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After ICU and ventilation

Intensive Care (ICU) | Last Active: Jul 16, 2019 | Replies (11)

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Hi Colleen, thank you. Headache is actually more of a pressure pain if i cough for example. What worries me is the strange chest and back pains that come and go. I might be doing to much but i have no choice as my boss wants me back at work monday and made it very clear i best be back:(

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Replies to "Hi Colleen, thank you. Headache is actually more of a pressure pain if i cough for..."

@cindyvag I am glad you found this site and am hopeful that you will find comfort through the support of others in this group. You have certainly been through a very harrowing past month. Being that sick and on a ventilator for that length of time is no small thing. It often takes people many weeks - even months - to regain a sense of "normalcy". In regards to the pain you are experiencing - chest, neck and headache - the first recommendation is always to make sure you have spoken to your primary provider about these concerns so any serious causes can be ruled out. It seems as though you may have already taken this step. It is not uncommon to experience physical pain, fatigue, weakness etc. for a prolonged time period after critical illness. Your chest, back and neck pain may be connected to your diagnosis of pneumonia and prolonged ventilation and bedrest. After ruling out serious causes, you may find it helpful to work with a physical therapist who can guide you in exercises to aid in your recovery. This may be a referral that you need to ask your provider for.

I also want to address your work return to work. It is not uncommon at all for people to experience a delay in return to work especially following a serious critical illness such as what you experienced. It is difficult at times for others to fully understand what you are going through in your recovery as physically you likely don't seem much different on the outside. People look at you and think you should snap right back to normal now that you are out of the hospital. The truth is that this is a very unrealistic expectation and that recovery from critical illness is a process that cannot be rushed. I once had a post-ICU patient tell me that he would bring a cane with him out in public as an outward symbol that we was still recovering - even though he didn't need a cane! It was something people could see and understand much easier.
I am not sure of your circumstances with work, but I would strongly encourage you contact your primary care provider and have a discussion about the options for a best plan for return to work. Primary care providers can be very helpful with developing plans for this.

This is a fantastic group and I am looking forward to hearing other's words of support for you. Take care of yourself.