IAN - 48
MY ICU STORY (VERY ABRIDGED!)
I thought I simply had a cold or flu but….
I was admitted to ICU in Graz (Austria) on Dec 14th, 2017, the day before I was due to fly home for Xmas.
I was put into an induced coma and placed on life support as my lungs were failing and not producing enough oxygen, all this happened within hours of being taken to hospital.
My wife Anna was flown out the following day and was greeted at the hospital with the words “your husband will probably die”.
After 4 weeks of coma and some serious complications I was slowly woken and eventually moved to another ward where I had to learn how to eat, drink, swallow, walk and talk again having had a tracheostomy, losing over 3 stone in weight and suffering from 95% muscle wastage.
I left hospital after about 8 weeks and eventually we were repatriated back to the UK by land ambulance, we arrived home at the end of Feb 2018.
My rehabilitation did not start well with only 1 hour a week of physio, I felt like an unknown quantity as I was ill abroad and did not go through the normal NHS process, I was eventually referred onto a 16-week scheme run by the Welsh government called N.E.R.S (National Exercise Referral Scheme) and finally got a place in June where I then attended at least 3 sessions a week at Deeside Leisure Centre.
I found ICUsteps Chester on the internet and along with Anna we attended our first Drop-In meeting.
It was good for us as we could talk about our experience with people that were non-judgemental and had similar stories, we were no longer alone.
The group started their own weekly exercise and gym class at the Lache Community Centre with funds raised from a sponsored walk and just recently a successful wine tasting evening. It’s a perfect NEXT STEP for former ICU patients who have finished their NHS physio, they can continue to exercise in a friendly informal atmosphere.
The community centre also has a café and we all get together after the class for lunch, for me it’s not just an extra class it’s also an opportunity to sit in an informal environment and catch up and share experiences.