I am sorry that I did not respond yesterday, as I had planned. I am glad that I can do so today. 🙂
Because all of my body was affected by severe septic shock, there was a combination of factors that were of great help to me. For example, my nutrition was prescribed and monitored according to blood tests and other indicators while I was at Mayo.
To answer your question about the most important part of my recovery, I would say it was physical therapy, which was started immediately at Mayo and continued for the six weeks that I was there; plus for the month that I was at the nursing home; and during the six weeks that I received home-healthcare. I indicate physical therapy as significant because it not only made it possible for me to use my body, but also it raised my self-esteem and gave me hope. I eventually regained my physical independence.
At Mayo and the nursing home, I learned to how to turn in bed, to get out of bed, and eventually to walk with assistance. I found that the physical therapy offered by home-health care was the least helpful because it was based on the low expectations of the therapist. More helpful at home was having my husband set physical goals with me. Prior to severe septic shock, I could walk many miles at a time and hike partway up mountains.
My husband plotted a walking track for me in front of the house and identified the number of laps I would need to take in order to walk a mile. I started with the ability to walk one lap, with my husband at my side, but without assisting me. Over a length of time I eventually was able to walk a mile.
Today, almost three years later, I can walk without tiring. However, I will no longer hike partway up mountains. I can regain the physical ability to do so, but I cannot gain the energy. I tire more easily than I did before severe septic shock. In part this is because a year later I had a second surgery and again suffered septic shock. My heart was affected adversely. Even so, I am very well. I have regained my enjoyment of life and my sense of humor. I feel free. I am deeply thankful.
In response to the concern about telling your husband the details of the trauma, and your experience of reliving the suffering, I say this. I definitely needed to know the details of what happened to me. My husband, and our sons, waited to tell me until I asked questions. And, they did not tell me more than I asked to know. They let me take the lead because they did not want to overwhelm me. Each day I was dealing with so much in the moment that I could not handle knowing too much about the past. And today, I likely do not know all of the details.
Another major contributor to my recovery was the fact that I weekly saw a psychologist. Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) affects a person in ways that can be shared with and understood by a professional counselor. If you are interested in having me share more about this, I will. Because my response to you is lengthy, I best not share more today!
I am confident that the compassionate care you provide to your husband is and will continue to be of assistance. A great length of time is required for recovery. May he and you be encouraged by knowing that others have plodded along in recovery and have reached new horizons. I am hopeful that his recovery will continue not only in obvious, but also in hidden ways. May each of you be able to get added rest.