Holly Update


Just got an email update from Greg, and this is just great fucking news:

Today good and righteous seemed to win over circumstance. Holly woke up early and the respiratory therapist wanted to remove her intubation tube. He took it out, and immediately she began to talk and ask for me. I was en route, and once I arrived, we proceeded to chat for the next 11 hours in spite of the fact that she desperately needed sleep but could not get comfortable. It was a funny, weird, strange, scary day but everyone says we should all be encouraged.

She was able to drink some water and even had some dinner (think baby food) that she probably ate too fast and made her a bit sick. She is having Vaso spasms, which is normal but can be a pre-cursor to a stroke. She has what appears to be ICU Psychosis, and her heart is still not optimum after the multiple traumatic situations, but again, it was a good day. As for the ICU Psychosis, it’s not uncommon, but scary. She’s hallucinating and is paranoid. She’s not frightened terribly, but it’s really weird behavior. To give you an idea of the day…

Some of the more fun/smart things she said:

I can’t bring in my dissertation for them to read. I think they’d have trouble with Mirabai and Hadewich
Tolstoyism isn’t really a religion, it’s more a social movement
How can i touch your face ? I only have one eye (the other is swollen shut) and no depth perception.
I’m really having trouble with one of my religion classes, they just don’t get it.
I think my big old butt knocked out an important tube when I shifted.
We gotta break outta this place. I’m serious. We need a plan.
What kind of socks should I have people send (I asked) ? I need Smart Socks. i need to be successful in my field.

Some of the more ICU Psychosis things:

Can you get me that beer on the shelf ?
I need you to e-mail the consulate in Thailand. I think we’re being spied on.
I think a woman just came in here and stole your iPad.
There’s a man looking through the window and he’s pointing at me.

Hopefully, you get the picture. She was terribly uncomfortable and just can’t rest which makes me sad. They can’t put her on sedatives or any heavy painkillers. She has a headache and she’s sore. She’s already sick of her bed and is limited in the positions she can stay in. She seems to like company thus far but hold off on visitors for some time.

There always remains the threat of complications in the coming hours/days/weeks, but everyone whose name we brought up (just a few today) she remembered. Everyone she saw, she remembered. She got plenty of things wrong but they were not deemed critical. She knew her name, her birthday, the president, Mitch McConnell, the year, etc. She had a tough time grasping she was in long island and why, but she knew she had a migraine headache earlier this week. They want her to know, so they were a bit blunt and it scared her a bit. She kind of looked at me sadly and wanted me to answer the doctor’s question. But we told her, and she accepted it well. Pray for her to be able to rest comfortably through the night. It’s what she needs most. We can worry about baby steps forward tomorrow but she really needs a good night sleep.

Her personality was Holly. She was smart and funny and beautiful. Think a really happy, sleepy drunk, who’s a bit paranoid. That was Holly today, first day out of five harrowing, dangerous days. It was encouraging.

In all, it was a very good day I am told, and I have to trust in the professionals.

Thanks for all the continued love and prayers.

I had never heard of ICU psychosis before, but I imagine it is a more extreme and long-term version of what I went through in recovery after my shoulder surgery, when my mother and the nurses always seemed to be cracking up at the things I was saying. I have no memory of what I said deep buried shit I want no one to know that I inadvertently revealed, and I really do not want to know for my own sanity. Kind of like the real life corollary to the notion that if you are my friend and find me dead in my house, before you call 911 you will smash all of my computer hard drives.

At any rate, this is really great news, and I am just thrilled. I also love the dissertation remarks- my mother and I were just joking a couple weeks ago how at least once a week we have a nightmare that we forgot to turn in our thesis or forgot to turn in grades or something. I’m sure a lot of you can empathize.

120 replies
  1. 1
    libarbarian says:

    My father had ICU Psychosis. It’s no joke, but it is temporary. You just have to understand and try not to let it get to you.

    They told us the persecution fantasies are very normal. He definitely had them. They will pass as she recovers.

  2. 2
    gogol's wife says:

    She’s right about Tolstoyism.

    I’m sorry that she has to think about Mitch McConnell at a time like this.

    Praying for Holly — it’s so good that she’s come this far.

  3. 3
    jayjaybear says:

    I always thought my delusions in ICU when I was fighting the infection that ultimately resulted in my amputation were just from that infection. I’d never heard of ICU psychosis before this. I was convinced that there was a demonic invasion centered on the hospital (which was also an old European hotel/villa/resort, which didn’t seem the least bit strange to me at the time) and that hordes of flies were buzzing all around as a sort of herald of the coming demons. It was a pretty dark couple of weeks, and I still feel what I felt then when one of the TV commercials that were running back then come back on. The e-surance guitar tune gives me a turn, still.

