He is breathing better and the doctors say his lungs will recover, but he can't remember his appointments or where he put his keys.
It has been months since the surgery and the scars are fading, yet she still wakes almost nightly to the sound of phantom alarms.
Those are the sorts of stories I heard one morning at a support group for patients who had survived a critical illness and their family members. It seems simple — a few doctors, a social worker, a psychiatrist, former patients and their husbands and wives, a conference room, pastries, coffee. In a way it was. But this was the first time that many of these men and women had been asked to talk about their struggles after critical illness with those who'd shared similar experiences.
And it was among the first times that I — then a doctor in my final year of critical care training — had heard directly from them about their lives after the I.C.U.