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

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?

@janegigi

In 2014 I was became suddenly ill with H1N1 flu and double pneumonia and very high fever. My husband took me to the doctor who called an ambulance. I lost consciousness on the way to the hospital and I didn't wake up for four weeks. I was admitted to ICU critically ill. I was in a coma for four weeks, had a tracheostomy for about 6 weeks, had many complications including sepsis, pulmonary embolism, kidney failure and dialysis, blood transfusions, shocked twice, the organ donation people were called and my family were called to say goodbye to me. I was paralyzed in all four limbs, unknown reasons. Incontinent. My husband was asked to sign a DNR but he refused. I was 62 and had been previously healthy. I was a non smoker, non drinker. A hiker, an amateur wildlife photographer, Girl Scout volunteer, and had recently retired. I was hospitalized for 55 days, five weeks in ICU, then PCU which was pure terror (they were horrid), and then inpatient rehab. I had many kind nurses, but some unkind experiences and those are ones that haunt me. On ICU, the nurses allowed a strange man off the street in my room bc he said was a pastor (he wasn't). They didn't ask my family. I'm haunted that he was allowed in my room and violated my privacy. My first memory when I woke up from the coma was seeing myself naked from the waist down. He was a friend of friend but had no business in my room. He was not on the list approved by my family for visitors. I no longer speak to this friend. AND HE IS NOT A PASTOR!! I do not know him!! It's a violation of JCAHO!!! On ICU and PCU I had my commucation writing board taken away from me. I had a trache and couldn't speak and I was paralyzed and couldn't ring for the nurse. It was terrifying. No wonder I have PTSD or PICS. I'm convinced they would have killed me eventually. My daughter was livid and complained all the way to the VPs. One nurse was fired. The VPs were shocked when they saw how ill I was. The nurse told them I was being difficult and demanding, then they saw I couldn't speak and was paralyzed. I couldn't even roll over on my own. What shocks me today is that my doctors haven't even heard of PICS. I have a liberal arts degree. How can I know more about that than them ?! I'm about 85% recovered now. But they call me a liar. They try to tell me to forget about it. I've been seeing a therapist since my discharge. I have sleep issues, I don't want to alone. I can't sleep. I'm always back in ICU. I still cry. My life changed. My friends changed. Many of my friends turned their back on me after my discharge. It has taken me a long time to get my life back together. They expected me to jump back in and do my volunteer work. When I couldn't, I was excluded. That was so hurtful. It's true about finding out who your true friends are.

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@janegigi, I want to extend my Welcome to you. I am happy that you have found this topic on Mayo Clinic Connect. I do wish that there was something that could be done to turn back the clock so that you would not have had this experience. I don't understand how you were placed in such a situation. I have had several hospital experiences, and even in the best of circumstances, it can be a frightening and eerie place. I have also been in situations where there have been 'less than pleasant/qualified" caregivers and staff. I commend your daughter for calling this to the attention of a responsible staff member where it was addressed. I hope that you can find at least a small sense of gratitude that someone, in the future, will benefit from this. (Not much help, I know).
I have no experience with what you have gone thru, except one time when my son was not feeling confident about the night nurse, and so he decided to stay with me thru the night. I was also fortunate that my family was available afterwards to tell me what what they had observed during my times of confusion and this has helped me to sort out the blanks in my memory. I don't know what to say or to think about your situation, but I don't think that we can ever just forget things like that. I am glad to hear that you are making some improvement, and are pleased with your therapist and are seeing some results. It sounds like your husband is willing to stand up for you and be at your side. I hope that you will continue making progress, and begin to mingle with a new group of friends – who accept you for who you are.

You said that you had recently retired, so will you be able to revisit any of your original retirement plans? Do you think you can continue to look ahead to building some better memories and experiences for yourself and for your family?

