You are here:

ICU/Critical Care/during and after effects of induced coma


EvilDaystar wrote at 2010-01-20 02:46:55
Just came out of a medically induced coma myself.

I was dreaming that I was in a hospital, unable to move from my bed. My wife was there and was telling me she loved me, a nurse was asking me inane questions “what’s your name, what year is it … blah blah …” and another nurse was taking my temperature.

The dream kept looping and I knew it was a dream (lucid dreaming) but when I woke up, I REALLY was in the hospital! Of course I was drugged up to the gills on Propofol (look it up in Wikipedia) so I wasn’t thinking clearly … my wife was there telling me she loved me and a male nurse started asking me retarded questions … so I told him to Foff … thinking it was still a dream.

So who knows, maybe you did hear/feel what was going on. Apparently my subconscious picked up enough to make me dream of what was going on around me.

So anyways, I had been in an induced coma for 8 days (missed New Years 2010)

Apparently, I had been at my sister in laws and had started an Asthma attack. My inhaler wasn’t doing anything for me so we went to the local hospital.

They weren’t able to get it under control (small country hospital) and I eventually went into respiratory distress so they knocked me out, put me on a respirator and airlifted me to a larger hospital and into the ICU I went.

They had me on Propofol to keep me under.

Protofol is a pretty weird drug, I saw things and heard things that made no sense and it causes (amongst other things) a bit of amnesia.

When I woke up I couldn’t remember even celebrating xmas. I’ve regained most of my memories (still missing about 10 hours, so pretty much my whole time at the first hospital, before they airlifted me) but some things are still a little fuzzy.

Find out what they had you on if it was propofol, check out Wikipedia.

metalshredder57 wrote at 2011-02-03 16:43:31
I was put into a coma as well. Diverticulitus to septic, to coma. I remember every bit of it. And Ill tell ya, there was no shinning light at the end. Fear of being killed by the people chasing me in my halucinations.

I suffer the same memory loss as you.

One thing is I am much calmer. I dont get mad or upset anymore. Havent in 10 years. Plus I was comatose when my 44th birthday went by, so I dont count it anymore.

elsavaj wrote at 2011-03-07 07:43:45
I was in a coma , although slightly less time had the same "effects" nightmare "ish" halluciantions  that still stick with me. No answrs but a long hard fight to get a grip!

dangerZone wrote at 2011-10-18 05:25:00
A year ago, I was in a medically-induced coma for nearly 3 weeks, due to respiratory failure following heart surgery. Propofol was the drug used. Once out of the coma, I had difficulty deciding what was real, ie.. all the dreams I had had, or the ICU hospital bed I was in. I had many dreams, all of which inevitably I became unable to move or rise. A year later, I can still remember many of the details. I also "lost time", I don't know how much, but I was told that after the surgery I was sitting up and awake. I remembered none of it, including the re-intubation and being put on ventilator later than night due to respiratory failure.

None of the dreams were threatening or fearful, although I had a lot of anxiety about some loved ones close to me. I later realized it was probably my subconscious fears of how they would react if I were incapacitated, which I was in both reality and would become in nearly all my dreams.

I had no awareness of sounds, no pain, or bodily sensation of things being done to me as reported by my wife, and by the medical records (e.g. x-rays, bronchoscopies, etc). I also never had any awareness of time passing.  In fact, when I awoke I had no clue where I was or why, or how I got there.  My first thoughts were 'had I been in a car wreck on the way home from surgery'.

While I could remember my dreams in vivid detail, I could not remember in what order they had occurred, or how long they lasted. No tunnels, bright-lights or any of the NDE stuff. But even a year later, I have a pervasive sense of being "disconnected" from my pre-surgery self. I also found that I did not consciously remember a lot of things from "before", until reminded either in conversation, looking at pictures etc. Then I had the "a-hah, I remember that now" reaction.

They brought me out of the coma, I guess because they decided my vitals were improved. I was very weak though, and spent the following month in a rehab hospital learning how to walk again.  

jakester wrote at 2012-12-15 04:01:40
December 22nd, 2008 I was experiencing an aortic aneurysm.  My local hospital 'life-flighted' me by plane to Stanford Medical Center. On Dec. 24 I had heart surgery.  It was a complicated procedure which lasted several hours. When I was withdrawn from sedation, I seized and was placed in a medically induced coma, from which I did not awaken until January 18, 2009.  During the coma I had a series of vivid and horrific nightmares.  It seems as if I had a nightmare for each day I was under.  I had some awareness, at times, of persons and events around me but all were shrouded in the hallucination I was living in.  When I was revived, I had recollections of events that did, and that did not occur.  The entire length of the coma, as I experienced it, was filled with terror and confusion.  Not peaceful sleep and recovery.  Even though I was now in a 'conscious' state, I had bizarre interpretations of time and space. Although it was January, I thought it was summer. A visit by my aunts, which did occur, included my hallucination that they had been to visit Sharon Osbourne who commiserated with them about a loved on in medical trouble.  In fact, they did speak with me and give me a card from a mutual friend whose name is Sharon.  The first several days out of coma were dreamlike.  When I returned home I was on many medications, some of which aggravated my state of mind.  I was highly emotional, unable to cope with group interactions and couldn't remember things I had said or heard.  This went on for months.  One by one, I was taken off the medications which were making me pretty much crazy.  The anniversary of this event is coming up.  4 years.  And my brain is not the brain I had before, but it is far better and improving all the time.  The difficult part is having family and friends who do not understand my sometimes bizarre and over-emotional reactions.  I have had bursts of anger and confusion that seems to be similar to alzheimer symptoms.  As I say, I am physically and mentally improving.  I gently exercise 3 times a week.  I can conduct business on the phone without crying in frustration.  I don't know if anyone was consulted about putting me into that coma.  I am single and live alone.  But, given the choice in the future, I would be highly reluctant to approve it for myself or a loved one although I might have to do so.  This has been my experience and it is still going on, although greatly improved.  P.S.  I was 55 yrs old at the time and 59 now.

