There can be craziness in ICU!
I need to preface this page — the events you will read here, ONLY happen with complicated transplants. My first transplant I was in good shape, I was in the hospital for 7 days and everything went like clockwork. The second transplant was an entirely different experience. Information on this page is based on report from my husband Karl and sister Michelle
First from Dr. Tzakis, my transplant surgeon to Michelle:
“Patty seems to be increasingly confused and disoriented; we are going to give her another unit of blood. When asked if there was a concern for internal bleeding? He responded- her blood counts are very low, this was a lot bigger surgery than the first time due to scarring, and she may have to go back to surgery again.”
To the Patient: from Patty
You may say some goofy things while you are coming out of the transplant. Do not worry- the hospital staff have likely heard worse; no one holds you responsible. The best part is that you will not remember!
To the Caregiver: from Patty
I do not remember any of this – and by the time, Karl and my sister Michelle told me, it was funny. I am quite sure it was not funny to me at the time- I cannot speak for them. My point is, do not hold the patient responsible for anything they say while under the influence of drugs, fevers, and disorientation.
For the Caregiver: message from Karl for other caregivers-
I DO remember this- Patty’s first transplant went very smoothly, she was in good shape going into it, spent less than 24 hours in SICU, moved to the transplant unit and was only in the hospital 7 days. This second transplant was different- I had no idea what she would go through. The first time I saw her it was a shock, tubes coming out everywhere, she was so sick and there was nothing I could do but hold her hand.
To the family/friends: from Michelle [Patty’s sister]:
“To see someone you love in such critical condition is shocking. Karl warned me that it would be rough and he was right. I felt so helpless. After realizing Patty was well attended to in the ICU, I focused on Karl, he had reached the point of total exaltation. I sent him home to sleep, I promised I would not leave her side. Karl was relieved to have me there. During those long days Patty became disoriented and combative.She was convinced she needed to leave. Finally they had to restrain her. This WAS frightening for me to witness. but I knew I could not calm her. This went on for hours. I had a direct line to Dr. Tzakis, her surgeon, he came by often and reassured me this was typical for someone in her state.”
Excerpts from Michelle’s notes:[Patty’s comments are in italics
7/29/2002: Day 2 after the surgery Patty was still in SICU- or Surgical Intensive Care Unit, where she would be for the next week. After the first couple of days she had a second and her third surgery, they then kept her in an induced coma so she could rest. Karl was allowed to visit for only a few minutes in the morning, as Patty was running a fever of 101.7. Later in the afternoon we both (Michelle and Karl) came back, she was better.
Patty asked me several times-“I’m ready, when are we going home?”
Finally to Karl. “I want to get up—did you bring the car? To which he responded yes; “then you can drive me home!”
To me (Michelle) She asked me 3-4-5 times —“did they do the transplant yet?”
When Dr. Tzakis (her surgeon) stopped by: “Michelle, you should go on a date with Dr. Tzakis, you two would get along really well” when I asked about my husband? Patty responded: “He can go with you”.
When we were leaving “Please do not leave me here, they are torturing me. My liver is ready and they will not give it to me” That was heart breaking….
• ‘I’m ready—what are we waiting for?’
After I (Michelle) helped the nurse brush Patty’s teeth … she said ” I am so disoriented”; I (Michelle) responded, OK, Patty where are you? I said “I am at the dentist”
Patty was obsessed about her shoes… “where are my shoes? I need to put my shoes on!”
• “give me drugs and put me to bed now!”
• “I want to go home NOW”
In the evening Patty said to Karl, “please take me to Jackson?”. Karl responded “you are at Jackson”, “No, I am tied up. They would never tie me up at Jackson”
Patty’s concerns for the day:
• “I want pictures”
• “I want Juice”
• “I want cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, mango juice, apple juice I do not care, I just NEED juice!”Get me Karl, He will let me have juice!
• “I have to have cranberry juice NOW”
• “you look just like my sister Michelle”
A bit later:
“I know I am being obnoxious, I just have to get up’, I need juice!”
From Patty: I have no memories of that time in SICU. What I do remember is returning to the transplant floor from SICU and having trouble figuring out why they redid the unit in Shabby Chic and why a family of gypsies had moved in the room with me. I spent a month in the hospital, longer than anyone should be in be there. Unfortunately many people have to spend even longer in the hospital.by