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@rosemarya

@janegigi, I want to extend my Welcome to you. I am happy that you have found this topic on Mayo Clinic Connect. I do wish that there was something that could be done to turn back the clock so that you would not have had this experience. I don't understand how you were placed in such a situation. I have had several hospital experiences, and even in the best of circumstances, it can be a frightening and eerie place. I have also been in situations where there have been 'less than pleasant/qualified" caregivers and staff. I commend your daughter for calling this to the attention of a responsible staff member where it was addressed. I hope that you can find at least a small sense of gratitude that someone, in the future, will benefit from this. (Not much help, I know).
I have no experience with what you have gone thru, except one time when my son was not feeling confident about the night nurse, and so he decided to stay with me thru the night. I was also fortunate that my family was available afterwards to tell me what what they had observed during my times of confusion and this has helped me to sort out the blanks in my memory. I don't know what to say or to think about your situation, but I don't think that we can ever just forget things like that. I am glad to hear that you are making some improvement, and are pleased with your therapist and are seeing some results. It sounds like your husband is willing to stand up for you and be at your side. I hope that you will continue making progress, and begin to mingle with a new group of friends – who accept you for who you are.

You said that you had recently retired, so will you be able to revisit any of your original retirement plans? Do you think you can continue to look ahead to building some better memories and experiences for yourself and for your family?

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My husband had triple bypass three month before I became ill. We had planned a big trip just before our illnesses, but that was shelved. We have gone on some short trips with our children. We are lucky to have all three of children living in the same town with their spouses and six grandchildren. I did return to my Girl Scout volunteering and with another volunteer we made a 1918 replica Scout uniform for the Edith Bolling Wilson museum in Wytheville VA. You can google it and see it. Not too bad for someone whose hands were paralyzed at one time. It was good therapy for me. I have been to see it. It's two hours from my home. She was the wife of President Wilson. I also have dressed several dolls for Girl Scouts, and some other charities to donate for auctions. I still do some wildlife photographer as a hobby. I live on a wildlife preserve. So I'm not stagnating, it's just getting doctors to listening. I've doctors tell me I wasn't really ill even though they can just look in the computer, I had a nurse tell me my illness was caused by the devil, I had a therapist try to convert me to her religion, I had a resident tell me I was just hallucinating. A nurse told me I was overreacting. Another told me to 'not sweat the small stuff' like my illness was small stuff. Insert big eye when I really want to scream.

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@rckj

@rosemarya thanks for your response, I greatly appreciated it! I just got out of the hospital again, round 3? I don’t know I’ve lost track. Spiked a high fever and sepsis so another ICU stay then another 10 days. I am fortunate to have a strong support system including a wonderful Unitarian minister who visits with me. I’m Jewish and Unitarian my husband is Unitarian. Actually the minister is the person who married my husband and I, so she has special meaning to us! As usual, tired of the hospital although the hospital itself is terrific. They have had meetings for staff on how to treat my rare illness and everyone seems to know what to do. Unheard of in this day and time of diminishing resources! Sometimes I feel like my body has betrayed me as I used to be so healthy and strong but it is what it is, I just need to learn to cope with it and have the best life possible, for myself and my husband. I struggle too with what my husband has to go through. He keeps telling me that that’s part of his life as my husband but I can see that we are both stressed. Still working with the medical teams on ways to get more stable and minimize the need for hospitalization. Anyway, that’s the update. I keep wondering if they begin to sound all alike, although it’s different each time, somewhat. I’m so glad you have your wonderful husband too and congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. I hope all is well with you and hope I don’t always have to start a conversation with a hospital update! Thank you for your kindness and I treasure the long distance hand squeeze! Sending my caring and all my best wishes. Rhoda.

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@rckj,
Rhonda, Consider this a "Thinking of You" greeting. I thought that I might drop in to say 'Hi' before I get my day going. I hope that you are seeing some better days since I last heard from you.
I have been doing some yard work – pulling weeds and cleaning up my garden. I have dafodils that were in my grandpa's yard, then my dad's, so they are always a happy memory for me. I remember picking them for my mom and grandma. And my own boys used to pick the ones that I have. Right now, the irises are coming up in a tangled mess of weeds because I have not tended them for several years. It is amazing that they have survived. I can't wait to see if any of the special ones will bloom.

Are you at home or near a window where you can see the season changing? When I was in hospital, that was one thing that I enjoyed doing. I have a need to see or be outside because it makes me feel alive and hopful.
Hugs,
Rosemary

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One day when I was in rehab, the nurses let my husband wheel me outdoors. It was March and a bit windy in Virginia. But it was so wonderful to be outdoors other than to be in transport for testing. That was the only time during my 55 day stay that I was able to be outdoors. However, I had a good window view of a city park while rehab for 2 1/2 weeks. I often ate my meals at the window. Several times a day, I would see a hook and ladder firetruck racing through the street on a call as it made its way to the interstate. I was fascinated with the way the driver handled the back, the front going one way and the back going the other way. I was on the seventh floor of the hospital and had a birds eye view. So now when I go to parades, those firetrucks hold a special meaning to me. When I came home, my husband wheeled me into the backyard to see the wild violets in bloom. He had instructed our yard guy to not mow yet, so I could see the violets in bloom. He knew how much I love them. Sometimes it's the small things.