lschrzan wrote at 2013-02-23 05:48:18
i was being held aganest my will, in my mind i was fine, my mind -body- & sole was never better! i was being captive on a housebout by the nurse that was taking care of me, i could see her face hear her voice, & keep telling me to stop fighting, i wasent going anywhere! i heard my husband & dad & kept fighting & yelling for them to hear me! tears running down my fase, crying so hard , yelling & yelling come get me/ no one hurd me, no one!in my mind i was fine!

Nurse E. wrote at 2013-12-28 08:08:38
I am an ICU nurse, and its interesting to hear recovered patients' points of views, since we rarely see them after they begin the true path to health. I'm wondering, if the nurses are verbally supportive, does that help? Or did it not even register?

Propofol is a very potent drug. Its stored in fat cells, so it can take a while to be metabolized out of the system. We call it "mother's milk" or "milk of Michael [jackson]". I sometimes wonder if people would be more comfortable, not being sedated, but having their pain controlled. It seems from your descriptions that this would be preferable.

Emily wrote at 2014-02-06 00:55:59
Hi all, this is all very interesting. My dad is currently in a medically induced coma following a cardiac arrest earlier this week. I feel like a complete prat whispering to him in icu but it sounds like it could be worth it. They've tried to take him out of the coma three times but no response yet. I'm hoping this is normal and he's having a nice dream. I've been describing holidays we've been on and his two granddaughters. I will be incredibly grateful if he is able to come back to us to some extent.

megan wrote at 2015-01-19 20:59:55
i spent 4 days under with propofol. i had recently caught a cold, which essentially turned into pneumonia during an asthma attack, which degenerated into severe sepsis. i had a lot of vivid hallucinations (eg a talking, married, strawberry), had a strange and warped sense of time (i experienced new year's celebrations 4 different times, so thought 4 years had passed), but the terrifying ones had no basis in my 5 senses- they were the products of not knowing where i was, why i was there, not being able to believe the nurses when they said i was in the hospital and people came to visit (but couldn't describe what these people were like), not understanding the machines, and the massive amounts of lost time between "3-4 hours before calling 911" and "4 days later". trying to fill in the blanks on my own left me to believe i was part of an alien experiment in conjunction with an evil machine named after a serial murderer. i know that i had very brief moments of consciousness during those four days, because i remember absolutely needing to escape, but i had been restrained, and it took all my strength and willpower to try to remove the heart monitor on my finger. it took having to sit down and talk with my friends, my roommates, my doctor, and some of the ER team, once i started thinking clearly, for me to figure out what happened.

it's been about two weeks now since getting out of the hospital, and i'm not waking up disoriented and scared, or randomly crying anymore, as my normal mental processes are returning and i've come to accept everything that happened. i am currently having to re-overcome abandonment issues i thought i had long put to rest (the reality is, is i had a world of support when i was in the hospital... i have a lingering fear of that support suddenly falling out *now*). i've managed to put most of the memories back together, but i'm still finding bits and pieces of memories here and there.

Kimi wrote at 2015-07-30 05:07:46
I am comforted to know that the things I experienced and continue to experience is not as messed up as I thought.

I had an accident that broke 5 ribs and punctured my lungs pretty severely; I was placed in a medically induced coma; I was just hurting myself more trying to pull out tubes in the er.  All my organs started to shut down and it just kept getting worse.  I was on a Ventilator and it got to the point that the doctors recommended termination of life support and that I would not have a quality life.  Basically, told my parents that I would not recover from my vegetative state.

Thank God my parents (I was 43) REFUSED to consider that to be an option and basically kept on the doctors 24/7.  I woke up 7 weeks later.

Like many of you, I had gaps in memory and only horrific memories of my coma dreams.  Nightmares that felt so real, it took a long time to put things in perspective.  I was scared to death to fall asleep, I had awful hallucinations that the nurses and staff were trying to kill/hurt me.  I spent about 10 weeks in ICU and another 10 months in a skilled nursing facility getting weaned off the ventilator and learning everything over again.

I still have not completely recovered, however I am thankful each day to be here.

I still have problems remembering words, memory loss and the ligaments and muscles in my legs are not as they should be, even after the surgery I had a couple weeks after being released.  Needless to say, I refused to go under anesthesia for the surgery.

