FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- A Franklin woman is sharing her story about dealing with hallucinations while in the hospital battling COVID-19.
From feeling like she was on fire, to feeling frozen like an ice sculpture, and seeing things that weren’t there, Kim Victory said her battle in the hospital was a wild one.
Victory said she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. She spent three and a half weeks there.
She said she’s still recovering from the illness. In her delirium, she called her husband up to 20 times trying to get home.
“I kept calling my husband like, ‘I’m not sick. Why am I here? I’m bored,’” Victory said.
Dr. Pratik Pandharipande, Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said up to 70% of patients on ventilators have hallucinations. To try and stop this with other critically ill patients, they try to surround the person with familiar faces. You can’t do that with COVID-19 patients.
“Hospitals have limited visitation policies,” Pandharipande said. “You cannot have your loved one with you while you are dealing with all these complex problems.”
He added that even when people leave the hospital, the fight with COVID-19 isn’t over. He said 40% of people who are critically ill with lung dysfunction never get back to their “prior level of employment.”
“Not being able to balance your checkbook correctly; they might have memory problems; he may not be able to think clearly,” Pandharipande said.
Victory said she’s been having problems focusing and staying awake. She said she also had to relearn to walk since she lost so much muscle mass while being on the ventilator.
Her husband, Wess Victory, said other issues pervade COVID-19 patients after they leave the hospital.
“There’s depression, sleeplessnesshigh blood pressure, blood clots all kinds of stuff,” Wess Victory said. “It’s not over when you leave the hospital. It keeps going.”
Pandharipande said PTSD is another problem for patients, partly because many have to be restrained to keep from pulling the ventilator tube out of their throat. He said 7% of critical illness patients walk away with PTSD. He said veterans coming back from active combat see about 10%.