  4. 4
    Comrade Mary says:

    Wow, even with the caveats, this is EXCELLENT news! Best thoughts and crossed fingers that she continues to improve.

    (And yeah, my Mum had ICU psychosis, too, but it passed. For years after her hospital stay, we would tease her about her stories that her nurses were all dressed in lingerie like [shocked whisper] “Hookers!” and that she may or may not have flown to England on her bedpan.)

  5. 5
    MomSense says:

    Music and gentle massage can really help. I had an episode of paranoia post surgery and fortunately had a good friend who is a massage therapist who came in and helped tremendously. She mentioned that she does this therapy for ICU psychosis. It really helped me.

  6. 6
    lurker dean says:

    good news, keeping the well wishes going. never heard of ICU psychosis either, interesting.

  7. 7
    mai naem mobile says:

    I would go psychotic too if I remembered who Mitch McConnell was after major brain surgery. Just sayin’

  8. 8
    Bill D. says:

    Glad she is pulling through!

    This may vary from person to person, but I found in my major hospital stay that I got a lot of sore muscles in my back from spending so much time in bed. I had my wife bring in a massage wand to work over these tight muscles, which helped a great deal and made me far more comfortable.

  9. 9
    KG says:

    ind of like the real life corollary to the notion that if you are my friend and find me dead in my house, before you call 911 you will smash all of my computer hard drives.

    For gods’ sake man, delete my browser history!

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    Great news!!

    Hang in there, Holly and family (and boyfriend).

  11. 11
    Tommy says:

    That fucking tube is out. Wonderful. Wonderful. For those of us that have had it, well it is about the worse thing in the world IMHO.

    I noted the other day I got sick and ended up in the ICU with a tube down my throat for a week. What I didn’t note is when I went to the ER I didn’t think I was very sick. The primary doctor I went to a few days before just said to go there if things got worse. Not schedule an appointment with him.

    From when I walked into the ER I was in the OR in under 10 minutes.

    I didn’t understand what was going on. They cut my cloths off me as they asked me to sign forms. I woke up, nobody I knew there, incubated and my hands tied to the bed (I had tried to pull the tube out).

    It was traumatic.

    Not being able to speak, to communicate is terrible.

    Holly said:

    I need you to e-mail the consulate in Thailand. I think we’re being spied on.

    I could only communicate for that week by writing in a notebook. On a ton of drugs. I threw away the notebook my parents used with me, I wish I didn’t, but in the short aftermath it was too painful to read. I am sure I wrote things 100 times worse.

    I can’t stress this enough for anybody that has not been incubated for a period of time. You can’t communicate. As sick as you have ever been in your life and you can’t tell people you are uncomfortable. You are this. You are that.

    You go Holly!!!!!!!!

  12. 12
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    yay for good news!

  13. 13
    Persia says:

    My dad saw a skunk in his room and was half-convinced he was hallucinating and half-convinced it was real. He also had a lovely view of Lake Champlain (2 hours away at least) out his window. If you just roll with it it isn’t so bad.

    Wonderful news. Fingers crossed the news will keep getting better.

  14. 14
    Anya says:

    Why would anyone bring up Mitch McConnell’s name? Hasn’t the poor woman suffered enough already?

    Seriously though, best wishes for a complication free, speedy recovery. She sounds like a totally awesome person. And I totally agree with her about Tolstoyism.

  15. 15
    A Humble Lurker says:

    She knew her name, her birthday, the president, Mitch McConnell,

    Does she regret knowing that last one?
    Seriously though, I have less than zero authority when it comes to this kind of thing, but it certainly sounds like she’s in a good place. A much better place than she could have been, at least. And that’s awesome. Hope she get’s that rest.

  16. 16
    gene108 says:

    I am glad your friend is doing better. I hope she has a full recovery.

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    a nightmare that we forgot to turn in our thesis

    It’s been 40+ years and I still have that dream occasionally.

    Let me add to the chorus of huzzahs for Holly. It all sounds positive, and I am really happy for her, and you, and Greg, and everyone else who cares about her.

    This is just one helluva cool community, isn’t it?

  18. 18
    Tommy says:

    You know a happy thought. Holly said:

    We gotta break outta this place. I’m serious. We need a plan.

    I like to think she is thinking of getting out of there. To be healthy and safe.

    I threw away all of what I wrote when I was really sick. Too hard to read. My parents are too nice to repeat what I wrote, I hear some of it was really cruel, will only say it was bleak. But I guess this mantra of me asking my parents to break me out of the hospital was expressed pretty often.

    I think it is a natural thing. A healthy thing. That you want out. Hope I am right (maybe I am not).

