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Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) - Let's talk

Posted by @colleenyoung, Jan 13, 2017

Have you heard of Post-Intensive Care Syndrome? Sometimes it’s called post ICU syndrome or PICS. PICS is defined as new or worse health problems after critical illness. These problems can affect your mind, body, thoughts, and/or feelings.

On Connect we would like to bring together people who have been affected by critical illness, and hopefully lighten the burden you bear. Patients and family members welcome.

Grab a cup of tea, or beverage of your choice, and let’s chat. Why not start by introducing yourself?

REPLY

@jasonrn

@andreab The first year was the hardest. No one prepared you for what happens when you go home and what life is going to be like. I dealt with PICS, PTSD, anxiety/depression, opiod withdrawl, neuropathy, losing my hair, dealing with scars from injuries I sustained while a patient from the oxygen tubes, feeding tubes, chest tubes, and trach; nevermind the impact it had on my family. The first few days in the ICU my family was called to my bedside to say good-bye,…this happened on more than one occasion. It was hard for some to let me back in after that. How do you let someone back in when you've come to terms with the fact that they are gone? Of course then we had to deal with just getting back to some type of normal again, which nothing is really quite normal after that experience and environment. Bills needed to be paid and then I had to deal with insurance companies and disability which do not want to pay claims. Those hoops and hurdles were extremely draining and frustrating and required lawyers and social workers. I had lost 85 lbs being in the ICU then gained a lot back from all the medications. I had extensive nerve damage from being put on my belly in the ICU for up to 18 hours and being rotated back and forth which took a team of 25 people the first couple times. The nerve conduction therapy to try and identify which nerves were impacted was a nightmare that required needles and small shocks. In spite of these adversities I knew my life had some meaning and pulled strength from places I never knew I had. I found amazing "helpers" along the way. I had a hand-therapist who helped me gain use of my hands again, a psychologist who helped me with through my PTSD, and healthcare providers who listened. I always share some words of wisdom that Fred Rogers (from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) mother shared with him…"Look for the helpers." No matter how bad things are, there are always helpers. This gives me hope, and I use it to try and impact my interactions with others. Thank you for allowing this platform for me to share my story. You are a great example of a helper! 🙂

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Thank you, @jasonrn, for quoting Mr. Rogers. "Look for the helpers" is a great quote and an important way to live our lives. All of us live in community and community is where we should seek and receive our support!
Thanks for reminding me of that.

@glinda

Hi @colleenyoung, sorry it's been awhile since I have been on connect yes I would love to join this discussion and yes you are right about me spending slot of time in the ICU it's every time I end up in the hospital that I go straight to the ICU.and yes I also understand on the PTSD I struggle with it daily if there is any advice I can give on about the PTSD it is to find a grounding

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Welcome back, @glinda. I'm so glad that you responded to my tag. I've been wondering how you are doing.
Can you explain a bit more about what you do to "find a grounding" when dealing with PTSD?

@colleenyoung

Welcome back, @glinda. I'm so glad that you responded to my tag. I've been wondering how you are doing.
Can you explain a bit more about what you do to "find a grounding" when dealing with PTSD?

