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The Days of the Ventilator

When I entered the hospital in December of 2007 to have a total colectomy, I had no idea that I would be there for over a year. I don’t know if I broke any hospital records, and I really don’t care. I know that I became a stronger person mentally and physically. Even though I was placed in a medically induced coma, I remember vividly what was going on while I was under.

Placed on a ventilator

I remember a few nights before they put me on the ventilator, I had a lot of trouble breathing. I know they already placed a rectal tube into me, so I didn’t have to go to the bathroom on my own. I know they had me on oxygen, and it hurt every time I took a breath in.

I think from there, they placed me on the ventilator. Apparently, I was taken to the intensive care unit of the hospital so I could be watched and monitored more closely. The doctors had me on an Ativan and morphine dip so I was comfortable. Apparently, I had pneumonia. I was placed in a bed that shook. The reason that it shook was that it was designed to break up fluid that was stuck in my lungs.

Since I was highly medicated, I was very out of it. I, however, could still feel hot and cold. For example, the nurses would wash me. I could feel them washing me with warm water, and changing the sheets. I had the strangest dreams while on the vent.

Dreams while on the ventilator

Apparently, I opened my eyes a lot and gazed around. I don’t remember that. I do know that there were a lot of tubes going into different parts of my body. In my dreams, I thought I was at McDonald’s and the tubes were part of the milkshake machine. How strange, since at that point I didn’t touch fast food for about three years. I also thought I was in a boat, and I used my hands to steer. I was told later that one night I was found on the floor of the room, trying to crawl.  I had ripped all the tubes out of my body. From that point forward, I was restrained to my bed.

Another dream that I had was that my friends were all killed in a bad car accident. I remember in my dream that they were hit by a blue pick up truck. I know I went to all their funerals. It was weird because the scene played in my head over and over. I also thought that my dad had met another woman, and that woman was one of my nurses. I know that would be and never was true. Finally, I remember that every time they washed me, I thought I was in a Cadillac on Frankford Ave in Northeast Philadelphia. To me, time past so quickly. I thought I was in this weird state for a few minutes. In reality, it was twenty days. It was a very long twenty days.

Part 2 can be found here.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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