  19. 19
    PurpleGirl says:

    It was a good day for Holly, Greg and her family and friends. Tell Greg that your blog community appreciates the updates and that we are all thinking and praying for Holly and everybody.

    Her recovery may be slow but if the progress is steady, that’s even better.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I’m sorry that she has to think about Mitch McConnell at a time like this.

    That actually made me laug.

    ETA: Also, laugh.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’ve only ever had to spend one night in the hospital as an adult, but I can totally see where the persecution fantasies would come from since you’re trapped, in pain, and all of these strangers keep coming in and poking you with needles. Your brain needs to make some kind of sense out of it, so it turns it into an elaborate story.

  22. 22
    Ruckus says:

    Progress. Slow and painful, but forward progress.
    Hoping for the best, very much sounds like she is heading in that direction.

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I have a recurring dream 20+ years later about my thesis. That I didn’t turn it in. Another that I didn’t take the one last class I needed to graduate. That I never got that MA. That my resume is all a lie. I am 44. I wake up in a cold sweat at least once month and it takes me like 3-4 minutes to realize it was a dream (I am close to a lucid dreamer).

    The focus should be on Holly, Holly, Holly, but I am thinking you and I are not the only ones that have this happen.

    BTW: I guess I am lazy, but late to following her story. Anybody got a link to the first post or two on what happened?

  24. 24
    Emma says:

    Great, great news. And ICU psychosis, as everyone has said, scares you shitless if you’re witnessing it but it’s actually ok after a while.

  25. 25
    MomSense says:


    This is just one helluva cool community, isn’t it?

    Not bad for a snarling mass of vitriolic vicious jackals.

  26. 26
    CaseyL says:

    I’m so glad to hear Holly’s making progress! And sorry to hear she’s so uncomfortable – it doesn’t help that she can’t move much; can’t find a better position to lay in.

    Would Holly be allowed to (and able to) do some isometrics and stretching exercises in bed? Possibly just being able to work her muscles would help. Simple stuff, like moving against gentle resistance and flexing her feet to stretch her Achilles.

  27. 27
    daize says:

    @MomSense: :-)

    John, thank you again for the update on Holly’s health. You’re at pretty cool guy.

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    This is the first post http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....por-favor/

    There are probably three or four updates since then.

  29. 29
    Anne Laurie says:

    This is great news — thanks for sharing it, John.

    Second (well, forth or fifth) the massage therapy suggestion. In my (fortunately very limited) experience, hospital beds are The Worst when it comes to getting comfortable. Even a wand massager, or gentle calf / foot massages can be a huuuuge relief — just the phyiscal distraction from thinking about all the little aches & itches & throbbing helps.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    I was also thinking that foot massage/reflexology might be a good option — with a brain injury, I don’t know if they could work on her back or shoulders, but the feet should be pretty safe.

  31. 31
    Tommy says:

    @MomSense: Part of it is just human compassion which I think you get more than a fair amount of here. The other is shared experiences. You have enough people here they know the pain you have. In your friends and family where you live maybe nobody understands. Most likely somebody here understands. IMHO that is important at levels that can’t be put to words.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    Why smash the hard drives? At least not right away.

    1) You’re dead. Nothing on them is going to be used against you.

    2) Might be some good or provocative links on them.

    Check them out first, then smash them.


  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I am thinking you and I are not the only ones that have this happen.

    It actually seems to be pretty common.

    As I age, I’m increasingly intrigued with the repeating patterns and recurrent themes that animate my dreams. They’re different dreams every night, but there are certain images and settings that show up regularly. I have no idea what that’s all about, and unless I go back into therapy probably never will (maybe not even then).

  34. 34
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Great news about Holly. Funny how you can feel as if you know someone through the internet.

  35. 35
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thanks! That is how I assume it started. But just a little curious of the history of her medical issues. Not that would change what I said, I am not a doctor, but in the last post or two it wasn’t totally clear to me (maybe my reading comprehension is lacking) the core medical problem.

  36. 36
    NotMax says:


    Shortest version:

    Had an aneurysm burst at base of the brain.

    First procedure unsuccessful, so a more invasive surgery was done.

  37. 37
    Hob says:

    So glad to hear your friend is doing better.

    When I was an ICU nurse, I once spent 20 minutes talking down a very nice elderly gentleman who was temporarily convinced that he was back in World War II, that the whole hospital was under Nazi control, and that it was urgent that I either help him escape right now or at least get the President on the phone. Fortunately, he was fairly polite about it (a minor blessing with this kind of delirium: you often don’t experience the kind of terror that you’d normally have if you were really being chased by Nazis etc., it’s more like dream logic, he was content to just argue about it with me) and no harm was done. Once the drugs had finished clearing out of his system and his brain had returned to our dimension, he was very, very, very embarrassed about this. But at least no one posted about it on the Internet! …Well, until now.

