We all know some things in healthcare can be traumatic such a surgery. However to articles in the New York Times suggests healthcare is more traumatic than we expect.” Nightmares I.C.U.
“and the related letter “Diaries Aid Mental Recovery” suggests as much more common than I would’ve been expected. Have you experienced nightmares after healthcare?
In my years as a physician I was often called upon to manage delirious patients. Sometimes I could calm them down the path that of I by just talking to them. Often I had to physically restrain them, until medications could do the job. I thought little of how the patient might remember this. I probably should have known better.
As an infant I came to hate shots. Then age 3 a bout of whooping cough landed me in the ICU. The pain from a shot of penicillin got me to take a deep breath. I coughed out the mucus and breathe better. after I returned home I experienced night terrors for a wild. I can still recall some of the content of those nightmares. I still do not like getting poked with needles, but decided to not let it bother me when I started drawing blood and starting IV’s.
The New York Times articles suggest that some of the things we do are not as helpful as we think. As a geriatrician I tried to look for the cause of delirium as soon as possible. After the anesthesia from surgery we usually figure it’s the residual sedation from the anesthesia. Thus we would strive to avoid additional sedatives. In an ICU setting especially with the respirator the treatment can cause major panic. Patients have told me it’s next to impossible to breathe with the machine. As we try to get the patient off the respirator we set the machine to breathe with the patient. When this doesn’t work we use a variety of drugs some of which are supposed to cause amnesia.
These drugs do not cause a perfect amnesia. Often their use for such common procedures as colonoscopies. Many patients have told me they remember the whole thing. At least they don’t recall any pain. So I guess they’re effective when used this way.
Does healthcare cause other traumas?
When I was confronted with a new illness that might be cancer, I was never quite sure what to tell the patient. Even when I would’ve bet the lump was cancer, I hesitated to say so. This situation has been discussed much among physicians.
The idea of posttraumatic stress occurring from healthcare offers much room for study and improvement. This study can also be expanded to veterinary medicine. My cat in the associated photo was Seeking refuge on top of the kitchen cabinet. I was about to take her to the veterinarian. She had serious dental problems and would not eat or drink. She is about to get her teeth extracted. I have found she will eat cooked chicken and drink chicken broth.
Healing from Healthcare Trauma
Most people get over the trauma of healthcare fairly quickly, but not all. There are several things you can do if you are wondering about what might be after effects of healthcare. First, talk to your provider. He or she can review the official report and explain what happened. This will allow you to compare your recollections with that history.
If your family of someone set up a Caring Bridge site for you there will be another record of your stay in the hospital. This can be helpful to family and friends as well.
If these leave you needing more a coach or councilor can help. Because they are attuned to your feelings and not the system that caused the trauma they may be better. SAs always You can consult me about your options thru my website.
As All Ways, Seek Joy,
coach Dr. Dave,
author of the forthcoming book, “recipes for lemonade (thriving through disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”