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In March 2010, I had bronchitis and was on medication. Later that month I felt worse and had seen 2 different doctors;  one said that I still had bronchitis and the other doctor said I had the flu and told me to go home and rest. On Monday I ran a high fever and went to an clinic and they diagnosed me with double pneumonia. I went directly to the ER and was admitted for observation. By the next night I was put on a ventilator, and was diagnosed with swine flu. I was in an induced coma for 2 1/2 weeks. Mentally I was really foggy and had no idea what happened to me. I was on a regular floor with Bi-Pap and Bn O2 for 2 weeks and was diagnosed with ARDS. When the nurses tried to sit me up in the bed, my oxygen level would drop. I went for rehab for 3 weeks just to walk with a walker and assistance. Then I was discharged home. My daughter was 16 at the time and she had just gotten out of school for the summer. She took me to outpatient therapy for 2 months and I was able to use a cane. I didn't have to go home on oxygen and for that  I was so thankful, and couldn't believe I came through this terrible illness. I am currently disabled. I had been an RN supervisor for Home Health for 20 years. My balance isn't steady. I drive a little. I have problems with short term memory. I feel very anxious and depressed. My family doesn't want to talk about what happened, and it is very frustrating.

 posted 11/4/2013

Howard Fleischman

I was 54 on Labor Day weekend in 2005, and a diabetic. I had not felt well for a day, and then I began to have trouble breathing. From what I've read, my symptoms were pretty common. I worked for an auto dealer in sales, and still do. I don't know where the sepsis orginated, but I'm told I got to the hospital "just in time." The folks at Sharp Memorial were so very caring and professional, I am certain they saved my life. I was heavily sedated and on a respirator for about 2 weeks. I am left with some scarring, and some shortness of breath after exertion, but overall I'm pretty good. I had no insurance, but the hospital helped out and I was able to pay about 20% of the $275K bill incurred. They forgave the rest. I didn't know about support groups until I stumbled on this website. I'm glad I did.

 posted 7/5/2013


I am an ARDS survivor. I am 27 and was diagnosed just before my 19th birthday. I was put into a chemically induced coma and intubated for about 2 weeks. Once I was taken off intubation and became coherent, my fight with recovery started. I had lost close to 45 pounds and all muscle mass. I had to reteach myself to eat, talk and all other functions. I am wondering if my side effects and numerous problems are from ARDS or from the medication that was used during treatment. What different side effects have other survivors dealt with (mental, physical, emotional)? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

 posted 4/19/2013

David Adair

I started feeling bad in December 2010 but kept fighting through it. By January 29, 2011, I couldnt breathe and my wife rushed me to the ER. I was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted. I went downhill and was put on the vent and had multiple organ failure. I was transfered to Baylor ICU where I remained in an induced coma with a paralytic for 8+ weeks, and was on dialysis and a chest tube due to a pneaumothorax. I awoke with memories of the most horrible vivid dreams, unable to move anything and no concept of events. After that I was moved to a unit to be weaned from the vent (another 4 weeks) then to rehab where I relearned walking, talking etc. The impact to my life and my family is hard to explain and I am dealing with the lasting physical and emotional issues as best I can.

 posted 3/18/2013

Briony Jenkinson

I was in my 26th week of pregnancy and had a pain in my side
and it hurt to breathe. I went to hospital expecting it to be pregnancy
related. I was rushed to the ER and they couldn't decide what was wrong. I stayed overnight and they hoped my symptoms would disappear. Soon I was rushed to the HTU because my breathing became more and more painful. I had no idea what was going on. Eventually the doctors took my parents aside and told them i had less then 24 hours to live if my breathing didn't improve. I was moved to ITU as it was suspected to be swine flu or pneumonia. I was told that i could be put into a coma or put on a ventilation mask. I tried the mask but it was really painful and causing me more distress, so I tried another
ventilation that was like a hood over my head. I can laugh about it now
because I did look like a spaceman. Meanwhile my baby was fine, and the checkups showed that she was still OK. Slowly but surely, I started to get better. I ventually learned to walk again and had a speedy recovery all within one week. This all happened so quickly that I don't really remember much.

