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A life in ICU i never knew

My 1st memory was waking up in a single hospital room, with two lines in my arms,

Not knowing what happened to me.

it was dark outside so it could have been the middle of the night for all i knew.

I remember pulling the lines out of my arms and trying to find a light switch as i was seeing in triple or quadruple vision.

The shock of seeing my reflection in the mirror, and my body covered in huge bruises, my back had one the size of a boot on it, will always stay with me.

Eventually i was told i had meningitis by my family, who had apparently been waiting for me to wake up from an induced coma in ICU for 10 days already.

Even after the doctors explained it to me, It still didn't seem real to me, and still doesn't to this day.

But my body and brain certainly feel like something bad happened to me, even if i cant remember it

The last memory that felt real to me was waving to my friend as i walked past her kitchen window on my way to the doctors.

I had an earache for a couple of days, that wasn't showing any sign of getting any better.

the doctor told me i had a raging ear infection and prescribed antibiotics.

the rest of my story from here comes from my family and friends as to what happened to me.

not from memory.

As far as i know, my friend Lara who i waved to me on the way to the doctors came round to see how i was doing,

And she could see by looking at me, i wasn't doing good.

I was complaining of a piercing headache and pain in my back and neck.

Lara immediately rang NHS direct and was told the leave the front door open, the ambulance is less than a minute away.

It was a suspected case of meningitis.

Its weird to think that most of my vivid memories were actually nightmares or hallucinations i was experiencing during my time in ICU.

They feel more real to me than anything the doctors or friends or family were telling me. I really believed i killed an old lady while i was driving a lorry. I really believed the police were after me.

I even snapped at my family who were trying to tell me i didn't kill anyone and i don't drive a lorry.

That was the only reality i believed, and still do.

Even after being discharged from the hospital i was fighting to get my life back on track as quickly as i could. it was more of an inconvenience that i had been signed off work for two weeks, i didn't see it as a necessary step to aid my recovery.

It was just a hold up for me.

And then to get signed off for another two weeks just added to the stress i was going through already.

Yet another hold up to getting my life back on track.

I still didn't see it was a necessary step to aid my recovery. It was far to soon to go back to work, and i was struggling to accept this.

So 2 more sicknotes later, frustrated by the hold ups i decided enough was enough!

I went back to work, and on reflection i went back far to soon.

8 weeks off just wasn't long enough for my eyesight to improve.

Still seeing triple vision, i thought it would be sensible to get a lift in, i will worry about finding my way round the factory when i get there.

Luckily for me the factory had yellow lines that enabled me to follow my way around the factory.

18 months on, I had a meltdown, which doctors put down to PTSD. I have been off work for 6 months now with stress related problems. and still waiting for counselling???

1 Reply

Unfortunately we can never prepare ourselves for an ICU experience, I was admitted 2years ago today and can remember nothing of the first 53 days, only the nightmares and bad dreams that seemed to be never ending, in that time I am told that I came close to death on several occasions, I spent 88 days in ICU thinking I would never leave but by the words of a doctor "a miracle had happened".

For me the reality of what I had been through struck soon after leaving hospital, I became very depressed and withdrawn, becoming the most unpleasant person to be around pushing my wife and family away, thinking it would be better for them if I hadn't survived, I'm lucky my niece is a critical care nurse in the unit I was in, she saw the signs that my wife and myself were not dealing with the trauma very well and managed to get us an early ICU followup clinic appointment, the consultant managed to get us booked in to see a psychologist but we had to wait 4 months, the counseling did help and I was referred to another one as my wife was concerned about my memory, I was diagnosed with slowed down thought processing believed to be connected to my stay in ICU, the first year after leaving ICU was a complete write off, but slowly during 2012 life has got better, I'm still unable to work due to damage to my lungs, so I've help setup a support group to help others that have been through the trauma of being an ICU patient so they can talk to people that understand how difficult it can be trying to come to terms with what has happened to them.

I wish you well for the future and that you get the counseling you need soon.


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