Saturday, June 27, 2020

When I was in an ICU

The following account of what a stay in intensive care does to you did explain a lot to me.  I was twice in intensive care in the last couple of years after my two operation on my neck to remove cancers

I was in there for little more than a day on both occasions so the  effects of ICU should have been minimal for me but I certainly felt them when I came out of the anaesthetic. I was in a fog.

I have always felt and said that those operations -- particularly the first one -- were a watershed for me.  I was never the same again.  I am much less energetic and vigorous and my once unshatterable self-confidence is now much more shaky.  I feel that I am only the remnant of what I was.  Much of my psychological  strength is gone and I am certainly physically feeble.

At age 76, most of the effects I am talking about could be attributed to simple old age and there is certainly an element of that at work.  But as soon as I got home I was aware that I was enfeebled and noted later that there was not the expected  rapid bounceback to where I previously was.

I still seem to be OK mentally, however. I still find it easy to see the holes in most of the published scientific research that I encounter

I am an ICU doctor, but I have also been an ICU patient following an admission with sepsis. My recovery was longer, and in some ways scarier, than sepsis was. The weakness patients experience after intensive care is profound, and it takes days to be able to stand, then to walk upstairs and then to walk to the shops. But the muscles recover quicker than the brain, and it is in the brain where the longer lasting effects of PICS preside.

The cognitive symptoms are the easiest to recognise. In the weeks after I was discharged from ICU, my thinking was foggy, I could not sustain any attention while reading or watching TV, and tasks such as recollection and simple decision-making were inexplicably tiring. Although the worst of it resolves relatively quickly, it took me several weeks to feel able to solve the sort of problems necessary for me to look after patients again.

But the psychological impact is far more pernicious than just the cognitive effects. Depression and anxiety are common in post-ICU patients. But even without these overt labels, the alterations to one’s perspective can be profound. Optimism decays to pessimism, willpower and aspiration are drained away. Despite being a doctor fully aware of PICS, it was months before I could even recognise this psychological aspect in myself, and it took longer still to overcome it.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

The sofa has arrived

And it fits perfectly into my cosy revived living room.  Anne was over for breakfast at our old Buranda haunt and we had just got back from that when the sofa arrived in a big truck.  One of the truckies carried it upstairs single-handed as it is of a light construction.

My audiovisual facilities were all ready to go so I put on a DVD of "Im weißen Rössl" (White Horse Inn).  It was in German but the English subtitles were very clear. Anne stayed for the full show so did not leave until 12:30.

An excerpt

Friday, June 19, 2020

A new routine

My life has once again settled into a routine -- which I like.  I go to Jenny's place for dinner 4 nights a week, to Joe's for 2 nights week and Anne comes to my place for dinner one night a week

Jenny is as always a talented cook so I get very good dinners from her.

Yesterday Anne and I tried out a new place for dinner in Kangaroo Point that had been recommended to me.  It was a bit of a surprise.  It was just a cafe but had a liquor licence so we were not allowed to drink the champagne I had brought along.  We had three things off the menu and they were all very good, rather surprisingly. We were the only diners there.  The ambiance was non-existent but the cook certainly knew what he was doing

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A new sofa

Jenny and I went to A-mart to buy a sofa for my revived living room. I wanted a two-seater to fit into the space I had.  Two seaters are rather rare but most three-seaters usually seem to have no more than two people on them so I saw no problem with a cosier arrangement.

We found one in a style rather like the "Swedish" fashion of the 70s and I quite liked it.  It was covered in in grey fabric. So I bought it. Most other 2 seat sofas were around $1,000 but mine was marked down to under $500. A 70's style was obviously not popular

Monday, June 15, 2020

Wired up

Ralph the electrician came over to set up a power point and a TV aerial outlet for the new TV.  He also set up the TV and the computer connection so he was here for a few hours. It all now works well

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A new TV

With Joe's help I bought a new 40" TV from JB HiFi at Oxley.  I don't watch TV but I wanted it as part of my new living room setup.  Up until that point, my living room was in use as a computer museum.  I transferred that down into the garage. I intended the new TV to be used to play DVDs and to watch music videos on YouTube.  I had an old computer that I hooked up to put YouTube onto the TV

Saturday, June 6, 2020

A busy day

The day started out well with Anne joining me for breakfast at our favourite haunt for the first time in many weeks.  The place has just been allowed to re-open.

Then for lunch I met a lady from Chapel Hill (posh) who is a mad-keen bridge player.  We lunched at a very good Turkish restaurant in Brunswick st., Valley.

The conversation between us flowed very easily so I had some hopes of her but she decided we did not have enough in common.  A pity as I quite liked her

Then that afternon I had an excision on my forehead which seemed to go well. Excisions on my face really bug me.

Then that evening Jenny gave me a good dinner