I hope this might help someone to understand that these things are normal, you are not going crazy...and that IT GETS BETTER!

Thank you all for making me feel a little less like a freak :)

Edward wrote at 2015-08-02 20:45:02
As a former ICU patient myself I can concur with the questioner's position. I was put into an induced coma, ventilated and stayed in my coma for a month. I had Acute Respiratory Failure and had the same hallucinations in my coma and on waking for days. I also remember my tracheotomy being inserted (felt a tickling sensation) and was also told this isn't possible as well. Three years on I also have memory problems and a general mental fog. More studies are needed by ICU professionals and Neurologists as these symptoms are commonly reported by former ICU patients.

Edward wrote at 2015-08-02 20:45:17
As a former ICU patient myself I can concur with the questioner's position. I was put into an induced coma, ventilated and stayed in my coma for a month. I had Acute Respiratory Failure and had the same hallucinations in my coma and on waking for days. I also remember my tracheotomy being inserted (felt a tickling sensation) and was also told this isn't possible as well. Three years on I also have memory problems and a general mental fog. More studies are needed by ICU professionals and Neurologists as these symptoms are commonly reported by former ICU patients.

Kimi wrote at 2015-09-11 10:19:37
I agree, if it was up to our doctors, some of us would not be here now.  Every time I have a bad pain day, or my brain goes to mush; I have to remember how lucky many of us are, regardless of if it is a good or bad day...hey, we're here.

While brain/body functions clearly remain a mystery to physicians, I should think that they would study cases of patients that were written off for dead, but recovered despite the odds.  I don't think that (for insurance and/or professional reasons)they are willing to release records of surviving coma patients.  It's not only profoundly sad, but professionally unconscionable.  

Big E wrote at 2016-02-23 21:41:54
Induced coma for 16 days entubated with four chest tubes following a chest crush accident. I hallucinated the whole time, still dont know what was real and what was not it was all so vivid. Even the crazy stuff is real in my memories, sometimes I'll have a memory pop up and at some point I realize it was not real. I promise I've never been involved with a wiccan in an elizabethan dutch windmill... etc.. though it is as real in my memories as eating tacos yesterday. I had ICU psychosis for a few days but eventually got right enough to go home (they gave me Haldol?). I hallucinated heavy after going home from the hospital, especially at night. I would dream that I was waking up on top of piles of rock, or pipes, very real. I would wake up and be hallucinating that I was in the vibrating massage bed used to prevent bloodclots, I would lay there for probably thirty minutes feeling with every fiber in me like I was on that warm moving bed. That was in 2004. It is now 2016 and I still wake up feeling the massage bed, and this very morning I woke up to the repeating sound of "psht.... psht... psht..." hallucinating hearing the sound of the ventilator. That's how I stumbled on this site, wondering how long the hallucinations will hand around. Lord help us all!  He gets me by, ought to have died in 2004 but still chugging along... half crazy though :-)

alaska girl wrote at 2017-02-13 21:20:32
I was in a medically induced coma,on Propofol for 19 days in 2009.  I had sepsis, but no one knew why.  The nightmares brought on by the propofol were incredibly real, and for me, they were repeated over, and over, and over.  I came to the "surface" a few times, and I could hear some of the things going on around me.  I thought I was a part of an alien experiment.  I also thought my head was made of foam.

When I became strong enough to move out of ICU, something went wrong, and I was taken back to ICU and back on the ventilator.  I did not have any problem distinguishing nightmares from reality after waking both times.

It has been 7 years this month.  I've finally realized that my brain will never fully recover.  I have lost the ability to work with numbers, almost completely! Lots of nerve damage as well.  My life will never be what it was, and that I have finally accepted.  I feel like I wake up with a different brain everyday.

It is emotionally hard when people don't understand.  I really can't expect them to.  Friends were helpful until they realized that I wasn't myself, then, one by one, they walked out of my life.  I have God,my family, and my dog.  That is all I need to be happy.  I know how lucky I am to simply be alive!!  I use to be a successful horseman, now my show friends have nicknamed me "the crazy lady". I don't have the balance, or ability to compete any longer.  I just stay away, and stick to my family and my dog.

Ruby wrote at 2017-03-13 22:45:56
I was in coma for 12 days had night mares. Thought some one kid napped I have confusion get irritated and tired more than I used to be.lots of different problems. And I'm only 53....  

ICU/Critical Care

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I can translate the jargon and answer the complex emotional and medical questions related to an ICU stay. I am a constant student of the changing face of Medicine, and hopefully I can help you come to a better understanding about what you can expect during your stressful time. I find that once the language is explained a little clearer, the puzzle comes more into focus. Usually, just to know that you are not alone may help. I am familar with all facets of critical care except transplant and neonatal care. Questions about Sepsis, ventilation, gall bladders, hemodialysis, complicated cancer surgery and alcohol withdrawal, suicide/overdose attempts are welcome. Students are welcome


12 years as an ICU nurse and 2 yrs on Neurosurgery. Mentor, teacher, been there in your shoes myself.

BSN from Clemson, 15yrs grunt medic in the ARMY.

©2017 All rights reserved.