 posted 1/7/2013

Sherri Perper-Davis

I was hospitalized with ARDS six months ago.I was in ICU for a week, then a regular room for 10 days, followed by a rehab facility for a few weeks. I have not been the same since. My balance is poor and I need touse a cane or walker. I have memory and speech issues, and physically my strength is not what it use to be.  I wonder what my odds are of getting ARDS again.  They told me it is a miracle I survived and I am  forever grateful for that but I'm having a difficult time dealing with the side effects. I would love to hear from someone in the same boat.

 posted 1/3/2013

Jaquelin Hammell

My story started back in March 1989, I was a health 23 year old. I started having symptoms of what I thought was the flu. About 4 days, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia. The doctor gave me a prescription and sent me home. Two days later, my temperature spiked to over 103 and I knew something was wrong. I went to the hospital and was admitted that day with pneumonia. That night I remember I was coughing up blood, and I kept paging the nurseís station. Nobody came and checked on me all night, and the next morning a respiratory therapist didnít like the way one of my tests came out so he decided to come take a look at me. I was found face down, blue and hardly breathing. They rushed me to ICU with a 105 fever and I was intubated and knocked out. For the next 6 weeks I was in and out of consciousness. I remember at times feeling scared because I didnít know what was going on with me, and sometimes when my mind would wake up for a few minutes I could remember a having an itch somewhere but I couldnít scratch it because of the paralytic drugs (talk about going crazy in your head when you have an itch that you canít scratch, that was mental torture). I had wild and crazy dreams during this period too. The one I can still remember was where I thought I was in a mental institute, people were chasing me and I was running and trying to hide from them. After I was weaned off the ventilator, I had lost 40 pounds and I was on 100% O2 and the doctors still didnít know what was going on with me, so they decided to do a lung biopsy. After the results came back I was diagnosed with HammanĖRich syndrome (this turned out to be a misdiagnoses, but the medical community hadnít come up with the term ARDS yet) and I was told I would need a lung and heart transplant or I was going to die. My family applied to hospitals all over the USA and Canada to get me on their transplant programs. I had resigned to the fact I was going to die soon, since I was not improving at all. After about 14 days, I was accepted to a program, and my vitals started to improve. The doctors and nurses told me I had to start rebuilding my strength before I could go for the transplant otherwise I wouldnít survive the surgery. I was moved out of ICU soon after that onto the cardiac ward. They started weaning me from O2 and therapists started working really hard with me. I slowly began putting some weight back on, and building up my strength. As the next few weeks passed, I just started getting better and better. About 10 days later I was discharged and sent home. By now I had put back on 15 pounds, still very much underweight and weak, but I was able to walk, and it was a matter of time before I was back to almost Ďnormalí again. By now I no longer needed a heart and lung transplant and over the next few months I was eventually weaned off of all my meds, and the only thing left to remind me of what had happened is the scar from the lung biopsy and chest tube. My life moved on, my lungs were back to 100%, I completed school, and was on my way to building a successful career. In the mid 90ís I had accepted a new position halfway across the country. Fast forward to September 5, 2001, I was at work and just started feeling like I had the flu. I was hanging in for a few days with a temperature around 102.5, then woke up on September 8 and it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. My husband took me to the ER and I was admitted that day with pneumonia. I remember a little about Sept the next few days. I was in the respiratory ward, and my temperature was over 103, and I was on 3-4 liters or so of O2. I had no idea at this point what was coming my way, and thought Iíd be out in a few days. On September 10, they had to put me on the ventilator. I donít remember much after that, except after a few days or so the drugs wore off and I woke up. My husband was right there, and I never saw anybody looking so scared. I motioned him to sit me up and get paper and something to write with. I knew what the deal was with me, and I didnít freak out when I woke up on the vent. My next memory was Sept 25th, when the doctors decided to take me off the vent, and out came the tubes. I knew what I had gone through, so I wasnít confused or mad. I had only lost 10 pounds this time around. I remember my first memory after of coming off the vent was my husband coming into my ICU room with a copy of Newsweek that showed the 2 planes going into the World Trade Center. I was more upset over that happening than I was about what happened to me. The next day they moved me out of ICU to CCU and the physical therapist had me walking again within 24 hours. I was discharged from the hospital on September 25th. I built up my strength rapidly and was back at work 3 weeks later, and on the ski slopes about 6 weeks after being discharged. They still donít know what triggers my ARDS episodes. That is the scary part I have to live with. Itís getting close to the 13 year mark again between the first two episodes, and I wonder if Iím going to see a third time around.

