Re: H1N1 Adult survivor of ECMO
Hi Folks, I contracted swine flu in Sept 09, when I was 26. I was in a coma for 10 weeks and in hospital for nearly six months. I left hospital with numerous health problems and my lungs were ravaged (doctors words). My left lung was infected and I had to have a chest drain fitted, complication lead to me having to have my left lung removed in Oct 2010. Up until this point I had been making slow progress but had come on quite a bit, but this just set me right back to the start. My recovery both physically and mentally has been slow. I've seen the biggest improvements in the last 6 months, so that would be about two and a half years after contracting swine flu. I managed to move back to my flat December 2011 and although I need assistance I'm getting on well. From my experience your body just needs time. I was always one step forward 2 steps back. Always catching bugs and colds, panicking anytime I needed to go somewhere. I had to do a lot of self talk and mantras and always thinking positive, also giving up gluten seemed to improve my health. I'm still really breathless, I've tried to start increasing my walking but I'm finding I seem to get more breathless the more I do. I still haven't regained all my muscle mass as you'll know it's almost impossible to exercise when you feel constantly ill or down and your breathless. I'm determined to get back to my old self or as close as I possibly can and haven't really entertained the idea that this is the way I'm going to be forever. I think I probably need another year recovery, hopefully less.
The more you do the better you will get but I found burning myself out was never a good idea. I seemed to have very low reserves, the swine flu seemed to have zapped everything. It was my habit of pushing myself to hard on days I felt well. Which is hard not to do as you spend so much time feeling unwell. I started limiting myself to how many times I went out or got visitors in order to give my body a chance to recover. I was on a lot of medication and painkillers including morphine and found these contributed a lot to how ill I was feeling. I gradually cut them all down and out and now just take occasional painkillers and antibiotics for chest infections when required.
I hope this helps, there were times I felt so hopeless and thought things would never get better. Now I'm amazed at how far I have come. I just have to keep reminding myself of this when I get frustrated with my current health and mobility.
Take care xxxxx