2,952 members870 posts

Does any one else have problems with concentration memory and overall loss of cognitive ability and if so how do you cope?

It is now almost 5 years since I spent 3 months in hospital 38 days in ICU tracheostomy & ventilated following small bowel surgery that went badly wrong (they made 2 holes in the bowel wall & failed to diagnose it for 6 days by which time I had peritonitis septiceamia & ARDS) A prolonged case for compensation only settled 12 months ago made it very hard to put this terrible experience behind me,& I developed PTSD,Inspite of obtaining substantial damages I have regrets about bringing the case because of this.I am a lot better now,but I am a changed person,in addition to the cognitive problems I am not so confident more easily reduced to tears & more prone to fly off the handle as my poor husband would readily testify.This is the first time I have been brave enough to ask a question although I have found reading others experience a big help,I wish I had found ICUSteps sooner.Also is any one else a polio survivor, I contracted polio in 1956 at the age of 5 & now have post polio syndrome.

5 Replies

I had terrible short term memory for about 6 months and even though it has improved it is by no means as good as it used to be before ICU. Even though I am not getting any younger. I still question myself as to why I am at particular part of the house? I have always had a good positive attitude but I think the flying off the handle , is more a response to your own feelings of not been able to do what you were able to before. It is for me.


Hi Salfordgirl,

Two years on from ICU and I still suffer with memory and concentration problem, I spent 3 months in ICU the first seven weeks I have no memory of, I was diagnosed by a clinical psychologist about 6 months ago with cognitive ability problems mostly short term memory and the distraction of background noises being the biggest problem, I was advised to write important things down along with trying to reduce background noise when talking to my wife and family, I find this helps but it can be frustrating at times when you just seem to loose the thread. :-)

Good luck with your continued recovery and I hope you get all the help you require.


Hi Salfordgirl

you will find most people on this site suffer from common problems that can be attributed to their stay in the ICU. Although I have only been out for fourteen months I have the same problems with memory and concentration that you do. My operation also included medical negligence when my SMA and coeliac arteries were clipped and removed. Removing blood supply to my gut for a long period of time. So I suspect that our symptoms may be similar. Although my general practitioner is a personal friend, I have found doctors to be unhelpful in resolving the problems that I have with my remaining symptoms. I think this is partially because they are afraid of my damages claim and secondly what has happened to me is extremely rare so they don't always understand it. Documentation indicates that I am the only person to survive the complication. That leaves me with having to be proactive in resolving my ongoing issues myself. After fourteen months of diarrhoea and a doctor claiming that I had magically become a victim of irritable bowel syndrome after the operation, I discovered, on this site a patient symptoms similar to mine. He had been diagnosed with gastric dumping. I was then able to suggest to my doctors that they treat me with drugs that are used for this problem and life has improved drastically. What has this to do with memory problems and concentration? I'll get to that. Gastric dumping is caused by upper gastrointestinal weakness. To understand this you should do some research into ICU acquired weakness. At the same time (I live in Australia) our local rugby league players (NRL) had been accused of using a designer drug to assist in their recovery. I have researched this drug and found that the clinical trials carried out initially were for people recovering from serious injury, some of whom had had stays in the ICU. The drug Ostarine or MK 2866 is a clinical grade peptide. It is not illegal and can be obtained through the Internet. To cut a long story short I have been using it for the past two weeks. The effects are that I am quickly regaining my muscle mass, lost during my six week stay in hospital, I feel more alert and happy, my gastrointestinal problems are reducing. So is my confusion and memory loss. Not everybody would take the course of action that I have and I accept that. However having suffered once at the hands of doctors my plan (accepted by my clinicians) is to self manage my medical condition and recovery. I hope that what I have written here may be of some assistance to you and I wish you well for the future. However please be aware that like you I am not out of the woods yet and because I read this website on a regular basis I have prepared myself for it to take many years to get anything like a total recovery (if at all). In certain areas recovery seems to be extremely slow. I refer to the vivid nightmares and dreams that we all seem to have and although I am feeling stronger and happier this particular symptom seems to be getting worse and was before I began to take Ostarine. Maybe someone out there has found a solution that helps with this particular symptom. If they have I would love to hear about it. I don't think that Valium and sleeping tablets are the answer even though they provide short-term relief.


Salford girl (and GarryM) my sympathies, to end up in ICU as a result of medical error is doubly traumatic. It's two years since I spent 3 weeks in ICU following a spontaneous oesophageal rupture (Boerhaave syndrome) Three months later I had surgery for a twisted bowel and was in a High Dependency ward. Although I am a lot better physically, the best way to describe how I feel (including mentally) is 'compromised'. As posted here, I too have difficulty with background noise , concentration, short term memory, and loss of confidence. For example, I no longer feel able to go abroad on holiday. So I do feel I have changed and not for the better, but I also think we should try and be kind to ourselves.


My discharge was 3 years ago, I actually asked if anyone else felt like a changed person too

I have definitely changed, memory is not too good, I am very emotional which is not me and also very apt to fly off the handle too, I do not like anyone touching me either, whether that comes from an assault which put me in Icu I don't know, I am very nervy and jumpy, confidence is quite low, being registered blind doesn't help but hey ho! Still here

I am more and more convinced a critical illness is a very difficult thing to deal with

Good luck in the future


You may also like...