  38. 38
    Narcissus says:

    I had no idea ICU Psychosis was a thing. It sort of explains some of my grandfather’s behavior at the end.

    I frequently have a dream where it’s the end of a semester, or I’m about to graduate, and I realize there was a course I was supposed to have been taking the whole time. Now that I’m on the other side of the classroom that sort of stuff doesn’t happen. Weird.

  39. 39
    Svensker says:

    She had the surgery, then? Sounds good so far and many prayers and good thoughts for continued recovery. Poor Greg must be about to drop from stress and anxiety. Sending him good thoughts, too.

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    AFAIK, Holly’s medical history wasn’t addressed (as it pertains to the aneurism). Only that as a seemingly healthy and fit young woman, who practiced yoga, she appeared to be in the best possible condition to undergo the surgery and recover nicely. I’m glad and relieved to know that was the case.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I totally believe that! And when shit comes up in my life, I do put it to the Juicetariat.

  42. 42
    maven says:

    Bless her heart.

  43. 43

    I hope Holly feels better soon.
    I have just the right antidote to a difficult week, squee and aaww.

  44. 44

    My recurrent dream is about a physics or math final and I can’t solve a single problem on the exam.

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    Wow, that’s great news. Thanks for the updates. Sounds like she’s doing really well, all things considered. Continued healing thoughts sent her way.

    If you talk to Greg, make sure he knows to take care of himself. He’s got a long road ahead too and he’s going to need his strength. You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Warm thoughts his way too. Being a caregiver is work.

  46. 46
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Anxiety Dreams are Anxious.

    I worked in radio for years, and often was responsible for signing on and firing up the transmitter. I can’t count the number of dreams I had that included some variant of my fucking up that process — everything from my key wouldn’t open the door to the control room, to not being able to find the log, to having flunked my FCC3 test, to being late, to simply not remembering the steps involved in signing on. I had those dreams for probably 20 years after I stopped working in ya dip.

    ETA: Jesus, autocorrect. Ya dip = radio. Which is what I actually fucking TYPED, for fuck’s sake.

  47. 47
    PurpleGirl says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Kittehs you can squee over are the antidote to almost any problem. Those four are the cute.

  48. 48
    Tokyokie says:

    What was reported here today is the best that could be expected. Hope she continues to improve. And after a few days of intubation, a Popsicle would sure taste good. Greg might want to bring her some.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    OMG those are cute kittehs!

  50. 50
    MomSense says:


    I think of us as a sort of community of smart, free-thinking people who like politics and love animals, food, music, and gardens. Curmudgeons on the outside and compassionate do-gooders on the inside. Whatever it is, it works!

  51. 51
    Hungry Joe says:

    ICU psychosis is that, and nothing more: psychosis in the ICU. It all goes away. After bypass surgery my father kept knocking over the IV stand and trying to rip out the tubes, convinced they were pumping him full of truth serum to find out … ??? He also tore off his wedding ring and threw it at my mother because she was in on it. He remembered none of this later, and his mind was (ultimately) unaffected.

    We were told it’s caused by a combination of drugs, getting poleaxed by surgery or illness or trauma, and lack of decent sleep because of the above and because it’s always light and never quiet in an ICU.

  52. 52
    MomSense says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    That much fluff and adorable just might break the internet!

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    It is an amazing — dare I say, unique — community.

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’ve sent a delete request for my #54. Hope my weird italics didn’t mess up the thread for anyone else.

  55. 55
    Hungry Joe says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I drove a city bus for three years, and 30 years later I still dream that I don’t know my route and I have to try to follow the route map they hand out to passengers. It’s open in my lap, and I’m driving and sneaking glances at it, trying to keep the passengers from finding out.

  56. 56
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: @schrodinger’s cat: I’ve not used my MA directly. Last seven years not at all. I think a lot of it is my brother (nine years younger) just got his MBA. My dad a PhD. My two grandparents a PhD And MD. I think it was the pressure at a young age to do all this.That I went to the college where my father got his PhD, for the best professor in his field. Maybe the best ever. That I’d go there, born there, teachers would cite my father’s work and ask what I was doing from a scholarly point of view. Lot of pressure.

    Sorry added after the initial comment above. Why I dream about failure so often.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    To the best of my knowledge, I didn’t have any ICU psychosis after my heart surgery(ies). But I am convinced that some of my short-term memory issues — often having to fumble for the word I want, for instance — are related to 8 or 9 hours of anesthesia. I think it did a number on my brain, although one that I can mostly laugh off. And yeah, it could be that aging kicked in at the exact same time. Correlation is not causation, after all.