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Hi, @colleenyoung,
Grounding is when you move away from your emotions you feel with a PTSD episode which you could have depression, anxiety, panick attacks, and saddeness. Groumding is for emotional pain which is what PTSD is what grounding does is make you feel safe it puts a healthy distance between you and those negative feelings.when grounding keep your eyes open, scan the room and turn the light ght on to stay in touch with the present.you use grounding when you are: faced with a trigger, or having a flashback, disassociating, having a substance craving, or when your emotional pain goes above
6 (on a 0 to 10 scale). There are a few different ways of grounding .
Ways to ground
Mental grounding
1.describe your environment in detail using all your senses for example the walls are white and the describe the whole room using everything from color to shape to size,textures, colors, smells, numbers, and temperature.
2.play a"categories" game with yourself. Try to think of types of dogs and things like that .
3. Do an age progression if you have regressed to a younger age (e.g., 8 years old), you can slowly work your way back up (e.g. "I'm now 9") and so on each year until you are back to your original age .
3.describe an everyday activity in great detail. For example, decsribe a meal that you cook (e.g., First I feel the potatoes and cut them into quarters, then I boil them in water."), And keep going until you have described the whole meal .
4.imagine. use an image: example glide slong on skates away from your pain; change the TV channel and so on.
5say a safety statement. Example: my name is; I am safe right now I am in the present, not the past.
6. Read something, saying each word to yourself. Or read each letter backwards so that you focus on the letters and not the meaning of the words
7. Use humor. Think of something funny to jolt you out of your mood.
8.count to tenor sat the alphabet very s..l..o..w..l..y.
9.repeat a favorite saying to yourself over and over (e.g. the sernity prayer or you could say the first verse of a song). Over and over.
Physical grounding
1. run cool water over your hands.
2.grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can.
3. Touch various objects around you: a pen. Keys, your clothing. Notice textures, colors, materials, weight ,temperature. Compare objects you touch:touch is one colder, warmer, lighter, or heavier.
4. Dig your heels into the floor – literally "grounding" them! Notice the tensioncenterdin your heels as you do this. Remind yourself that you are connected to the ground.
5. Jump up and down.
6.notice your body: the weight of your body in the chair; wiggling your toes in your socks; the feel of your back against the chair. You are connected to the world.
7. Carry a ground object in your pocket- a small object (a small rock, clay, ring, price of cloth or yarn).
8. Stretch. Extend your fingers, arms or legs as far as you can; roll your head around
9. Walk slowly, noticing each footstep
10. Eat something describe the flavors in detail to yourself
11. Focus on your breathing. Noticing each inhale and exhale. Repeat a pleasent word to yourself on each inhale (for example, a favorite, color or a soothing word such as "safe" or "easy"). Soothing grounding
1.say kind statements as if you were talking to a small child. E g. " You are a good person going through a hard time. You'll get through this" .
2. Think of favorites. Think of your favorite color, animal,season, food, time of day, TV show
3. Picture people you care about (e.g, your children, and look at photographs of them).
Remember a safe place. Describe a place that you find very soothing (perhaps the beach, mountains or a favorite room).
4.Remember the words to an inspiring song, quotation, or poem_that makes you feel better for example the serentiy payer.
5.say a coping statement._ "I can handle this", "This feeling will pass".
5. Plan out a safe treat for yourself, such as a piece of candy, a nice dinner, or a warm bath.
6. Thin of things you are looking forward to in the next week. Perhaps time with a friend or going to a movie .
What if grounding doesn't work.
1.Practice as often as possible. Even when you don't need it.2. practice faster. Speeding up the pace gets you focused on the outside world quickly.
3. Try grounding for a loooooonnnng time(20-30 minutes). And repeat, repeat, repeat.
4. Try to notice whether you do better with "physical" or "mental" grounding.
5. Create your own methods if grounding. Any method you make up may be worth much more than those you read hear because it's yours.
5. Start grounding early in a negative mood cycle. Start when you have just started having a flashback.
Sorry this is so long Colleen but I hope it can help someone else.
Who migt be suffering from PTSD people think it just happens to soldiers but anyone can develop PTSD at anytime after any kind of trauma thanks for asking on grounding and so others know the techniques for grounding do work very well especially if you keep on with practicing them everyday .
Thanks glinfa

