Covid19. The virus that should have caused us all to stay home, and practice social distancing.
But let’s back up a few years….
When I was in the ICU, a dangerous internet challenge went viral. I heard people discussing it, and asking each other “why would anybody do that?”
If I hadn’t been on a ventilator at the time, I could have answered “because people don’t know what it is like to be that sick”.
Really, people think “I’ll get time off, maybe I’ll spend some time in the hospital and then it will all be over.”
WRONG! That idea is absolutely wrong.
You don’t want to be in the ICU for any reason.
Movies, TV, books… They all show a fictionalized version of the ICU, where patients are sick, they get better before leaving the ICU, and then they go on with their lives, as if being in the ICU is as life changing as getting a new car.
If you have never been in the ICU, you need to know, at this time, why you don’t want to be in the ICU, or cause anybody else to be in the ICU.
1.) Almost dying, is painful. It hurts. I thought somebody was trying to kill me. I didn’t know where I was, or why I was there.
Following that is the emotional pain, of wondering why you lived, and other’s in your situation didn’t.
2.) To be on a ventilator, you need to be intubated by having a tube shoved down your throat with enough force to reach your lungs. It scrapes raw wounds all the way down your esophagus, and causes pain that lasts about 6 months. Your throat is more sore than it ever was before, and it gets itchy as it heals. Very very itchy, and you can not scratch it. If you had any kind of gerd or acid reflex before being intubated, that acid also burns like like battery acid being poured on an already festering wound. That also lasts for about 6 months.
3.) A feeding tube, is shoved down your nose with the same force, causing the inside of your nose to also be painful and itchy. Note: They don’t give you painkillers for this either.
4.) You lose your sense of self. I couldn’t decide if I was male or female. I actually thought I was both. I also thought I was so evil, they put me in an induced coma to protect the public from me.
5.) Delirium is your worst horror movie come to life. You see coffins being rolled passed your bed, and people who aren’t real, but to you they are and the only reason they are there is to hurt you.
6.) Sepsis, a blood infection, is being seen in covid19 patients. Sepsis if not caught early enough, can cause brain damage, limb amputation and death. (See the uk sepsis trust website for more information).
7.) Recovering is not done in the ICU. It takes years to recover.
The ICU is there to get you to the point that you are not dying anymore. It is not there to return you to base point.
It took me more than 2 years to fully recover, and I’m still not recovered. There are still things that I used to be able to do that I can’t do now.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get to where I was before. I can’t walk around the block without wheezing. I can’t remember everything I knew before. I sleep more than I did before.
My right arm is still much weaker than my left. It tires much faster than my left, and it gets very painful when I over use it. Unfortunately I’m right handed.
8.) You won’t have the energy to leave your home after you get home from the ICU.
I had so little energy I wanted to outsource going to the bathroom.
I was so sick I didn’t have the energy to go to my doctor, for months after being in the ICU.
When I finally went I had to take my mother, because I didn’t remember many things.
9.) The ICU leaves many people with PTSD.
I have PTSD, from the ICU.
10.) The expense. I paid nothing, because I live in a country with socialized medicine.
If you aren’t so lucky and you get covid19, you will have a hospital bill that’s so high, you might have to sell your house, go into bankruptcy, or be in so much debt you’ll never get out.
The ICU is the most expensive hospital bed there is, because of 1 to 1 nursing, expensive equipment, and highly educated doctors.
I’ve outlined why you personally don’t want to go to the ICU. It’s also why you don’t want to cause anybody else to go to the ICU.
Practice Social Distancing.
Don’t go out until you need to.
Don’t visit without people who are not in your household.
I know it’s hard, but it is so much easier than the alternative: getting Covid19, or giving it to someone else.
If you want to know more about my experience in the ICU, you can read all about it in this blog.
Please share this, like it on twitter, tweet or retweet it or like it on this blog? Please tell your friends and family? You can also follow this blog if you like.
People need to know how serious this is, and the risks they are taking when they don’t practice social distancing and stay at home.
If someone benefits from my pain in being in the ICU, it will be worth it. I don’t want my pain to be useless pain that helped nobody.