Dad taking time to wake up after induced coma - ICUsteps

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Dad taking time to wake up after induced coma


Hi everyone, just after a little bit of insight if possible? My dad is 65, he had a bad fall and broke 8 ribs just over 2 weeks ago. He was put in the icu almost immediately as he needed surgery to repair his ribs on the right side as one had pierced his lung. That all went well then unfortunately just over a week ago he got a pneumonia in his left lung. It was uncertain for a time but he has made great progress since then and the infection is clearing. They turned his sedation off 4 days ago and he still hasn’t roused. He’s still on a ventilator they are considering a tracheotomy but because he is now down to 40-45% oxygen on the ventilator they want to keep chipping away at that over the weekend. We do notice small changes each day like he opens his eyes more now when we speak to him, but the consultant today told us they are ‘quite concerned’ that he hasn’t woke up yet. They’ve done all scans including a cat scan on the brain and everything is clear no issues. Has anyone else experienced similar situations with taking time to wake up at all? Sorry it’s just been such a rough ride so far.

10 Replies

They had murders trying to get me out of my coma that's why I was in one for a month I ended up having a tracheostomy they do try to avoid as it takes weeks to heal but I still here six years later..... The drugs are so powerful and everybody just handles them differently but he obviously coming around just very very slowly... In a couple of weeks you will be thinking what was I worried about x

Just be patient if he does have one as when he is fully aware he won't be able to communicate for a week or so I had to use a child's abc book to help me speak as I had no strength to write

Keep the faith x

I am sorry to hear what you’re going through, I feel your pain. My dad has been in the icu for 5 weeks. I would not recommend tracheostomy because he won’t be able to talk to you if he wakes up from the coma. I regret allowing my dad to have had it. My dad passed away because everything became a snow ball and he did not recover, but he was much older, he was 83 and he had kidney problems. I would say spend the most time you can next to him, play him music that he likes and talk to him, read his favourite books for him. Best wishes and I hope he gets well. Also important to take care of yourself so you be stronger for him.

From my understanding very few people wake straight from a coma and say “wow, where am I & what’s happened ?”- waking from any coma ( however long) seems to come in stages. There is a scale called the Glasgow Scale - I’ve attached link

It took me 11 days to come out of a 57 day coma. I’d open my eyes, seem to recognise people & obey simple instructions. Even though I appeared to understand what was going on , I didn’t - which confused my family.

I did have a Trachy & spent another month in ICU after I’d woken up.

There are common legacies of ICU, loss of sensation in some parts of body - hair loss, poor memory ( people’s names & names of things) chronic weakness & muscle waste, fatigue on another level & ICU delirium - you may find your Dad is very confused when he eventually wakes.

All of these legacies diminish over time with proper diet, a continued physio regime beyond hospital & the same determination that has brought your father this far.

Have a look at the ICUsteps website.

Please keep talking to your Dad it will reassure him even if he can’t communicate back with you for a while yet. My younger brother is his 40s and was placed in an induced coma after sepsis pneumonia and ARDS. It took weeks for him to wake up properly as the drugs used are powerful and because his body was fighting infections, he was supported by a ventilator, feeding tubes, ECMO and dialysis. We used to ask nurses to play the radio with his favourite football team and music when we were not there and we would talk to him as normal though it was hard and upsetting seeing him so Ill. Please remain hopeful and remember everyone is different in how long it takes them to recover. My brother made a good recovery. I observed it took him 2-3 weeks from when they started to remove the sedatives to him fully waking. Keeping a daily diary of the positives like your Dad opening his eyes will help you to see the advances he is making and will help on the bad days when he seems to go backward in his recovery. Best wishes for your Dads recovery. My brother had to relearn how to swallow speak and walk again after 2 months in ICU due to muscle wastage. Now he is running round after his younger son who is now 8 two years on.

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement, it really is appreciated it’s been such a scary time we as a family have never experienced anything like this before. Yesterday was another positive day, he is now completely off the noradrenaline and they are still chipping away on the ventilator. He opened his eyes a lot more, could wiggle his toes and shake his head when we asked him. Good advice about the music, we have been playing his favourite songs to him whilst with him and have put some family photos up on the wall in his room also. It might be that they go ahead with the tracheostomy tomorrow to get the breathing tube out, but let’s see what today brings.

in reply to Fiona794

That all sounds like good progress. Wishing you & your family a good outcome from all this

That sounds encouraging! It took me a week or two to emerge from my coma too; and the trachy is probably more upsetting for the onlookers than for the patient.

It’s sounds like he is making good progress. Thanks for keeping us updated. With best wishes for a good recovery. Thinking of you and your family.

Hi everyone, just a bit of an update on dad. He had the tracheostomy in about 5 days ago and he has been becoming more alert each day, still quite drowsy though.

Yesterday they tested him off the ventilator and he managed a full 2 hours with no problems .

He did have a triple A operation full repair back in June and since then he has been low on iron and prescribed folic acid to help.

Since he has been so drowsy in recent days we asked the doctors to check his iron levels and they found today that they are low. They immediately provided some concentrated iron medicine, also today they did another chest X-ray and have concluded that he still has a slight chest infection. So he is now on more antibiotics to help with that.

I guess all in all I feel like we are on a low pint again, even though I keep telling myself he is still much better than he has been. I think with the time of year and the fact that we have never been through anything like this before, it just all is tough to cope with.

It sounds like your Dad is making steady progress. To take 2 hours off with no issue is great progress. It will be a rollercoaster of ups and downs as we have been through it too but stay strong. It is the worst time of year when everyone else’s life is seemingly normal and your life revolves around hospital visits.. This time 2 years ago my brother was completely unresponsive in a coma critical on life support. Today he is fit and active with his wife and children; his youngest child was 6 at the time of his illness. Remain hopeful and keep that diary so you see the positive moves forward on the down days. Best wishes.

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