>Off the Beaten Path>Elderly mom...major confusion after ICU
Same here with father-in-law. After a major operation he was telling us about the "wild parties" the staff were having in the middle of the night. He was convinced of this. Everything soon turned back to normal though, the operation was a success and the "parties" were never mentioned again.
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A Saucy Wench
I think sometimes the combination of post surgical inflammation, pain, and the lack of peace in a hospital just overwhelms the brain. Hospitals are just impossible places to rest. Either they give you sleep meds to deal with the constant noise (which cause hallucinations in a significant number of people) or they dont and you get disjointed light sleep where your dreams and reality blend a liiiiitle too much.
I cant remember the specifics but when i was in the hospital I remember having one of my dreams mixing with the hospital noises and really believing that it had happened, except my rational brain was ABLE to say...no that isnt possible. But I still remembered it as real, and I'm not sure I was really convinced except what I dreamed was impossible. If i had dreamt something possible, like a conversation or moving to a different hospital or a party, I might still believe it.
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"When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7
I HATE hospitals. When I had my DS by c-section I had no choice but to stay 4 nights...I was pretty nutso by the end of that stay. I'm not sure I got more than a couple hours of sleep/day the entire time I was there. I am a SUPER light sleeper and the noise and lights and constant checks at all hours (one nurse actually woke me from a sound sleep to make sure I was breathing...fuck, stick a mirror under my nose if you aren't sure, bitch. I needed that sleep after undergoing major surgery and dealing with a newborn) and visits from family and friends really did a number on me. I actually don't even remember much of those days--probably due to some coping mechanisms. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it brought on PTSD, but I probably wasn't too far from it (the events leading up to the CS, itself, and some of the treatment from a couple of nurses and my OB-gyn were less than ideal, for starters).
Years after my CS I underwent elective outpatient surgery. I had the option to spend a single night in an outpatient ward. I opted to ride an hour home that evening and sleep in my own bed with my DH acting as nurse. And I really liked the nurses who were in that outpatient ward, but it was still brightly lit and full of commotion and other patients and their family in-and-out. Hospitals can be really traumatic for a lot of folks. It doesn't surprise me at all that the mix of physical trauma, pain meds, noise, and sleep interruptions would give people odd hallucinations.
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Breaking all Illusions
I agree with Spaniel. Best to have a conversation with the nurses or her attending physician rule out true issues and not brush it aside as "ah, she will snap out of it."
Hospitals are tough on older folks. Since she was in the ICU for 4 days; she hasn't slept well in at least 4 days. If any. There is really no way for an ICU to be quiet. Patients have to be monitored constantly and some are not stable. Constant lights and noises and the strange surroundings can play a big role in confusion in elderly. Maybe reaction to the medications and just in general the change from the familiar surroundings at home to the hospital environment make a big difference. Hope she gets better and is back to her old sharp self real soon!
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