 posted 11/2/2012

Alana Martin

On September 11, 2010, I went to the hospital due to shortness of breath, having very mild asthma that had never been a problem. I thought that being 17 weeks pregnant was just aggravating it, so thought I'd be in and out in no time. Next thing I know, I am on oxygen. I didn't feel unwell, just a bit breathless. They took me to the ICU, and all I remember at that point was them telling my they have to help me to breathe because my body is tired. At that point, the realization hit me how ill I really was and I became almost hysterical. I was so terrified I was going to die pregnant with an 8 year old daughter. And there my battle with ARDS began. For 4 weeks i battled the ups and downs, them waking me up and then having to sedate me again, I remember feeling close to death ill, and feeling like I wasn't going to pull through, knowing without anyone saying it that there was a high chance my baby wouldn't survive. But after 4 weeks sedated and paralyzed and 1 week of tracheotomy and physio, I was moved to a general medical ward to build up my strength. One week later I was discharged, still weak and fragile but home and not dead, and I still had my baby. I was warned that there may be ill effects from the lack of oxygen and medicine, but I am happy to report that I had a very healthy baby that has had no lasting effects from what I went through. He is now a year and a half and I also have a five month year old baby. I did suffer depression and anxiety for a while, and still do to an extent. I still relive it, especially the nightmares, but I wont let it take over my life. I have learned to lock those thoughts away because that's where they belong. We did survive ARDS and we are lucky!

 posted 8/4/2012

James Greene

On February 21, 2001, I woke my roommate up and tossed him my key ring. I thought all I was going to have to do was get a breathing treatment, so I told him I would call him and have him come get me in a couple of hours, Did I mention this was at 3:00am? I woke up and it was April 26. I was on a ventilator and couldn't move anything but my eyelids.

 posted 8/3/2012

Theresa Murry

In late February 2011, I called my sister to take me to the ER because I had a fever spiking to 103 and shortness of breath. I was told I had a touch of pneumonia and had to be admitted because I was unable to maintain O2 levels. I don't remember much after the first day in the hospital but my sister told me that I was confirmed to have the H1N1 virus and had developed ARDS and required intubation. My family was told my survival rate was maybe 25% and during the two weeks I was intubated I came very close to dying twice. I was in the hospital for approximately 5 weeks and I am having great difficulty dealing with the impact this had on my life. I need help!