  58. 58
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    My grandmother put me in a position of competing with my hyper-achieving mother. Made my high school years less than wonderful for me.

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    It’s just amazing how that stuff persists, isn’t it?

  60. 60
    rikyrah says:

    thank you for continuing with the reports. Prayers will continue to be sent her way.

  61. 61
    Violet says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’ve heard that heart surgery can leave people with some memory issues. Sorry that it has affected you.

  62. 62
    Hungry Joe says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I think a lot of “senior moments” are the same moments I had before I started becoming a senior. (I qualify as one sometimes and not others.) When I was 26 I used to storm around my apartment cursing myself for misplacing my keys, or wonder why I got out of my chair and walked into the kitchen, but I didn’t call them “junior moments.”

  63. 63
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T but Holy Fuck. What kind of state do I live in?

  64. 64
    geg6 says:

    My mom had ICU psychosis when she was there for a month after a botched hysterectomy. It’s no joke. She didn’t remember any of it, but I was only 12 at the time and I remember being terrified of it. My mom simply was never one to drink or even daydream, so to see her so incoherent and far from reality was more frightening than all the tubes and things she was hooked up to.

    Glad Holly is recovering and had a “good” day. I’ll be keeping her in my thoughts.

  65. 65
    Mary G says:

    So good to hear. Greg must be a basket case. I don’t know why hospital beds have to be so freaking uncomfortable. When I had my last joint replacement, I told the surgeon to give me a LOT of drugs afterwards – he said that I wouldn’t need them because the surgery site would still be numbed and I said I would because lying for hours in one of those godforsaken things makes all my other joints hurt like hell.

    He ordered me an egg crate mattress cover thingie and it saved my life. Actually, two of them showed up because I was so frantic asking if it was there in the recovery room that they ordered another one just in case. It helped so much.

  66. 66
    danielx says:

    You COULD send her some SmartWool socks, but they’re overrated. They are great for about six months and then they start to wear out, which is damned hard cheese if you’re paying sixteen bucks for a pair of socks. Send her some Thorlo socks – they are exceedingly comfortable and wear like iron; i have some that are five years old and still going strong. Plus they’re Sock Monkey socks, which is what Martha Stewart used to call a Good Thing.

    Wonderful to hear she’s doing well.

  67. 67
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thanks, Violet. Whatever I have, it’s relatively mild, so I am definitely one of the lucky ones.

    @Hungry Joe:

    Funnily enough, I almost never lost or misplace my keys now, and I used to all the time. Maybe because I actually do pay attention to what I do with the keys, consciously, daily. Not so much with the earrings and cell phone and stuff.

  68. 68
    Betty Cracker says:

    That sounds like good news about Holly. Will keep her and her family and friends in my thoughts.

  69. 69
    max says:

    I had never heard of ICU psychosis before, but I imagine it is a more extreme and long-term version of what I went through in recovery after my shoulder surgery, when my mother and the nurses always seemed to be cracking up at the things I was saying.

    Well, yeah. She had a bad headache, and has been, at best, half in and half out of consciousness, she’s probably on blood thinners, and depending on which other meds they used, she’s probably had seriously reduced blood pressure. Plus she’s had a tube down her throat, and she’s in another state and doesn’t know how she got there. In addition, she was on whatever anesthetics they used when they drilled a hole in her skull (if I’m understanding the location of the aneurysm correctly, they had to use a drill or a bone saw of some sort).

    Seriously reduced blood pressure will tend to prompt the brain into going into maintenance mode – that is, prioritizing getting oxygen to various brain bits over immediate function. (Which is why it’s good that all the various bits of memory and speech, plus the autonomous nervous system bits seem to be working solidly – nothing got chopped off or starved for oxygen. If they weren’t functioning normally, she wouldn’t be able to breathe on her own and explain her exciting hallucinations.)

    If she wasn’t thinking weird shit, that would be stranger than the hallucinations.

    Tolstoyism isn’t really a religion, it’s more a social movement

    I dunno why but that line is just funny.

    She is having Vaso spasms, which is normal but can be a pre-cursor to a stroke.

    Cleaning up after the mess. A couple of days to make sure she doesn’t stroke out and her heart is functioning normally and I’d imagine she can go home. A week, maybe less, as long the motor control is OK (sounds like it). May put her on an anti-psychotic like Risperdal or Halidol or something like that if it doesn’t interfere with her other meds. Basically making sure the problem doesn’t recur, and then lots of home rest to fix the other issues and recuperate. (For the hallucinations, she needs sleep, really. Animals catnap because they don’t have big energy-consuming brains – humans sleep eight hours because they *do* have big energy consuming brains that need lots of maintenance.) Lots of sleep and doing nothing very much important will sort out the hallucinations and whatnot.

