I’ll ever b my oldself ????


You may also like...