 posted 5/9/2012

Urmila Pateriya

I survived a severe case of ARDS in 1994 in Columbus, OH. After having a low grade fever and headache for a week and getting booster doses of Ceclor for high white blood count in the neighborhood clinic, I ended up in the ER one morning with 105 fever and splitting headache. They gave me Demerol and kept me for observation overnight. My husband was told to take me home in the morning. A very observant nurse noticed I was having difficulty breathing...I have no recollection of that. I was on a ventilator by that time. I had a tracheotomy, induced coma, several antibiotics, steroids etc. and I was diagnosed with ARDS. I was in the ICU for 5 weeks. My family was called in the second day since I wasn't supposed to survive. I did survive and I think that my pulmonologist, endocrinologist, the head of the infectious disease, all ICU nurses, two exploratory surgeries, state of the art treatment, lot of prayers, and determination and faith of my husband and my family that I wasn't going anywhere, saved my life. Or maybe it was the experimental drug that I was given as part of a clinical trial. I found out more than a year later that I was one of the patients who got the drug and not the placebo. I will never know. I opened my eyes 5 weeks later to see the calendar say April 24, 1994 and I knew that I was brought to the hospital on March 18th, the day I was supposed to travel to New York and Chicago for a big technical presentation. A machine was breathing for me and I had questions that I could not ask. I was finally weaned off of the respirator and went through another abdominal surgery, because the earlier one had opened up. A food pipe was inserted at this time along with big staples to hold the sutures. After a long rehabilitation, I came home exactly 3.5 months after walking in the ER. Two months later when I asked my pulmonologist about the nerve damage in my leg and right half of my head, he said that all of them were sure that I was going to die, and if by some miracle I was to survive, I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I have never put anything so personal online for others to read, but reading all the other stories here encouraged me to do this.

 posted 4/26/2012


In 2008 I went into the hospital for gall bladder removal and got ARDS. No one could explain WHY this happened to me. Ever test showed nothing. The doctors said I had 1 in 3 chance of waking up/surviving. I was in a coma for 2 months, and it took me 10 days to wake up after they turned off the coma medicine. They had a family meeting letting my family know that I may never wake up and if I did no telling what condition my mind or body was going to be in. Four years later, I am still on oxygen 24/7 and will be for the rest of my life. My mind does get confused still and my immune system is still not right. My kidneys are not working to full ability and I have severe anemia. I need to have labs 2 times a month and get shots to keep my blood levels up. I was on dialysis 3 weeks and a kidney transplant may be in my future. I have lots of other unexplained issues as well. ARDS changed everything about my life.

 posted 3/29/2012

Mary Ellen Smith

On March 5, 2010 my husband took me to the hospital emergency room because what was diagnosed as bronchitis earlier that week had gotten worse. Upon my arrival to the hospital the triage nurse could tell right away that I was having difficulty breathing. A respiratory therapist was sent in to check my oxygen level and found it to only be 43 percent. He started me oxygen and set it at the highest setting. I started to improve. Their first thought was that I would stay the night for observation and be released in the morning. However, I went into respiratory distress and was put on a ventilator a few hours later and admitted to the ICU. I now had pneumonia, sepsis and ARDS. On day five I was put into a coma and in to a Roto-prone bed. It was thought that I would be in it for three days either alive or dead with less than a 1% chance to survive, however I was in it for nine days and I survived. I did not wake up for another week and did not become completely coherent until the 5th of April. My journey took me a total of 77 days between two hospitals and one rehab center where I had to learn to sit up, walk, talk and eat again. After dismissal from the rehab, I continued with therapy at home for another six weeks. It has now been two years since that horrible ordeal, but I have recovered almost 100%. I have damage to my lungs and problems with my left foot. I am so thankful to the doctors and nurses for their wonderful care and for my family and friends for being there by my side. I have currently written and published a book called "While I Was Sleeping" which can be found on my website

 posted 3/21/2012

Bonnie Rupprecht

I wanted to add more to my journey with ARDS. I have found out from an Infectious Disease doctor that I most likely was bitten by a Colorado soft shell tick, recurring fever variety last June. Other women have also developed ARDS after being bitten by the recurring fever tick. Finally in November, I was given the drug Doxycycline and the fevers have abated. I notified my doctors in Colorado about this should they see other women in their emergency rooms with a recurring fever like mine to immediately think of this rare tick which can kill women. The thinking is it could cause ARDS in women because of hormonal differences. The study continues to understand and conquer ARDS. I am also part of the ARDS long term study ALTOS.

