Win a Three Day Trip to the ICU! Bonus Draw for a Psych Ward Stay!
TRIGGER ALERT: If you are suicidal, have attempted suicide or have known someone who has made an attempt or been successful, you may not wish to continue reading this post. This post contains material that may be considered graphic about my own recent suicide attempt.
Although the title to this post may sound like this is a funny topic, it’s actually not. I started writing it while in hospital and since then, it has needed many revisions. That title and the post’s original first paragraph (about my “winning a contest” and “taking a vacation”) were only further evidence of how I sometimes write on my blog. I use a lot of self-deprecation, and I have a very twisted sense of humour. That still may come out here, somewhat. I don’t know. One thing I do know is that you are going to get as much detail as I can possibly give you. That was always my original intent.
I was in the ICU for three days. I had no idea I was even there because I was already unconscious upon arrival to the ER. For the first two days, I was in a coma. In fact, I may have even been in a coma in the ER. Either way, I was not going to recover at all in the ER. Why else would I have been transferred to the ICU?
When I say “coma” I do not mean “unconscious.” Why? Well, there are many “degrees” to measure consciousness regarding a coma, for example, the Glasgow Coma Scale. If you do not choose to look at it, you may choose to “look” at me. As morbid as it may sound, I wish I had a photograph to see what I actually did look like. Instead, I needed to rely upon at least some description until I did regain a bit of consciousness.
I was intubated with an endotracheal tube that was then connected to a ventilator so I could breathe. That type of tube is inserted into your mouth externally and down through your trachea as it sounds. I had a nasogastric feeding tube inserted. I also had a catheter inserted to drain my urine. However, the nasogastric tube may have been used in concert with the catheter to keep clearing my system of toxins.
There were several attachments to monitor my vitals, many IVs to provide drips of other solutions (perhaps things to balance my electrolytes.) Most IVs come with extra tubes to insert needles directly and also to add solutions to flush the tubes and lines. It would only make sense they would be there as well, since everything was running non-stop.
I was placed in restraints. Only my arms and basically in cotton material. This was more of a safety precaution should I wake up, start wondering what the hell was going on, and begin tearing everything out and off of me. That would not have been good. Most definitely while still being intubated. However, the ICU nurses were on top of everything.
Intubation. Extubation. Nasogastric Tube. Things are a bit fuzzy, here. My condition must have changed and I stabilized, as I somehow recall things being removed. They told me they were going to extubate me, and when they said to “cough” I should cough. It may sound a bit silly, but I think I had a flash of all the medical shows I’ve seen in my life. I wondered if it was really as bad as they made it seem.
No, it wasn’t so bad.
Blood. Everywhere. Were the nurses getting a bit excited? I don’t think they expected that to happen. Or was it the nasogastric tube that caused all the blood? I once had a doctor try to insert a nasogastric tube when I was conscious. It caused quite a nosebleed. Regardless, either tube can cause some significant bleeding upon removal.
After that, I may have been oxygenated by both a mask and a cannula. A bit fuzzy there, too. The cannula would be done after the mask, as it delivers less oxygen through its smaller tubes, and does not cover your entire nose and mouth area.
The intubation also left me with some other issues that lasted a bit longer. They are not uncommon, though. I had a small cut on the right side of my mouth, my throat was very sore but I was only allowed small sips of water and ice chips for a long time. My neck was unbelievably sore. I think I had some chest pain, as well. I think my throat still tends to get a bit sore now, still.
I became “conscious” on the third day but I was far from it. Although, one thing confused me greatly. When rolling over I felt something hard on the side of my face. One of the nurses had braided my hair with surgical tape. I thought it was…someone else… You see, I had some very interesting “hallucinations” in the ICU. That is all very complicated and too much to write about here. I will say, though, that certain “someone?” I miss him. I want him to come back.
Since being discharged and coming home, I was told I said and did some things that I have no memory of saying or doing. I think that might only be reasonable considering I was in a coma for two entire days. It’s not like I would have just “snapped to it” when I did finally open my eyes. When someone from psychiatry came down, all I remember is just saying, “yes” over and over again, like a robot, to whatever he said.
When I did get up to the psych ward, the first night I slept I was in so much pain. Every time I moved I wanted to cry out, but that would have just added to the pain. I got up the next day and tried to walk with Wonder Cane but it was impossible. I had to ask my nurse to get me a wheelchair.
Next: Perhaps some of the Five W’s and the H? I wanted to start you off slowly with this one.