    Keep in mind, she might be taking the anti-psychotics and still be hallucinating (or not) and she might tell you about them (or not – paranoia strikes deep). Nothing much for it but rest and patience.

    [‘Glad she’s better. Bullet dodged! Yay!’]

  70. 70
    danielx says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    If I had diabetic tendencies, that would send me right over the edge.

  71. 71
    Ferdzy says:

    Great to hear. Best wishes for a continued fast recovery.

  72. 72
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Betty, how is your father-in-law doing? I recall that he and your mom took sick on the same weekend. Sending good vibes southward.

  73. 73
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: My grandmother tried. My mother would not let it stand.

    I can’t believe I am going to say this ……

    My mother’s father pass away a few years ago at 93. I was out having a smoke at the funeral and somebody said to me, my parents have been married 47 years, my mom’s first husband beat her. Raped her. She left and divorced him. I was like WTF. I had never heard this. In seconds it became clear to me why my dad’s parents, super rich never liked her. Pitted me against her. Felt she wasn’t worthy.

    My mom is about my best friend. But dad has said never, never, never bring up you know this. I respect him. But I was a total dick to my mom for many years cause of that feud and wish I could broach the subject.

    Family secrets …….

  74. 74
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Hungry Joe: One time I was sitting in the very front of a bus. I realized the driver was new and didn’t know the route yet. He missed one stop (good thing no one wanted to get off/on there) and before the next one I began to direct him where he should go. He thanked me when we got to the last stop.

  75. 75
    kdaug says:

    Hadn’t waded though the comments yet, but I’ll say this: your fucking id can be a real asshole under anesthesia.

  76. 76
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Family secrets. I suspect we all have them. Maybe not as dramatic as yours, but there are things in my own family background I may never know.

    I am convinced now that my father was illegitimate. No big deal today, but 100 years ago it was quite shameful. I’ve been doing genealogy for well over two decades and cannot find one scrap of evidence that my father ever had a father. No birth, marriage or death certificate. The town listed for “father’s home town” (on my own father’s birth certificate) is fictional, nonexistent. In retrospect, I realize that my grandmother never mentioned him, never had stories about him, the way most elderly relatives reminisce.

  77. 77
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: Yeah, I found out a family secret at a family reunion. Not quite as dramatic as yours, but surprising to me nonetheless. I think every family has them.

    If you want to bring up the subject with your mom, go ahead and do it if you think she’d be open to it. Your dad may not want you to but he has his reasons and your relationship with your mom isn’t the same as his. Maybe your mother would welcome clearing the air. You can tell her you were told by someone else, you love her, you’re sorry she went through that and you’re sorry for your part in the relationship with your grandparents and you didn’t know the story. And let her decide if she wants to tell you more. Maybe it’s not appropriate that you tell her, but as people get older sometimes the reasons for keeping secrets like that seem less valid. She may wish to talk about it but isn’t sure how to bring it up. Or not.

  78. 78
    Tommy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I got my parents DNA tests. I have the results but not looked at them. I have no idea what they will say. They are sitting on my kitchen table. This forced my dad to send me the tree they are working on, back to 1570. Scotland. Takes like 20 yards to spread the tree out. But I want the DNA tests.

  79. 79
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This sounds like good news and good progress.

    We gotta break outta this place. I’m serious. We need a plan


    I need you to e-mail the consulate in Thailand. I think we’re being spied on.

    Pretty cool for ICU psychosis.

  80. 80
    Suzanne says:

    Being in the hospital, under any circumstance, is the worst. The thing I hate the most is how the nurses talk to you like you’re a child or an idiot. I realize that their job is hard and that they are used to drug seekers, but seriously, I have found hospitalization so just infuriating for that reason. I am glad to hear that Holly’s situation is improving. She sounds like great people.

  81. 81
    Tommy says:

    @Violet: My parents have a lot of money. Inheritance. Even before that my mom spent a lot of time working with rape centers. Before she had money to spend she spent time. Now money. As a kid I recall giving to them with my mom. I think there has to be something going on there. I like to think mom is a “rock star” with women’s right issues. Even more so since for the first time in four generations we’ve had a women birthed in our family.

  82. 82

    @Suzanne: My SIL talks like that even in daily life or on the phone, she will enunciate every word and speak very slowly. She is doctor though, not a nurse. It always sets my teeth on an edge.