On July 14th 2018 i had a allergic reaction to an unknown substance, i am allergic to shellfish but had none in my system. I woke up that morning with a few blisters on my left hand, I got ready and went to my little jewelry boutique. After I got there I contacted my significant other nd asked if he had any bug bites on his body as that is what I was thinking I had on my hand, he stated he did not, so he said that because of my history of anaphylaxis maybe I shold get checked out, i spoke with my daughters and she had the same idea for me to get checked out. So i headed to Red wing from River Fallls, just as i started to go across the bridge into RedWing I started to have breathing problems. My daughter is. 911 operator in the cities so I called her and told her to call the hospital and let them know that i was now having breathing trouble. She then stayed on the phone with me til I got to the hospital then hung up an left to come there herself. Before i left my boutique i had given myself my epi pen shots just as a precaution, when i got to the hospital i was really struggling to breathe they tried getting some IV’s in and getting me a nebulizer treatment to help with the breathing. I have had these reactions befor but this is the first one that he really rattled me and I thought i was going to die. After about 10 minutes they determined that they were going to have to incubate me and bring me to Rochester for a higher level of care. As they got ready to incubate me i knew what was coming as i had been a EMT for 17 years and knew the process well. The respiratory people showed up and there was a flurry of activity in the room, they laid me down and got me ready to incubate me i remember starting to feel the drugs starting to work annd then i woke up with the treach tube in but i was paralyzed, but could hear and feel everything they were dong to me. They were still having trouble getting a second V in and the Dr came in an slapped the IO box on the counter and stated that they would have to put an Interoseous IV in my shin and I knew from experience that this is painful unless you are out, ,how could i let them know i was awake and could feel everything, I couldn’t open my eyes or my mouth talk, move my hands or feet, i was scared to death at what was happening. A few minutes later i heard my daughters voice and knew she would help me, she noticed that i was answering my Dr’s questions by moving my head, and that there were tears coming out of my closed eyes. They kept trying to sedate me and they were not being successful finally they gave me enough ketamine in both arms for a 350 pound man, finally i was out but kept fighting to pull the tube out. I was then bundled up and restrained in soft restraints as i kept trying to pull my tube, i woke up the next afternoon with the tube still in and was told i had to breathe on my own for 1/2 hour before they would extubate me, i was still restrained and was gagging on this tube in my throat. Dr came a 1/2 hour later and said we had to wat another 1/2 hour by this point i was getting agitated but finally an hour later they extubted me and i was breathing good on my own. I stayed til Tuesday evening, went home then on Friday of that week i started to get a headache and earache, as the weekend progressed the earache got progressively worse by Sunday afternoon i was in unbearable pain, i went to the Urgent care on Monday morning as my clinic couldn’t get me in, I was told by the DR that I had shingles in my ear, i was then sent to ENT and they had to put a wick in my ear as the ear canal was completely swollen shut. I have had many surgeries but have never had pain this intense or hurtful. So since the onset of the shingles i have had several other medical issues rear their ugly heads, i have a granuloma on my vocal cords and have not had. Voice for over two months, i have been having nightmares nightly about the intubation process i am so afraid that it will happen again, I’ve lost weight i no longer have any desire to work at my boutique, i really do not want to leave my house at all my moods swings are really bad I’m really just s afraid that the intubation process will have to be done again and i will be awake and feel everything. My healing process has been really hard one the almost nightly nightmares are really starting to affect my daily life, i know I am depressed and i went to a phycologist and was telling her my problems that had happened and bou the nightmares and she laughed at me and told me to stop thinking about it If. Could do that I wouldn’t be feeling like. Want to jump off a bridge, Have made anther appointment with another therapist hoping he ill be better than the last one but I am tired feel quite crazy most days For me when t rains it pours and i just need a few sunny days instead of gloom and doom

Hi mommjonie6, I'm glinda nice to meet you I know how you are feeling especially with the nightmares I didn't have the same experience that you did but I to have nightmares and sadness and I also have panic attacks and anxiety so it sounds like to me that you might be suffering from PTSD and yes I am glad you are going to see another therapist if this one laughs don't give up keep trying but if this one doesn't laugh my suggestion is to ask her about PTSD and instead of seeing a phsycologist try seeing a phsyciatrist they can help you also I have meds that I take now only if I'm extremely anxious or having a panic attack because of my PTSD and depression is just one symptom of PTSD I'm not saying you have PTSD but it won't hurt to talk to the therapist about it. If at anytime you would like to talk just let me know I'm always willing to talk or even just listen if that's all you need is for me to do anytime I will always be here. I actually live here in Wisconsin myself I live in Eau Claire WI. And I go to Rochester also as I'm a heart transplant going on 8 years post transplant on the 20th of January so I do understand your feelings very well hope this can help you. Glinda

