I know I promised a post about my stay in the ICU a while back, but to be perfectly honest–I don’t remember much about those days. It wasn’t until I received a copy of my medical records from the hospital yesterday that I found out what happened during that time.
If you have never heard of ICU Psychosis, Let just tell you a little bit about it. ICU psychosis is a condition that causes patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) or a similar setting to experience serious psychiatric symptoms. ICU psychosis is also a form of delirium, or acute brain failure.
There are a number of reasons why ICU patients develop ICU Psychosis: Sensory Deprivation, Sleep Deprivation, Stress, and Medical Monitoring, are listed among environmental causes. Medical causes add to the list with pain, critical illness, medication reactions and side effects, infection, and dehydration. All of these things added together can cause a patient in ICU to develop serious psychosis responses.
So, you ask, what are the symptoms of ICU Psychosis? They include extreme excitement, anxiety, restlessness, hearing voices, hallucinations, nightmares, paranoia, disorientation, agitation, delusions, and abnormal behaviour.
Although I don’t recall much from my time in ICU, I do remember quite well some of the ridiculous things I did and experienced while there. I can not begin to imagine how much distress and worry I caused my family because of this.
My daughter, Becca, lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I called her in the middle of the night ten times in a row, begging her to come and get me out of the hospital. I was convinced that her dog, Ilex, was sitting right outside the door to my room in ICU, so I was calling her to come and sit with me. Of course, in reality, neither Becca or Ilex were there.
I dreamed that I got a letter from a woman who told me that my husband was her boyfriend. I was so convinced that I got that letter that I was calling my children and step-daughter to tell them about it. I never took into consideration that Fabgrandpa and I live in a 32 foot RV trailer, and spend twenty four hours a day, seven days a week together, so there was no way at all that this could be true. And of course, that “letter” that I supposedly received was never found in the gigantic stack of mail that I did receive.
One of my best friends in the world works as a special agent for Department of Homeland Security. I called her one night, telling her that the hospital staff in ICU was trying to kill me, and that she needed to come to Flagstaff (from Florida) to arrest them all and take them to jail. I was thoroughly convinced that the nurses and doctors on staff were taking bets on what time I would die. Exceptionally crazy? Yes, I think so now, but at the time, I was convinced.I also thought she actually came to the hospital, and I could hear her talking out in the hallway. And of course, she wasn’t there.
I called all my friends and family, begging them to come and get me out of the hospital. Several times. Thinking back on it now, I think they never should have allowed me to have my cellphone with me in ICU, and If I ever wind up there again, they should take my phone until I am over the worst of things.
On the first day that I was out of ICU, I was determined to leave the hospital. I was wearing only a hospital gown and a colostomy bag, had no clothes, no truck, no money, but I was determined to leave. I tried to get up out of the bed, and only succeeded in messing up my colostomy bag and had to have the bed changed and be cleaned up by the nurses on duty.
On the second day, I pulled the NG tube out of my nose. When I did that, I immediately started throwing up all over my bed and myself. Again, the nurses and patient care techs had to change my bed and clean my up. After that ordeal, I got very hot, so I took off my hospital gown and laid in bed naked. IN the morning, a nurse came in and told me that I was being monitored via a camera in the ceiling. She said that they had observed me laying there with no clothes on all night, and she wanted me to know.
After that, I tried my best to behave and cooperate with the doctors and nurses, so I could get better enough to come home.