Diagnosed with ESRD - End Stage Renal Disease in 2010 with 28% kidney function left. In January 2013, it dropped to 5%. Started twice a week Hemodialysis in February. My beautiful and courageous wife, Ninette, came forward willingly to be my donor and we started with the work-up in March. We finally finished everything and got approval 08 July 2013. We had the procedure the 25th of the same month.

Our journey continues...

Friday, August 9, 2013

ICU Experience

It's day 15 after my double cholecystectomy and kidney transplant surgery. So far, I have been gaining my strength back little by little; following doctors' instructions, keeping a record of vital signs, input/output monitoring, etc. 

Please pardon, grammar and spelling mistakes as I am not strong enough.

If you have read the previous post that my brother, Noel composed, you would know how stormy the surgery went. But I have little or no recollection of the episode where, after the 2 procedures and was in the recovery room, I sat up and started pulling needles and tubes out of my body. All I remember was that for a brief moment, I heard frenzied voices and hands restraining me. Later my neph told me that it took 5 persons to finally hold me down. What caused that, I do not know. Even the doctors are not sure.

From that episode arose the complications. I was bleeding and they had to open me up again. My blood pressure dropped and I was intubated and breathed through a respirator and woke up in ICU. I was unaware of my surroundings, a trachea tube on my mouth making me gag, arms restrained, and dead scared. Doctors and nurses would come in the room, check on monitors and tubes sticking out of me, most of them quiet and not acknowledging my presence. All I heard were different beeps and alarms emanating from the machines. At lease that was how I felt. 

Then came the dreams and hallucinations. That was the most difficult part. And there were a lot. Sometimes I am aware of the 3 walls surrounding me; sometimes the room turns into a garage or an auditorium. I have created stories and scenarios that I believed i during that time… out of these world conspiracy theories. I had so many companions in that room. And I was scared and my heart would race.

I counted the seconds there. Sometimes I wake up thankful that I have slept dreamless. But only to look at the clock and find out only 10 minutes has past. 

Then I began to focus on the white board on the front wall. Whenever I drifted off some place, I try to focus back in to that board. And I think that helped. Since I could not speak, I asked a nurse for pen and paper. I wrote: Stop anaesthesia. I do not want to dream. The nurse said that she will relay it to the doctors. A bell was placed in my hand so I could ring the nurse if I needed something. 

At first I felt that I was just left there and not cared for. But later, when the staff became more communicative, I started to calm down. But I hated the tube up my throat.    

I was asked by a nurse If I wanted to see family, I said no. I felt that they too have abandoned me. It was only after the 2nd day in ICU(I think) that I agreed.

As the doctors would visit and talk to me, I started to understand what happened and why I was there. Why they had to intubate me. I have requested them to take out the tube. Then they weaned me out of it as soon as it was clear I was breathing on my own during the last day.

I spent 5 gruelling days in ICU. One realization… healing takes time.