@mommjonie6

On July 14th 2018 i had a allergic reaction to an unknown substance, i am allergic to shellfish but had none in my system. I woke up that morning with a few blisters on my left hand, I got ready and went to my little jewelry boutique. After I got there I contacted my significant other nd asked if he had any bug bites on his body as that is what I was thinking I had on my hand, he stated he did not, so he said that because of my history of anaphylaxis maybe I shold get checked out, i spoke with my daughters and she had the same idea for me to get checked out. So i headed to Red wing from River Fallls, just as i started to go across the bridge into RedWing I started to have breathing problems. My daughter is. 911 operator in the cities so I called her and told her to call the hospital and let them know that i was now having breathing trouble. She then stayed on the phone with me til I got to the hospital then hung up an left to come there herself. Before i left my boutique i had given myself my epi pen shots just as a precaution, when i got to the hospital i was really struggling to breathe they tried getting some IV’s in and getting me a nebulizer treatment to help with the breathing. I have had these reactions befor but this is the first one that he really rattled me and I thought i was going to die. After about 10 minutes they determined that they were going to have to incubate me and bring me to Rochester for a higher level of care. As they got ready to incubate me i knew what was coming as i had been a EMT for 17 years and knew the process well. The respiratory people showed up and there was a flurry of activity in the room, they laid me down and got me ready to incubate me i remember starting to feel the drugs starting to work annd then i woke up with the treach tube in but i was paralyzed, but could hear and feel everything they were dong to me. They were still having trouble getting a second V in and the Dr came in an slapped the IO box on the counter and stated that they would have to put an Interoseous IV in my shin and I knew from experience that this is painful unless you are out, ,how could i let them know i was awake and could feel everything, I couldn’t open my eyes or my mouth talk, move my hands or feet, i was scared to death at what was happening. A few minutes later i heard my daughters voice and knew she would help me, she noticed that i was answering my Dr’s questions by moving my head, and that there were tears coming out of my closed eyes. They kept trying to sedate me and they were not being successful finally they gave me enough ketamine in both arms for a 350 pound man, finally i was out but kept fighting to pull the tube out. I was then bundled up and restrained in soft restraints as i kept trying to pull my tube, i woke up the next afternoon with the tube still in and was told i had to breathe on my own for 1/2 hour before they would extubate me, i was still restrained and was gagging on this tube in my throat. Dr came a 1/2 hour later and said we had to wat another 1/2 hour by this point i was getting agitated but finally an hour later they extubted me and i was breathing good on my own. I stayed til Tuesday evening, went home then on Friday of that week i started to get a headache and earache, as the weekend progressed the earache got progressively worse by Sunday afternoon i was in unbearable pain, i went to the Urgent care on Monday morning as my clinic couldn’t get me in, I was told by the DR that I had shingles in my ear, i was then sent to ENT and they had to put a wick in my ear as the ear canal was completely swollen shut. I have had many surgeries but have never had pain this intense or hurtful. So since the onset of the shingles i have had several other medical issues rear their ugly heads, i have a granuloma on my vocal cords and have not had. Voice for over two months, i have been having nightmares nightly about the intubation process i am so afraid that it will happen again, I’ve lost weight i no longer have any desire to work at my boutique, i really do not want to leave my house at all my moods swings are really bad I’m really just s afraid that the intubation process will have to be done again and i will be awake and feel everything. My healing process has been really hard one the almost nightly nightmares are really starting to affect my daily life, i know I am depressed and i went to a phycologist and was telling her my problems that had happened and bou the nightmares and she laughed at me and told me to stop thinking about it If. Could do that I wouldn’t be feeling like. Want to jump off a bridge, Have made anther appointment with another therapist hoping he ill be better than the last one but I am tired feel quite crazy most days For me when t rains it pours and i just need a few sunny days instead of gloom and doom

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What an incredible experience, @mommjonie6. I appreciate your sharing your story with Connect!

I am glad to hear that you are seeking help from another therapist. Having surgery for a paralyzed vocal cord I understand somewhat what you are experiencing. I generally have speech therapy on an annual basis. Given your vocal cord problems, has anyone referred you for speech therapy? If not, you might consider requesting this.

Have any other meds or therapies been suggested to help you?

@colleenyoung

Welcome back, @glinda. I'm so glad that you responded to my tag. I've been wondering how you are doing.
Can you explain a bit more about what you do to "find a grounding" when dealing with PTSD?

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Hi Colleen young, I'm actually doing pretty good I'm ahead of schedule with my physical therapy I graduated from my 4 wheel walker to a cane 3 weeks ago yesterday balance without the cane is not the best. And I still struggle everyday with my PTSD most days it's not so bad the PTSD that is, I go to bed every night in pain and wake up every morning in pain do to both legs being broken and have the permanent steel plates and screws and I have continuous pain in my right hip for the same reason but I only have the one steel screw in the hip my stomach has healed nicely from my ostyme and illiostyme reversal although one side is flatter then the other walking is good not a lot of pain when I walk but sitting and standing are bad as my knees and my hip stiffen up and get painful my bones are all completely healed now and as of last month I was finally taken off the tacrolimus thank the Lord as I get migraine headaches from it especially if I don't catch the headache as it starts, they put me back on my sirolimus (rapamune) but we are having trouble with getting the levels where they need to be they go up one time then drop down again hopefully it will start to level out soon I'm so tried of being poked every week to two weeks it seems that blood draws and physical & occupational therapy is my whole life right now but have to go it the orthopedic surgeon that I see here told me I could have the severe pain I have every day for up to three years if not longer it will eventually ease up but not go away all together but I'm taking one day at a time thanks glinda

I will feel bad about ever complaining about anything after reading this. How do you tolerate the pain. The stress of being torn from one end to the other. My pain is nothing next to yours. My prayers are with you.