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Long term prognosis isn’t good — he has lung cancer that has metasticized to the brain, etc. He did a round of chemo that really knocked him on his ass, lost tons of weight, lost his hair, is weak as a kitten. My MIL said today he’s feeling better and has recovered his appetite a bit, which is good news.

    They would normally be heading back up north soon, but I guess they’ll spend their first summer in FL this year. Poor things.

  84. 84
    Betty Cracker says:

    I think I have sofa psychosis. I’ve got a horrible cold, and I woke up about an hour ago after sleeping about 16 hours, waking up only to drink water and take more cold medicine.

  85. 85
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m sorry to hear the prognosis. I guess the best wishes are that he remains comfortable and compos for as long as possible.

    Thank you for the update. I’m really sorry your family is going through all this shit at once. Must be particularly tough on your daughter.

  86. 86
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    the nurses talk to you like you’re a child or an idiot.

    And how are we feeling today?

  87. 87
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    the nurses talk to you like you’re a child or an idiot.

    And how are we feeling today?

  88. 88
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Sorry for the dupe.

  89. 89
    Betty Cracker says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Aw, thanks. Yeah, it sucks, but what can you do? FIL is a good guy. He’s 78 and went through major heart issues in his 40s, so we’ve been lucky, in a way.

  90. 90
    MomSense says:


    Yes, it is!

  91. 91
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Don’t let it happen again. Dadgum it.

  92. 92
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:


  93. 93
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:


  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: I put the “dadgum it” in there for a reason.

    @SiubhanDuinne: @SiubhanDuinne: Nice.

  95. 95
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Don McLean, good grief.

  96. 96
    J R in WV says:

    Mrs JR was in an induced coma and on a ventilator for nearly 3 weeks during her treatment for septic shock. The first couple of days she was packed in ice to bring down her fever.

    Once they removed her vent tube, she was as goofy as could be. She complained that there was tremendous noise from the football games – as if the stadium was right next door instead of 3 miles away. And the Mayor was guilty of not having the cops come and make those football fans be quiet.

    I looked out the window, and told her there were 3 guys having a smoke break, no one was making any noise. “Well, they sure were last night after the game!” she said…

    Years ago my Dad had (unnecessary) lung surgery. He was on a then brand new antibiotic called Cipro. He asked me why Joe (uniformed cop) had those puppies with him? The docs asked if he had a history of using drugs!? When I looked Cipro up the first side effect was hallucinations.

    And the F’in doctors wondered if he was on drugs. Only the ones you gave him, doc! How do you prescribe a drug you haven’t even read the data sheet on?

    Both of these examples are funny compared to Holly’s fears. And both of them didn’t amount to much in the end, both patients recovered fully, just as we all hope and expect Holly will.

    Best wishes for a comfortable night!!

  97. 97
    Calming Influence says:

    Very happy for Holly!

  98. 98
    jnfr says:

    So glad to hear this. Rest and be well, Holly, and all your clan.

  99. 99
    sharl says:

    Great news! Best thoughts and wishes to Holly and everyone around her.

  100. 100
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I have seen a person change very much after a life-stake surgery and subsequent hospital stay. If I was Holly’s SO I would stand by for changes. These events do change us.

  101. 101
    scav says:

    Good for Holly.

    Trick I would like to know how he pulled is that when my Dad was hallucinating, sometimes he could figure it out and then delegate. “Was that camera that just jumped out of my pillow a hallucination?” “I think so Dad.” “OK, You deal with it.”

  102. 102
    gnomedad says:


    Had an aneurysm burst at base of the brain.

    Not burst, thank God. At least that’s my reading, as things would have been much worse and they could not have attempted the coil thingy.

  103. 103
    ruemara says:

    Happy News for Holly! I’m glad for her, Greg, both their families and their friends. Blessings of good health to her.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Dear god.

  105. 105
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Not really my field. And I am not licensed in any NE state.

  106. 106
    Poopyman says:

    @efgoldman: Levaquin? They gave me that last year for a (non-existent) urinary tract infection. In retrospect I should a laid off the yoga. My right hip ain’t been, well, right ever since.

    And on topic, that is great news about Holly. And

    I need Smart Socks. i need to be successful in my field.

    should be a rotating tag.

  107. 107
    Lyrebird says:

    to John and friends — thanks for the updates! Good thoughts still a-comin!

    to folks w/elderly relatives — my pet peeve re: thoughtless prescriptions that cause hallucinations is Lasix. Which every bleeping heart failure or edema patient gets… if the patient’s liver isn’t working so well, the diuretics don’t get filtered out well enough, they build up in the system, and they can cause hallucinations.

    Not such a major thing, but it made me so mad that my declining relative’s docs were not thinking about this at all!