 posted 3/19/2012

Angela Rabon

My name is Angela and I am 38. I had double pneumonia in September and by October 13th I got really short of breath, so I went home from work (I'm a nurse). I fainted and my dad found me. He rushed me to the ER where they put me on a vent and in a medical induced coma. I was then moved to a larger hospital where I stayed a week then was moved to Baylor because I was not making any improvements. The doctors told my family they needed to all come say goodbye. I still cry when I think of my daughters and parents going through that. I finally began breathing on my own a month later. When I woke up I could no longer move my body and couldn't talk. (This was probably a treat for my family. I tend to talk a lot). I had to go to rehab to learn all that again. They told me that I would be there for at least a month, but within 2 weeks I was released. I then was hospitalized again and was in ICU for a week. I finally got out in December. I am now 3 months out and I am still on oxygen and I have a lot of trouble focusing. I am thankful to be here with my family. I have not been able to go back to work yet and I can't drive yet due to the seizures I had, but I am not on any meds. Sitting around is very difficult for me since I am used to going all the time. I worry that I will relapse a lot. I am very cautious about being around chemicals or smoke that might flair up my lungs. I turned around after prayers were said at the bedside. I could hear them through the coma. I didn't know who I was praying for but I was praying with them. It is a hard blow to anyone, but the feeling of no one understanding your situation and the fact that just because you are now home that there are still problems is the hardest.

 posted 3/18/2012


I survived ARDS in 2002 following a nearly fatal auto accident. I ended up in the hospital for over a month with a broken femur, torn quadriceps and numerous other issues. I developed ARDS within a few days of being hospitalized and spent a large percentage of my time in ICU/CCU in a medically induced coma.
To this day, I deal with shortness of breath as well as constant stomach issues. I really believe that my ARDS caused depression as well. While I may never be "normal" again, after 10 years, I finally feel like I am stepping out from the shadows and finally getting on with my life. I would love to hear from anyone regarding their battle with ARDS and I will gladly be a sounding board for anyone looking to vent their frustrations with the disease or the aftermath of it.

 posted 2/27/2012

April Racki-Sullivan

I had ARDS when I was 17 years old, I was in the ICU for 2 months and then in recovery for another 4 months. Fortunately I am fully recovered and my only aftereffects are the fact that I catch colds and the flu a lot easier. When I was 17 I got the measles which then went into viral pneumonia and then into ARDS. Luckily one of the few people in the country that ran a special ventilator that I required lived in Sacramento. My other lucky break was that I had one of the top lung specialists and I was fortunate that my family practice doctor was out of town and one of the top doctors in Davis stepped in and took me on as a patient. This team of people along with my family that was at my bedside 24/7 saved my life!

 posted 2/26/2012

Sue Moul

I have survived ARDS 4 times since 2005. The pulmonary doctor says I had an exaggerated immune response to "something." I was put on immuno suppressants after my last episode in Jan 2011, but they made me too sick. I am now dealing with all the post ARDS issues: bone necrosis, hip & knee replacement, major depressions, all of it. I know I could write a book! I want to actively communicate with any and every one!

 posted 1/20/2012

James W.

I had recently been promoted at my job to a manager position. Things were looking good. I was in the office on a conference call and began to feel "under the weather" and thought I was coming down with a cold. By the end of the day I was running a slight fever. It was February 16th, my birthday. My girlfriend took me out to eat for my birthday and that night I woke up sweating with a fever. I had to call in to work. A couple of days later I was admitted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in The Woodlands for pneumonia. I was told that I could actually go home if I wanted, but that it would be good to stay if I wanted better care. For some reason I decided to stay. I've never been sick in my life, aside from the flu/colds. Thank god, because with 24 hours, my lungs failed and I then began a journey fighting ARDS. Both lungs, 100%, were affected. It is now November 30, 2011, and I am alive to tell my story. I lost my job and they filled my position, but I'm thankful to be here and be given this second chance at life. The recovery was long and humbling, and I believe I am still dealing with some blood pressure and heart issues, but I am completely normal aside from that. I have been told that I am a special success case by one of my doctors. It occurred to me recently that I should look into a support group or find more information about ARDS, so here I am. It has affected my family greatly, and my future wife greatly. My mother is a nurse at that hospital and everybody who knew her couldn't even look her in the face because nobody knew if I was going to make it. The details of this story probably wouldn't fit here, so I'll leave it at that. I have only begun my research to learn more about what I have experienced and was hoping to hear from others.

