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911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
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Experience:  Emergency Medicine Physician
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Three months ago I unexpectedly ended up in the ICU. I had

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Three months ago I unexpectedly ended up in the ICU. I had been on vacation and thought I had the flu. So we drove home and by the time I made it to the ER I was in sepsis and also had turned yellow. I had pyogenic liver. After the ICU stay where I had drains inserted and was given IV antibiotics I spent many days on a telemetry unit until they thought I was recovered enough to be discharged. Then I had home health nurse visits and IV antibiotics for a long time. Last week I was told my blood work was now normal and I don't need anymore follow up visits unless I feel I need them.
Two things are happening to me now and I was wondering if they are normal. For one, my hair seems to be falling out. I heard that this can happen after sepsis/liver disease and that it will eventually grow back in. Is this true? Also I find myself very timid about traveling. My family wants to fly to Hawaii and also take an Alaska cruise and all I can think of is the high recurrance rate for this problem. I did make an appointment for a follow up with my doctor to discuss my travel concerns.
Anyway, so I am physically well but suffering from hair loss and worry about if this will recur. I also have anxiety when thinking about my hospitalization as my memory of this time is so fuzzy. The twelve days seem to only be two. What happened during that time? I did have three procedures where I was given anasthesia so maybe that is where the memory loss comes in. I am also embarrassed as my husband said I was arguing with
the staff that I didn't want treatment and I am not normally like that nor do I remember.
Can you give me any insight into post-icu feelings? Thanks. Oh and since I came so close to death I feel like my whole perspective on life has changed too as all I want to do is spend time with my grandchildren and have no patience for shallow pursuits.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  911DOC replied 1 year ago.

911DOC :

I do not see you online...

911DOC :

some thoughts...

911DOC :

first of all

911DOC :

I am not sure what your exact diagnosis was...

911DOC :

it appears you had a bacterial infection that caused jaundice and liver failure and sepsis

911DOC :

perhaps you had a liver abscess if you had surgical drains inserted

911DOC :

or perhaps this was a gall bladder problem

911DOC :

it's not clear from your question

911DOC :

but your loss of memory for your time in the ICU

911DOC :

is very common

911DOC :

and to be expected

911DOC :

as is the anxiety you feel about travel

911DOC :

having a near-death experience changes people

911DOC :

and it would help me to know exactly what your discharge diagnosis from the hospital was

911DOC :

do you have your discharge paperwork?

911DOC :

standing by

911DOC :

you may respond by placing your cursor in the box below, typing, and clicking 'reply'

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

Hello, It was pyogenic liver

911DOC :

that doesn't make sense to me

911DOC :

pyogenic means 'generating pus'

911DOC :

so I understand that

911DOC :

but why did they put drains in? did they put them into your liver or into the gall-bladder inside the liver?

911DOC :

I think you may mean 'pyogenic liver abscess'.... is this possible?

911DOC :

I see you went offline

911DOC :

I am happy to discuss this with you when you come back online

911DOC :

simply continue the discussion and I will return if I am still available

911DOC :

I think the exact nature of your illness is not nearly as important as the fact that you were in the ICU, had severe sepsis, and that the focus of infection was your liver.

911DOC :

Now your blood cultures are normal and your home care has been discontinued

911DOC :

that's great

911DOC :

long hospitalizations and severe illness can cause hair loss

911DOC :

and there is every reason to expect that as you recover you will get your hair back

911DOC :

I am not sure what you are referring to when you say 'high recurrence rate for this problem'

911DOC :

the fact is that if you did have a pyogenic liver abscess that you would need to be exposed to the causative bacteria or amoeba again to have this problem again

911DOC :

again, it would be easiest for me to answer if we had the exact terminology on your discharge sheet

911DOC :

I think your physician, being in posession of your hospital records and knowing the precise nature of your illness will likely to be able to reassure you that you are not at risk of recurrence simply by travelling.

911DOC :

your memory loss is a common occurence for those who spend weeks in the hospital under sedation and with anesthesia.

911DOC :

the fact is that you were likely in a state of delerium at the peak of your illness

911DOC :

and this would explain, as well, in addition to any sedating medicines given to you, why you were acting out of character with the nursing staff.

911DOC :

as an ER doctor I see this all the time with acutely ill people who act completely out of character, often getting angry and shouting, and then as they get well they have no memory of this.

911DOC :

I would not trouble yourself further about this indicent.

911DOC :

the medical term for your acting out of character is 'altered mental status' and it was due to your sepsis.

911DOC :



I do not see you in the chat so will change this to a Q and A format.


If your question has been adequately answered please consider leaving positive feedback. If you have further questions simply type them in the box below and click reply. Have a great evening, and, should you need my assistance in the future please begin your question with 'for 911doc'.


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911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5094
Experience: Emergency Medicine Physician
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