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@janegigi

One day when I was in rehab, the nurses let my husband wheel me outdoors. It was March and a bit windy in Virginia. But it was so wonderful to be outdoors other than to be in transport for testing. That was the only time during my 55 day stay that I was able to be outdoors. However, I had a good window view of a city park while rehab for 2 1/2 weeks. I often ate my meals at the window. Several times a day, I would see a hook and ladder firetruck racing through the street on a call as it made its way to the interstate. I was fascinated with the way the driver handled the back, the front going one way and the back going the other way. I was on the seventh floor of the hospital and had a birds eye view. So now when I go to parades, those firetrucks hold a special meaning to me. When I came home, my husband wheeled me into the backyard to see the wild violets in bloom. He had instructed our yard guy to not mow yet, so I could see the violets in bloom. He knew how much I love them. Sometimes it's the small things.

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@janegigi, Thanks for sharing your beautiful memory. I was doing yard work yesterday, and our yard has patches of wild violets. Our yard was likewise overgrown in central Kentucky because my husband's mower had been out of commision. I like how we can derive strength from 'small things' like spring blooms or by being outside on a nice day. Like you, I had a period of time when the window was my outside contact. I remember seeing the tops of the construction cranes from ICU in KY. and window washers on the 10th floor at Mayo. It was winter, and I enjoyed the stars in the night sky. Later as spring approached, I enjoyed looking down and watching the trees and flowers come 'alive' because it made me feel alive and have hope. This was over several hospitalizations.
Fire trucks are amazing! My son is a firefighter and drives one of those big things called a Quint.
How are you getting along these days?

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@rosemarya

@janegigi, Thanks for sharing your beautiful memory. I was doing yard work yesterday, and our yard has patches of wild violets. Our yard was likewise overgrown in central Kentucky because my husband's mower had been out of commision. I like how we can derive strength from 'small things' like spring blooms or by being outside on a nice day. Like you, I had a period of time when the window was my outside contact. I remember seeing the tops of the construction cranes from ICU in KY. and window washers on the 10th floor at Mayo. It was winter, and I enjoyed the stars in the night sky. Later as spring approached, I enjoyed looking down and watching the trees and flowers come 'alive' because it made me feel alive and have hope. This was over several hospitalizations.
Fire trucks are amazing! My son is a firefighter and drives one of those big things called a Quint.
How are you getting along these days?

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I'm seeing a new therapist, not that I didn't like my former one, but this one does a different type of therapy. She thinks she may be able to arrange my speaking with residents. I've been wanting to tell my story for a while. I mentioned that to my ICU doctor and he told me my survival story was "of no teaching value". That really upset me. This therapist totally disagree. She says it's of great value. That ICU doctor also had never heard of PICS and gave me the advice that I just needed to forget my illness. I guess I need a magic wand and I'll be all better. But I have stage 3 kidney failure and have frequent kidney infections. I was on dialysis while in the hospital, bc my kidneys shut down. He didn't seem to think that was a big deal, nor did he appreciate the fact I was paralyzed and have had to relearn to walk. I've moved on with life in many ways but I don't want to forget the war I fought. I want share my experience and tell my story.

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@rosemarya

@rckj,
Rhonda, Consider this a "Thinking of You" greeting. I thought that I might drop in to say 'Hi' before I get my day going. I hope that you are seeing some better days since I last heard from you.
I have been doing some yard work – pulling weeds and cleaning up my garden. I have dafodils that were in my grandpa's yard, then my dad's, so they are always a happy memory for me. I remember picking them for my mom and grandma. And my own boys used to pick the ones that I have. Right now, the irises are coming up in a tangled mess of weeds because I have not tended them for several years. It is amazing that they have survived. I can't wait to see if any of the special ones will bloom.