 posted 11/30/2011

Bonnie Rupprecht

I became suddenly sick with chills and fever on June 30, 2011, but no cause was found. I had the same fever again on July 31st. This time a chest x-ray showed double pneumonia. I was hospitalized and was flown to Trauma hospital in Denver 3 days later with ARDS. I was on the ventilator for 7 days and discharged on August 15th, yet there was no known cause on why I got sick. In a few weeks, I went back to the hospital with blood clot in my lungs, and they put me on Coumadin. I began to get the recurring chills and fever again that they couldn't diagnose. The pulmonary doctor said the CT scan of my lungs was fine, and I no interstitial disease. The next day I got the chills and had another fever, so I had to build up my oxygen level again. I am now going to 5 specialists and no one can say why I get a fever every few weeks. I know I am lucky to be alive and except for seeing and hearing Germans eating apple strudel, I do not have nightmares. The amnesia drugs worked for me. If anyone has had anything like these recurrent fevers during the year recovery period, please write. If anyone wants to talk about anything, please write me. Just knowing someone out there knows what you are feeling helps.

posted 11/11/2011
Brian Batchelor

I survived this horrid illness nine years ago and am able to work and run my own small business today. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost a loved one.

posted 10/28/2011
Mike Horner

I was admitted to the hospital in early May 2011 after going to a clinic complaining of shortness of breath. I was diagnosed with ARDS and spent the next 100 days in the hospital, most of it in either the ICU unit or a step down ICU. During the ordeal, I was on and off a ventilator for several months, had five chest tubes to manage a pneumothorax in each lung, went into a three day coma and had a small stroke. I was released in the middle of August and have been at home trying to gain weight and strength.

posted 10/6/2011
Cherish Foy Julian

I was rushed to the hospital on January 6, 2011 where they did an emergency c-section under general anesthesia after they had diagnosed me with ARDS resulting from pneumonia from H1N1. My son was born 3 weeks early but healthy. I was in a coma for 6 weeks, ICU for 10 weeks and rehab for 4 weeks. I spent 14 weeks total in the hospital. I have been off oxygen since July 1st and am about 80% physically back to normal. I'm waiting to find out results of new PFT and CT's. I was apparently the worst case of ARDS seen at my hospital (a top lung hospital in the country). They ended up using nitric oxide to help me.

posted 9/29/2011
Tracie Karmann

I was diagnosed with ARDS in September, 1990. I had developed Aspiration Pneumonia which turned into ARDS. I was life flighted from Topeka, Kansas to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City to undergo experimental treatment that LDS hospital had received a grant for. I spent 25 days on a ventilator and about 4 months total in the hospital from start to finish. I have made it 21 years post ARDS, with occasional bouts of bronchitis.

posted 9/18/2011
Cheryl Scheiderer

I had ARDS in January, 2011 following abdominal surgery for ostomy reversal, gallbladder removal and hernia repair. I was on a ventilator for 11 days.

posted 9/17/2011
Tami Grubb

I was pronounced clinically dead twice, and on a vent for 8 days. I stayed in the hospital for 13 days, and am now home with no lingering problems.

