Still confused after a month: I’m new here and from... - ICUsteps


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Still confused after a month

NDFan65 profile image

I’m new here and from the US. My dad (age 76) tested positive for covid 19 and went into the hospital on April 12th. He was put on a ventilator April 13th before he was weaned off after 12 days. He never needed dialysis. He spent another week in ICU then 1 week in step down ICU. He was confused a lot in the hospital and we think he had ICU delirium (the calm / withdrawn type as he was usually more sleepy.) A CT scan was done and it was normal. He was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation center on May 12th. He is currently there getting occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. He has to relearn almost everything. Therapies are very slowly progressing.

My concern: His cognitive status continues to fluctuate. One day he is good and the next day he is confused again. He can always identify himself and he knows his family when we FaceTime. But then he will ask for his car keys so he can check his car in the parking lot (he went to the hospital by ambulance so his car is at home.) Yesterday, he knew he was at rehab but he kept looking for my Mom to be there. She passed away 8 years ago. He wanted to call my Mom and talk to her. But a few minutes later he remembered talking to his current partner that morning about getting a lawn sprinkler system installed at her house next week. He has moments of clarity mixed in with confusion. Sometimes he is aware that he is confused and he will ask about it. We tell him how sick he was and he’s always surprised by it.

Prior to this I would say he had normal forgetfulness for his age. But he was actually still working part-time as a Judge before his illness. I’m really getting worried that his cognitive issues are going to be permanent since it’s now been more than a month.

We are so grateful that my Dad has made it this far. I guess I’m just trying to figure out what to expect. Thanks.

11 Replies

Please try not to worry too much regarding yourvdad being delirious , NDFan65, I too was in an induced coma for 2 weeks, then I spent 6 weeks in hospital, & Yes let me tell you, your imagination can run riot,on/ off for quite some time, but you do eventually return to normal, I could not speak, nor could I walk when I came out of the coma, but after a few months,& having therapy, I felt so much better.. So my humble advice to you NDFan65, given a little time your dad should improve & return to the way he was before...Take care, love & may God bless you all..xx🎉🎈

NDFan65 profile image
NDFan65 in reply to primrose123

Thanks so much for your reply. It really helps to hear what others went through and it gives me hope. I’m so glad you are doing better! My sister spoke to my Dad’s nurse earlier and so far he is more alert today and seems better. Yesterday, he actually needed supplemental oxygen for the first time in weeks but he’s breathing fine again without it. Thanks again and Please take care of yourself 😊

primrose123 profile image
primrose123 in reply to NDFan65

Thank you, NDFan65..xx

It would appear that many people who are critically ill suffer hyper or hypoactive delirium, possibly as many as 50%. At present, because of the pandemic, there is a worldwide shortage of preferred paralysing agents used in ICUs. Medical staff are having to resort to past generation sedatives that often have nastier side effects. Increased delirium, myopathy & neuropathy. My time in ICU has left many side effects - cognitive impairment is just one - I struggle to concentrate, I forget the name of people places & things & I struggle to learn new things, ie I’ll be told something - I’ll understand it and think I’ve remembered how to do it - come to do it the next day & all info has been lost into the ether again. I can tell you I’ve improved over time.

NDFan65 profile image
NDFan65 in reply to Sepsur

Yes that is what is happening to my Dad. The therapists tell him to do something and he does it. But a short time later or the next day, he forgets what they said. They noticed an improvement in his cognition in the past week so when he was so very confused yesterday it really worried me. I think I need to learn to be more patient. 😊 Thank you for your reply!

Sepsur profile image
Sepsur in reply to NDFan65

Have a read of these few pdf - delirium especially. There is also a pinned post on cognitive dysfunction.

NDFan65 profile image
NDFan65 in reply to Sepsur

Thank you! Those were helpful. I’m going to share with my siblings.

Sepsur profile image
Sepsur in reply to NDFan65

There is lots of great info out there - check out the critical care guide too

It will take a long while. Don't worry. It's all expected.

NDFan65 profile image
NDFan65 in reply to Marcita

Thanks! It’s hard not to worry but I know you’re right. I’ve been reading your Mom’s story and I’m so glad she is improving. Best wishes as she continues to recover.

Update: My sister and nephews FaceTimed my Dad yesterday and had a mostly normal call with him. One odd comment when he said he flew to the moon the night before on the space shuttle. No idea where that thought came from. My sister made a little joke out of it and said she hoped he didn’t have to pay for that. He said it was free and they moved on with the call.

The day before the nurse heard my Dad FaceTime with his girlfriend. He was confused for the first few minutes of their call, but he got much better as his girlfriend continued talking. Afterwards, the nurse told my sister there are just so many unknowns with this virus. But once my Dad is finally home and around family, things may improve.

Thank you all for your support. I wish you and your families the best. ❤️

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