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ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group - ARDS patient sees a pot bellied pig

Identifier

012209

Type of Spiritual Experience

Hallucination

Number of hallucinations: 1

Background

Acute respiratory distress syndrome ("ARDS"), previously known as respiratory distress syndrome ("RDS"), adult respiratory distress syndrome, or shock lung, is a severe, life-threatening medical condition characterized by widespread inflammation in the lungs. Although it can be triggered by a respiratory infection, such as pneumonia, it is more often a result of sepsis or significant trauma.

A description of the experience

Information gathered from...  "ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group"

An educational website provided by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

(ICU Patients describe their Delirium Experiences.)

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I don't remember most of the 40+ days I spent fighting ARDS in the ICU. I do remember bits, like snapshots – my Dad's warm wave and greeting when he arrived; I remember my Mom and sister lovingly giving me a bed-bath; I remember Dr. Wheeler and others talking. I also remember being asked questions over and over and answering by squeezing the questioner's hand. And I remember having my chest tube removed.

Unfortunately, I also remember being so overwhelmed by anxiety that my feet were in almost constant motion, back and forth, back and forth. My family began to recognize that when I shook my hands like that with my fingers splayed it meant that I wanted medication to help me tolerate the anxiety. They couldn't always give me anything.

Part of the time, I thought I was being restrained by elastic bands that held me down so that I couldn't move. The walls around me looked like I was being held in a multi-level pagoda. In my mind, I was plotting my escape to home, thinking I could pick at the threads of the imagined sewn elastic restraints and set myself free. Randomly I saw small Asian people who wouldn't look at me and I saw a black cat and a black pot-bellied pig. All the while, I was so, SO consumed by anxiety. Just remembering brings back shadows of anxiety.

The source of the experience

Scientist other

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References