@oregongirl

I will feel bad about ever complaining about anything after reading this. How do you tolerate the pain. The stress of being torn from one end to the other. My pain is nothing next to yours. My prayers are with you.

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Physical therapy helps a lot and so does heat and mineral ice ointment and the little walking I'm able to do right now

@glinda

Hi, @colleenyoung,
Grounding is when you move away from your emotions you feel with a PTSD episode which you could have depression, anxiety, panick attacks, and saddeness. Groumding is for emotional pain which is what PTSD is what grounding does is make you feel safe it puts a healthy distance between you and those negative feelings.when grounding keep your eyes open, scan the room and turn the light ght on to stay in touch with the present.you use grounding when you are: faced with a trigger, or having a flashback, disassociating, having a substance craving, or when your emotional pain goes above
6 (on a 0 to 10 scale). There are a few different ways of grounding .
Ways to ground
Mental grounding
1.describe your environment in detail using all your senses for example the walls are white and the describe the whole room using everything from color to shape to size,textures, colors, smells, numbers, and temperature.
2.play a"categories" game with yourself. Try to think of types of dogs and things like that .
3. Do an age progression if you have regressed to a younger age (e.g., 8 years old), you can slowly work your way back up (e.g. "I'm now 9") and so on each year until you are back to your original age .
3.describe an everyday activity in great detail. For example, decsribe a meal that you cook (e.g., First I feel the potatoes and cut them into quarters, then I boil them in water."), And keep going until you have described the whole meal .
4.imagine. use an image: example glide slong on skates away from your pain; change the TV channel and so on.
5say a safety statement. Example: my name is; I am safe right now I am in the present, not the past.
6. Read something, saying each word to yourself. Or read each letter backwards so that you focus on the letters and not the meaning of the words
7. Use humor. Think of something funny to jolt you out of your mood.
8.count to tenor sat the alphabet very s..l..o..w..l..y.
9.repeat a favorite saying to yourself over and over (e.g. the sernity prayer or you could say the first verse of a song). Over and over.
Physical grounding
1. run cool water over your hands.
2.grab tightly onto your chair as hard as you can.
3. Touch various objects around you: a pen. Keys, your clothing. Notice textures, colors, materials, weight ,temperature. Compare objects you touch:touch is one colder, warmer, lighter, or heavier.
4. Dig your heels into the floor – literally "grounding" them! Notice the tensioncenterdin your heels as you do this. Remind yourself that you are connected to the ground.
5. Jump up and down.
6.notice your body: the weight of your body in the chair; wiggling your toes in your socks; the feel of your back against the chair. You are connected to the world.
7. Carry a ground object in your pocket- a small object (a small rock, clay, ring, price of cloth or yarn).
8. Stretch. Extend your fingers, arms or legs as far as you can; roll your head around
9. Walk slowly, noticing each footstep
10. Eat something describe the flavors in detail to yourself
11. Focus on your breathing. Noticing each inhale and exhale. Repeat a pleasent word to yourself on each inhale (for example, a favorite, color or a soothing word such as "safe" or "easy"). Soothing grounding
1.say kind statements as if you were talking to a small child. E g. " You are a good person going through a hard time. You'll get through this" .
2. Think of favorites. Think of your favorite color, animal,season, food, time of day, TV show
3. Picture people you care about (e.g, your children, and look at photographs of them).
Remember a safe place. Describe a place that you find very soothing (perhaps the beach, mountains or a favorite room).
4.Remember the words to an inspiring song, quotation, or poem_that makes you feel better for example the serentiy payer.
5.say a coping statement._ "I can handle this", "This feeling will pass".
5. Plan out a safe treat for yourself, such as a piece of candy, a nice dinner, or a warm bath.
6. Thin of things you are looking forward to in the next week. Perhaps time with a friend or going to a movie .
What if grounding doesn't work.
1.Practice as often as possible. Even when you don't need it.2. practice faster. Speeding up the pace gets you focused on the outside world quickly.
3. Try grounding for a loooooonnnng time(20-30 minutes). And repeat, repeat, repeat.
4. Try to notice whether you do better with "physical" or "mental" grounding.
5. Create your own methods if grounding. Any method you make up may be worth much more than those you read hear because it's yours.
5. Start grounding early in a negative mood cycle. Start when you have just started having a flashback.
Sorry this is so long Colleen but I hope it can help someone else.
Who migt be suffering from PTSD people think it just happens to soldiers but anyone can develop PTSD at anytime after any kind of trauma thanks for asking on grounding and so others know the techniques for grounding do work very well especially if you keep on with practicing them everyday .
Thanks glinfa

