The ICU

During my 371 day stay in Temple Hospital due to complications with Crohn’s, I spent a lot of time in the intensive care unit, other wise known as the ICU.  The ICU is very different then the regular floor of the hospital.  It differs by level of care, room size, and reason for being there.

My first surgery, which removed my entire colon, was done on December 17th, 2007.

When I was done with my fourteen-hour journey, I was placed in the ICU for the first two days.  The ICU has fewer patients than the regular floor.  While on the general hospital floor, there might be five to six patients to one nurse, in the ICU there is one nurse for every two patients.  So what does that mean?  That means that you get more attention from your nurse.  Your wait time for a nurse is very short.  The reason why I was in the ICU for a few days is because they had to get my pain under control.  Since I needed pain medication every four hours, I never went more than a few minutes in between waiting.  I also was able to have my own room, which really worked well when they first tried to get me out of bed.  I remember needing like three to four nurses to help me get out of bed.  I was in that much pain!

When I became septic and placed on the ventilator, the ICU was the place I needed to be.

The ICU team placed me on life support for twenty days.  During that time, I had developed pneumonia and was fighting MRSA and staph infection.  The ICU nurses would wash me every day while I was in the the bed.  They literally would wash me in the sheets, and change the sheets so mine would be dry.  I remember when I was awake in the ICU, the nurses were taking my NG tube and turning it while it was inside my nose.  When I asked them why they were doing that, they told me because it was sitting on the side of my stomach, which meant it was not sucking up the gastric juices.  That was very painful.  It was the people in Temple’s ICU who helped me through that and other horrible procedures I had to endure.

When I had my large wound, the fistula that was open for about six months, I needed constant care.

I needed my wound to be cleaned and drained many times a day.  The amount of bile that was pouring out of my wound was unbelievable.  I needed a nurse in the room with me all the time.  A few times, the ICU team would assign one nurse that would sit in my room.  He or she would only be in charge of me.  This would be called a “one to one.”

I really have to thank the ICU team for helping me when I was at my worst.  I also have to thank the nurses on the regular floor as they worked very hard too.  They’ve seen me go from the worst with Crohn’s all the way up to remission.

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