ventilator weaning-my personal experience on a life support machine
Why I was on a ventilator
This is my personal account of my life on a ventilator. At the age of 49 I had not had any serious illness or cause to be hospitalized and then it happened. I thought that I had a cold which very soon seemed to develop into flu. Within four days my condition deteriorated rapidly. I was rushed to hospital and x-rayed. I am quite a strong willed person and can take most things on the chin. I asked the doctor was it lung cancer to which she answered "yes probably".
At this point my family were very distressed and I tried to re-assure them. It was a couple of hours later that I was diagnosed with pneumonia
Mechanical Ventilation-Life support
I was moved to the high dependancy ward. I had been suffering with severe pain in my ears and the strangest thing I kept hearing my favourite Russel Watson CD. It was so clear I kept asking where the radio was. Of course there was no radio. It turned out that as well as pneumonia I had pneumo cochineal in my ears.
My family (husband,daughter and son) were by now so worried,whilst I remained calm (that was probably because by now my temperature was so high and the pain so bad I was past caring). It really hurt me so much to see the family suffering. I remember the doctor coming to see me to tell me they were going to have to put me on a ventilation machine/life support machine.
I said I did not want the family to be there when this happened because I knew they would be upset and told them to go ahead. I did not know at this point that the family had requested to be present. I didn't want them there because I felt I would be saying goodbye and it was my intention to survive. A nurse came to me and said the family were really upset and asked me to see them before they put me on the ventilator so I agreed. It was awful I could tell they had been crying and were trying to hide it from me.
Can you hear people when on a mechanical ventilator
I was on the life support machine for 2 weeks. My family tell me that there was someone there with me all the time talking to me but I heard nothing.I did have the most weard dreams (but thats another story) I have written another hub about these dreams the link is here.
It turns out that I was diagnosed with pneumonia,pneumo cochineal in ears septicemia,mrsa and ARDS All this four weeks before christmas. The family were called in by the doctors three times and told to prepare for the worst. apparantely my daughter was offered counselling because she kept saying "my mum won't do this, she won't die on me before Xmas".
Apparently the problems the doctors were having was weaning me off the ventilator.To the shock of the medical staff I suddenly woke up. I was totally unaware of what had been happening and how ill I had been. I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about and why they would't let me get up.
I have vague memories of the first few days off the ventilation machine. but I was in a confused state.Because I could not distinguish between day and night the nurses asked the family what did I do at night. I liked to have a drambuie before I went to bed so they asked my husban to bring some in. (strange I always thought you should not drink when taking medication). I remember the first time the nurse offered me the drink and I tasted it, it tasted awful and has since put me off drambuie.
I also had really strange dreams again through this period.After a couple of days I became a bit more lucid and they got me out of bed and moving a little. I kept asking to go home and I remember the physio's coming to take me for a walk and they said if I could walk up some stairs unaided I would be able to go home. You can be when we got to those stairs I made it up and dow.
Coming home from hospital
I was discharged from hospital 7 days after being weaned off the ventilator.I hadn't looked in a mirror all the time I was in hospital,( I have a large mirror on the wall as you enter through the front door) As I walked in I looked behind to see who the old lady was following me in shock Horror when I realised it was me. I had aged and lost so much weight I coulldn't believe it. I broke down and cried.
The good news is I am still here to tell the tale.