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Thanks for your response and for sharing your experience. I'm sorry that you've encountered some of the same barriers. That's great that you have some connections to the nurses who cared for you. I find myself wishing I could talk to mine. As far as getting answers, I'm currently working on writing down everything I remember. I'm considering obtaining my medical records and asking a close friend who came to visit what she remembers to help me put those pieces together, like you said.

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Replies to "Thanks for your response and for sharing your experience. I'm sorry that you've encountered some of..."

Thats great if you could find your records even go chat to nurses they actually very accommodating. Experiences where you dont remember is the absolute worse… i find i am in lala land so to speak trying to just figure my emotions out. The physical is even harder and i do pray you get answers and heal

Hi Alex — Yes, it's helpful to create your own chronology, and getting your medical records will help a lot. I was in the ICU in January 2018. I had not been sick before being hospitalized, and it was an overwhelming shock to discover later that I'd been critically ill for days — with no memory of it. Then the after-effects were profound. Terrible weakness, confusion, exhaustion, anxiety, depression — and all completely unexpected.
Thus it was some months later before I was mentally strong enough to face seeing the official account of what had happened to me.
My records were free in electronic form — and I'm so glad I got them. That's for several reasons. First, they gave me a timeline beginning with emergency intubation in the ER and ending with discharge. Second, they gave me profound appreciation and respect for the medical professionals who round-the-clock really pulled out all the stops to save my life.
And third, they gave me important information I hadn't received when I was discharged. Neither my doctor nor my discharge papers mentioned I'd had severe sepsis and septic shock — important things to know as sepsis survivors have an increased risk for repeat sepsis. I only learned I'd had near-fatal sepsis (and acute kidney failure and other serious conditions) when I read my medical records. For my own protection I needed to know this.
And also for my own recovery. Like so many survivors I was discharged with scant follow-up. I discovered PICS on my own; I had to craft my own recovery plan because my doctors had no clue about PICS and offered no help for it. My hospital records helped me do that.
(Currently helping me is the book "After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness" by Julian Seifter, MD and Betsy Seifter, PhD. It's really good!)
My records also helped straighten out confusing stuff. My poor family and friends had been so traumatized by my near-death that their memories were understandably unreliable to varying degrees. The records helped sort out the confusion of what really happened.
Quite by accident I discovered my hospital kept multiple sets of records. The first ones I got were the abbreviated version. Not a lot of information. Later I learned that I should ask for the complete nurses notes and the doctors notes. I did, and that's where I learned about sepsis. So if you ask for your records, make sure you get the most complete, thorough version. All the medical terms will make it heavy wading, but that's why God created Google, right? Just google the terms and you'll learn a lot.
I have next to no memory of being in the ICU, so I didn't know who took care of me. Thus I had no one to ask for when I screwed up my courage and many months later returned to see where I'd been. I needed to see it for context as I had none. I needed to see it to master the trauma I'd been through. A couple of ICU nurses kindly talked to me and reassured me. Just talking to them and hearing their compassion was so helpful! I'm glad I went back.
Finally, you might ask anyone who visited you in the ICU if they took any pictures. Two of my family members did, but they didn't want to tell me for fear of traumatizing me. I asked to see the shots anyway, and seeing myself intubated and surrounded by so much medical equipment made the situation very, very real. I could see what I went through. And I knew why I had a right to be so very grateful to be alive.
Peace and best wishes for your recovery. It will take a while, but it will come. You will be strong again.