Are you at home or near a window where you can see the season changing? When I was in hospital, that was one thing that I enjoyed doing. I have a need to see or be outside because it makes me feel alive and hopful.
Hugs,
Rosemary

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@rosemarya Rosemary, so nice to hear from you! I’ve been discouraged lately due to hospital admissions and ER visits. Sometimes it’s hard to remember a life outside the hospital but I’m trying to! I also love the flowers and our vegetable garden. Watching the world through our solarium windows. I especially love the tulips and our all too brief lilac season. Physical therapy is working with me to get me outside more. I agree with them and you that it would be healing. So glad you are enjoying your garden and your good memories. I need to do more of that. I feel claustrophobic indoors but need to build strength to get outside more. Well worth doing! Coming up soon are the tulips, lilacs, azaleas, rhododendrons, and a small rose arbor. I’m hoping and working to get outside for all of those flowers. We have a lot of space, some planted some just growing. We are surrounded by a wildlife preserve so they can’t build anything nearby. It’s so beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset. Thanks for reminding me of all these good things that bring back memories and create new ones. Enjoy your flowers! Hope to stay in touch. All my best wishes, Rhoda.

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Hello, I happened to come by this group researching PTSD post ICU. I’ve had two ICU stays, the first of which encouraged me to get a job in the ICU as a CNA and eventually be an ICU nurse. I have lots of experience working with ICU patients. I’ve wanted to be a nurse since getting my nursing assistant certification in 2005. After my last ICU stay I no longer have any desire to enter a hospital. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Agoraphobia. This is devastating to say the least. I have worked in a state psychiatric facility, I have a position at the hospital currently which I am on leave from as a float pool CNA. I am six months from hospital discharge. I see a psychiatrist, therapist, and my normal doctor. I feel stagnant. I was on short term disability my last check was in December. I have been denied long term disability, I’ve hired an attorney to contest. All of my providers agree that I can’t go onto my position at this time. I am on four daily medications. My first ICU stay was a partial colectomy with a colostomy. I was there for 12 days and at 29 years old handled it like a champ. I have the reversal surgery a few months later and coped fairly well. This last ICU stay was due to a medication to stabilize my mood swings called Lactimal. I had a severe allergic reaction to this medication and went to the clinic and was told by the PA to keep taking the medication because I had an influenza like illness with a rash unspecified. Well with fevers of 103 for two more days I decided it was time for a second opinion. I went to the ED and was transferred via ambulance to a level 2 trauma hospital where they called a rapid response code, which is all too familiar for me and I don’t remember much more. I had a bone marrow biopsy, blood transfusion, and all sorts of tests. Looking back I should’ve advocated for myself more. I’m angry that I am not normal anymore. My family is suffering, I’m 35 and supposed to have applied to the RN program. Instead I keep replaying every minute of that second hospitalization in my brain. I have dreams, and nightmares. I feel like a failure. I don’t like to leave the house and I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life or when I will start feeling better. I should note that my hematologist’s diagnosis was SIRS. Thanks for listening.

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Does anyone still follow this thread? I’m 38 and just spent two months in the ICU, partly in a medically induced coma due to ARDS and sepsis, then was hooked to a ventilator and paralyzed with critical care myopathy. Wound up being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease after all was said and done, but the damage to my lungs, and muscle tissue is extensive. Not to mention the nightmares. I would love to find somewhere to talk to people who understand what I’m going through.

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@rook

I am looking for others who have been on a ventilator and were able to get off and how their life is now. I was on a vent for a month, had a trache inserted after ten days which remained for an additional month àfter i got off the vent and am having several complications from the experience….foot drop, peripheral neuropathy in both feet, and nightmares. I posted more info on my wall if you want to read it. I am hoping there are others on this site who can relate to what I am experiencing now.

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I had ARDS, a trache for about six weeks, pulmonary embolism, 4 week coma, kidney failure & dialysis, paralysis, plus other complications. I had to relearn to walk, relearn to use my hands, relearn to swallow. The nightmares are the worse though. I'm five years out now and still going to therapy. I would recommend stay in therapy. I write about my experience and hope to speak to others about it one day. I have good days and bad days. Some medical professional were kind and some were not. There is a Facebook page called Post Intensive Care Syndrome Group you may want to join too. I find the people on there to be very helpful. They have had been kind to me.