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@glinda Thank you so much for taking this time and walking us through the various ways of grounding yourself. This is incredibly helpful. Do you feel like any one exercise is better than another? Or might it depend on the situation one finds themselves in?

@andreab

@glinda Thank you so much for taking this time and walking us through the various ways of grounding yourself. This is incredibly helpful. Do you feel like any one exercise is better than another? Or might it depend on the situation one finds themselves in?

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For me it's the situation that I'm in But I do practice all of them every day as much as possible because some might work for a person and some might not I also play a game of solitaire on my phone if the grounding doesn't work for me or the situation is bad for me. My adice is to practice each one until a situation comes up then try one technique first if that doesn't work then try one of the others until that person finds what works for them. I try to remember to practice daily until I have the ways of grounding down I myself use the one of a sentence or the first sentence in a song I do that one at night in my head as I don't get to sleep right away at night but I would say practice each one everyday until the right one way works for a person then they can use that to make the grounding personal for them which means thinking of something they are comfortable with and use that in their grounding. Glad I could help. Glinda

@nissi

Hey,
Day 41 in the hospital after respiratory arrest, seizures… 3 days on a ventilator in ICU, loss of mobility on left side. Now they don't know what to do with me (my pulse goes above 170 when I am on my feet). So I sit in a hospital bed in a tiny hospital that hasn't a clue what to do…

I have been in ICU too many times. At 17 when I broke my neck and had a TBI. Then when I had a full-blown stroke five years ago (lost everything but got the clot-buster and got most back). The times my blood sugar bottomed out (10, 25, 37…) and they couldn't stabilize it. And for three autumns in a row, respiratory arrest.

I hate hospitals. I have yet another PCC line. I feel like a GOMER – who stays in a hospital this long?? My PTSD is at an all-time high but there is NO emotional support… I got to the point where I ASKED.

The speech therapist did a camera study for the dysphagia. Yep, seems aspiration is an issue. She says I can get stronger. And I think… Yeah… And every year I still aspirate and end up not breathing, but just pretend that hasn't happened… Invalidation.

It gets crazy-making!

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Hey Nissi,
I see you have had three respiratory arrests during autumn. Fall and spring are really tough on me because of all the stuff flying around in the air from the farmer's fields as they plant or harvest. Do you live in a rural area? I have to keep the windows closed during harvest and planting seasons so I can breathe a little better since my house has crops on two sides and there are very few wind breaks.
Steve

Hello Everyone,

I'm an ARDS survivor and I spent a week or so on the ventilator and almost 2 weeks in the ICU. I've had the same issues as nearly everyone in this group, which tells me, we're normal people responding to an abnormal situation. This is a great forum for both patients and caregivers. Lots of good resources here that I wish I had in '99.

Steve

@plexiclone

Hello Everyone,

I'm an ARDS survivor and I spent a week or so on the ventilator and almost 2 weeks in the ICU. I've had the same issues as nearly everyone in this group, which tells me, we're normal people responding to an abnormal situation. This is a great forum for both patients and caregivers. Lots of good resources here that I wish I had in '99.

Steve

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Hi @plexiclone, welcome to Connect. So glad you found the PICS forum and are willing to share your experiences. Such as apt phrase that you use: "we're normal people responding to an abnormal situation". Do I understand correctly that your ICU was almost 20 years ago? It sounds like you remember well, yet and still.

Yes, October of 1999. I remember a lot of it. When I go to the same ICU with patients my heart rate goes into the 90's. There is a lot of things in our daily lives that never go back to normal. Accepting that and moving on to your new place in life can be difficult after you get out of the ICU. Most of us are terrified of being that sick again and we will do anything to not wind up in the ICU ever again. It can be doubly frustrating for your spouse because you can't do things at the same speed you used to for at least a few months. It's like being a child again as you re-learn things and work on your memory. Spouses and family members get as frustrated as you do when you aren't up to speed.

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