  108. 108
    Suzanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: When I gave birth to Spawn the Elder, the anesthesiologist FUBARed my epidural and it didn’t work at all. All my absolute shrieking in pain, and the nurses WOULD NOT BELIEVE ME when I told them it wasn’t working. Until, ten minutes after she was born, I made them remove the catheter and I climbed up off the table and walked into the bathroom, completely unassisted, to pee. THEN they believed me.

    You know, I am an intelligent adult. I can tell if it hurts. So when I say, “IT HURTS!”, the correct response is not, “No, it doesn’t. You can’t feel anything.”


  109. 109
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @efgoldman: Torn/ruptured tendons? Sounds like a fluoroquinolone-class side-effect.

  110. 110
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Suzanne: I had an epidural lumbar block given to me back in the 80s for treatment of a herniated disc. The anesthesiologist nicked the pocket where he initially injected the anesthetic and it leaked into my spinal column. He was supposed to inject depo-medrol into the L5-SI1 root, but it didn’t quite happen even though he explained “we got a good block!”-yeah, right-thanks to you, I know that the phrase numb-nuts means.

    Thankfully, it was temporary, and the nurse (a older gentlemen) explained to me what happened, because I sure as hell wasn’t getting it from the doc.

  111. 111
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Continued good thoughts for Holly, Greg, and all family and friends. Quite an encouraging day, all told, it sounds like. ICU psychosis can be really alarming to watch, but she’s got some great lines. The plan for breaking out should give her something to work on, and I hope the Thai ambassador will address that spying thing.

    @efgoldman: That is horrific, and clearly below the standard of care in any US state (except maybe Texas). Very good thoughts for you both from OH.

  112. 112
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @efgoldman: Good luck with the litigation. The problem is that many of that class of drugs have black box warnings.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    As I understand it, that doesn’t matter — it’s not the patient’s responsibility to check for black box warnings, it’s the physician’s. If he didn’t tell them, or minimized the danger, then it’s his malpractice.

  114. 114
    John Casey says:

    It’s not often I get a chance to tell my ICU psychosis story, so here it is.

    I had sextuple cardiac bypass surgery, and 1 day after I went home, I was back in with a spiking fever. And they reopened my chest to clean out the post-op infection. So I was in ICU for a good long while recovering from all the medical attention.

    Around 2am a few days into it, I was lying on my back (because I couldn’t really move without assistance) when I decided that what was happening was that I was an extra on a movie set, and that I no longer wished to endure the working conditions. So, I slowly eased the feeding tube out of my nose that ran to my stomach. And when that was gone, I rather quickly pulled the breathing tube out (my vocal chords have never been the same since). My first words were, ‘I want to get off this movie’. I’d attracted some considerable attention at this point, and a nurse said, ‘Don’t pull that tube out of your leg; you’ll bleed to death.”

    So, I didn’t do that. And then, it sort of passed away. I began to understand, again, that I was in the hospital, and that I was really sick, and that I couldn’t just get up and walk away.

  115. 115
    Genine says:

    That’s wonderful news! Holly is lucky to have so many people love her and care for her well-being. It looks like that luck is extending in other ways as well.

    May the recovery continue!

  116. 116
    LT says:

    Never heard of ICU psychosis before eigther, but I saw my sis go through similar after surgery for brain cancer. They had to keep her very delicately anesthesized, just under consciousness, which mean she she kept drifting up. She kept doing this thing where she’s push her hands into the air, like she was trying to push a viel or mesh away from her face and body. She was so pained and scared, we’d touch her a bit and tell her it was okay, but she was still too far down to react to us. She later told us she thought she was in a grave and there was dirt being thrown down on her.

    O yay.

  117. 117
    LT says:


    You can delete that comment at 122. I meant it, but on further thought I wouldn’t want the dude to read it. Don’t know if he comes here. He probably knows exactly what he’s doing. Sorry for the outburst – I mean especially in the midst of an impossibly difficult time. Sorry about that.

  118. 118
    mobile RoonieRoo says:

    I’m praying late tonight and sending my positive thoughts for Holly to get healing sleep tonight and the upcoming nights.

  119. 119
    Citizen_X says:

    She had a tough time grasping she was in long island and why

    This is good sign. If you’re not wondering why you’re in Long Island, then it’s already too late.

  120. 120
    S-Curve says:

    Add me to the list of people who had never heard of ICU psychosis before. My dad had a heart attack during an unrelated surgery and was in the ICU for a week, during which time he kept worrying about the Russians coming in and finishing him off. (He actually had to be restrained because he kept trying to deck the nurses/Soviet agents.) The doctors chalked it up to a bad case of the DTs.

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