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@deltakay

Hello, I happened to come by this group researching PTSD post ICU. I’ve had two ICU stays, the first of which encouraged me to get a job in the ICU as a CNA and eventually be an ICU nurse. I have lots of experience working with ICU patients. I’ve wanted to be a nurse since getting my nursing assistant certification in 2005. After my last ICU stay I no longer have any desire to enter a hospital. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Agoraphobia. This is devastating to say the least. I have worked in a state psychiatric facility, I have a position at the hospital currently which I am on leave from as a float pool CNA. I am six months from hospital discharge. I see a psychiatrist, therapist, and my normal doctor. I feel stagnant. I was on short term disability my last check was in December. I have been denied long term disability, I’ve hired an attorney to contest. All of my providers agree that I can’t go onto my position at this time. I am on four daily medications. My first ICU stay was a partial colectomy with a colostomy. I was there for 12 days and at 29 years old handled it like a champ. I have the reversal surgery a few months later and coped fairly well. This last ICU stay was due to a medication to stabilize my mood swings called Lactimal. I had a severe allergic reaction to this medication and went to the clinic and was told by the PA to keep taking the medication because I had an influenza like illness with a rash unspecified. Well with fevers of 103 for two more days I decided it was time for a second opinion. I went to the ED and was transferred via ambulance to a level 2 trauma hospital where they called a rapid response code, which is all too familiar for me and I don’t remember much more. I had a bone marrow biopsy, blood transfusion, and all sorts of tests. Looking back I should’ve advocated for myself more. I’m angry that I am not normal anymore. My family is suffering, I’m 35 and supposed to have applied to the RN program. Instead I keep replaying every minute of that second hospitalization in my brain. I have dreams, and nightmares. I feel like a failure. I don’t like to leave the house and I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life or when I will start feeling better. I should note that my hematologist’s diagnosis was SIRS. Thanks for listening.

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@deltakay, I want to introduce myself and say "Welcome" to Connect. I spent a brief period of time in ICU 10 years ago. It was difficult for me afterwards as I had memories and memory gaps that taunted me. For a long time, I had difficulty even talking about it, and some friends/family would say that I shouldn't let it bother me – that I should just get over it. Your experience is real, and I understand the feelings that you are having.
I want you to erase the notion that you are "not normal anymore" from your mind! There is no question that you have had more than your share of difficulties, and both you and your family are facing many challenges. The determination and goals that you had prior to this event show what kind of inner strength that you possess. Many folks who have encountered barriers like you are experiencing say that time helps. And they develop a "New Normal" that involves learning to live with whatever limitations are and continuing to be proactive in care and treatment.

I hope that some day you will be able to share your new normal as an example to others who are like you.
You mentioned seeing a hematologist, as well as other health conditions. I want to encourage you to look at the discussion groups on Mayo Connect, and to meet others who are facing some of the same health issues. As a member you are invited to participate anywhere. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/groups/

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@jslate

Does anyone still follow this thread? I’m 38 and just spent two months in the ICU, partly in a medically induced coma due to ARDS and sepsis, then was hooked to a ventilator and paralyzed with critical care myopathy. Wound up being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease after all was said and done, but the damage to my lungs, and muscle tissue is extensive. Not to mention the nightmares. I would love to find somewhere to talk to people who understand what I’m going through.

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@jslate, Welcome. I am happy that you have joined this discussion. I don't share your experience, but I did have a brief time in ICU that left me feeling very vulnerable and confused. I know that others will be coming forward to share with you.
@jslate, I am thankful that you have been able to move forward after your experience. I commend you for using your pown experience to help others.
Here is another resource that I want to share. It is part of Mayo Clinic Connect and as members you are invited to participate in any of the conversations. I hope it is helpful.
———-
Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) – Muscle weakness, memory problems, depression, insomnia, physical pain, nightmares. These are just a few examples of the problems that patients may experience following critical illness. Symptoms such as these which affect emotional, physical, and cognitive health are now being recognized as Post Intensive Care Syndrome, or PICS. Efforts to educate health care providers, patients, and families about Post Intensive Care Syndrome are underway. Explore our site to learn more about PICS.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/pics/

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@rosemarya and @colleenyoung hi Rosemary and Colleen. A bit scared right now. I have a congenital corneal problem called corneal dystrophy. I’ve had multiple laser surgeries as my corneas won’t heal on their own and can spontaneously tear and need repair. They have been ok for a while but today are showing signs of deterioration. Off to the corneal specialist. But I haven’t been on Coumadin for this problem before. Will tell ophthalmic surgeon today. Surgery wouldn’t be right away any way. But very anxious. Getting advice from the Coumadin/Warfarin team. Not much else to do except wait and see what they say. I seem to defy the unwritten rule of only one genetic disease at a time! This practice is really great and have saved my vision numerous times. Just really anxious. Hoping for the best for me and all of us.

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@rckj

@rosemarya and @colleenyoung hi Rosemary and Colleen. A bit scared right now. I have a congenital corneal problem called corneal dystrophy. I’ve had multiple laser surgeries as my corneas won’t heal on their own and can spontaneously tear and need repair. They have been ok for a while but today are showing signs of deterioration. Off to the corneal specialist. But I haven’t been on Coumadin for this problem before. Will tell ophthalmic surgeon today. Surgery wouldn’t be right away any way. But very anxious. Getting advice from the Coumadin/Warfarin team. Not much else to do except wait and see what they say. I seem to defy the unwritten rule of only one genetic disease at a time! This practice is really great and have saved my vision numerous times. Just really anxious. Hoping for the best for me and all of us.

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@rckj, I send prayers for you. And especially for your medical team.
Hugs.

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@rosemarya @janegigi Thanks for responding! I think the hardest part for me, aside from the physical pain of whatever autoimmune disease I have (we don’t know for sure, and we don’t have insurance, so all we can do right now is wait and see), is the fact that the rest of the world moves on while I’m still reliving those hellish two months over and over and over. Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple of wonderful doctors who went above and beyond—who definitely searched past Critical Care Myopathy to determine why I got so sick so fast, why my body didn’t fight off the subsequent infections that came after the initial flu that landed me in the hospital to begin with and why I went septic. But having to learn how to walk, swallow, etc., was all extremely terrifying and yet my immediate family doesn’t quite get how traumatic it all was. I did see my neurologist (I had epilepsy prior to this, onset when my five year old son was just a year old) did warn me that it would take me at least a year before my brain was fully healed, and to expect things like memory loss, fogginess, impaired judgment at times, and so on. He said we’d reevaluate everything 12 months from my discharge (I was admitted in my hometown but after the first week I was flown out while in a coma to the trauma unit at UAB in Birmingham, AL).

Words and terms like klepsiella, blood transfusions, bowel management system, staff, delirium, encephalitis, chest tubes….keep rolling around my head like loose marbles. I want to scream them into my pillow. I’m still coughing up phlegm. I’m still breathing with damaged lungs. I wake up, heart racing, expecting to be unable to move even the tips of my fingers. All I could remember was going to the first hospital, waiting there while they did exams and said I had double pneumonia (how, I thought? I only have a low grade fever and no cough). Then they ran a blood cell count and panicked. White blood cell counts like that look like leukemia. There was no room at that hospital but the doctor suggested heavily to my father and husband that a bone marrow biopsy be done, and quickly. They transferred me then by ambulance to hospital number 2, and all I recall is being checked in, vaguely being wheeled to a room to meet my father, then being told that because I had a communicable disease, they were isolating me. It’s lights out from there. Next comes what feels like months. Bizarre happenings, weird things that I can’t begin to put into words. They were all related to being in a hospital so it had to be delirium. Then I slowly wake up and figure out I’m paralyzed and that none of it was real, and that the medically induced coma (the coma was about two to three weeks) wiped out two full days of me being conscious and aware—texting and talking to loved ones prior to the coma, just poof—gone from my memory, along with about two days after being “woken up.” I have no recollection of my parents’ visit, despite interacting with them in some fashion (dad says he knew no one was home). I read those text messages later horrified. Was I scared of possible intubation? I must have been. I’m haunted by this. Why didn’t the psychologist at UAB discuss PICS with me? Hyperventilating on a ventilator isn’t much fun, I can assure you of that. It’s like running up the down escalator. It gets you nowhere and everybody stares. And I did have a tracheostomy. That sucked. Suction was for the birds.

So, I’m long winded, but thank you for listening. Honestly. I would love to see a therapist but being that I am already going to have to claim bankruptcy, and now have no income (poor hubby the breadwinner), I don’t have that option at the moment. I’ve applied for disability, but gracious the forms are daunting. It’s like they don’t understand that my brain isn’t fully functional and therefore I’m not capable of filling out 900 pages. You’d think the three interviews would have been enough. But I digress. Thank you for listening.

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