posted 9/1/2011
Daniel Emert

Hello, my name is Daniel Ray Emert. I am 37 years old and a single parent. I just got custody of my son Julian Ray Emert last April. This is my horrific story. It was the first part of October, 2003 that I thought I was coming down with a regular cold. It started to get worse so I went to my primary care doctor, they took a throat culture to test for strep and it turned up negative. So he put me on over the counter cold pills and Ibuprofen, and told me that I could return to work and that I should feel better in a couple of weeks. I went back to work and I was feeling worse as the days went by. I went back to my primary care doctor two other times and he said the same thing that I just had a real bad cold and that it will go away. By the third visit I was spitting up reddish sputum. My primary care doctor still said the same thing that I had a real bad cold and that there was nothing to do about a virus. On October 18th, 2003 I went to work, I am an arborist by trade (Tree Specialist) and finished a job by 12:00 pm. I went home because I could not finish the day feeling the way I was, I was spitting up bloody sputum. My parents came by and said that I didn't look too well and should go see my doctor. I told them I saw him three times already and told me that I had a real bad cold. My right side started to hurt real bad and I was almost doubled over. My mother said she was going to take me to the hospital. By the time we arrived at the hospital I could hardly breathe. They put a saturation monitor on me to measure the oxygen level from my body. My oxygen level started to drop fast and they proceeded to run tests, x-rays, insert a chest tube to drain fluid from my right side. I had a real bad case of pneumonia, and while in the hospital I was diagnosed with ARDS. At that point I was put on full life support for two and and a half weeks; I flat lined twice, once for 6 minutes the other 2 minutes, and had vivid dreams. I saw my self being resuscitated by the two doctors and five nurses in the critical care unit. I had dreams such as seeing a man being ground up and being married to a woman at the church I attend . Seeing myself being resuscitated by the doctors and nurses, my pastor said it was an out of body experience. I was released from the hospital November 9th, 2003. I would like to thank my mother Mary C. Emert for being there for me, my sister Darla Benfield; she was there every day until I was released, and my sister Sandra Emert for her support also. Thank you to everyone at First Presbyterian of Roseville, CA for all of the prayers and get well cards.

posted 7/27/2011
Kent Bingham
On January 26, 2007 I was snow skiing and fell sliding down a steep hill and hit a tree on my right side fracturing my right femur. I was taken to a hospital here in Salt Lake City and an Orthopedic Surgeon put my leg back together with a titanium rod from my hip to my knee and another one through my hip. After a week in the hospital recovering I was sent to a rehabilitation facility. I was only there about a day and a half when I started getting a fever and couldn't breathe. They took me back to the hospital and got me stabilized again. Then after a few days I went to another rehabilitation facility only staying there about a day and a half then I had the same symptoms as before and couldn't breathe. They took me back to the hospital which would have been in February 2007. That is the last I remember until I woke up in ICU in April. My family said I was a ventilator in an induced coma. From the discharge notes I had pneumonia, staph infection, MRSA and renal failure. They were going to unplug me twice because they didn't what else to do. At some point in time either March or April they moved me from one hospital to another because the other hospital had a better Pulmonary Unit. So when I woke up on April 16, I remember seeing on the TV the Virginia Tech shootings. At this I was off the ventilator but still on a feeding tube, oxygen, with a trach. I stayed in ICU until April 26 then was moved to the Rehabilitation Floor at the hospital. a Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist worked with me to help me gain my strength. By now I had lost 40 pounds and all of my muscles had atrophied so I had to start over learning to walk, talk, and gain strength in all of my muscles. I continued with rehab until May 26, 2007 when I was discharged from the hospital. I then went to stay with my Mother until the latter part of June, recovering on oxygen, exercising, and gaining my strength back. Twice a week I had physical therapy to regain my strength. I remained on oxygen for a time as well. I was doing pretty good for a while, then a couple of years went by and I kind of plateaud. Then in the middle of May of this year I plummeted. I was put on oxygen 24/7 and my oxygen capacity went from 91% last year to 50% this year along with 84% exchange rate to 24% this year. I would be interested in writing or getting in touch with any ARDS survivor, especially anyone who has been an ARDS survivor more than 3 years.

posted 7/19/2011
I contracted H1N1 and pneumonia, and while hospitalized was also diagnosed with MRSA and ARDS. I am no longer hospitalized and trying to integrate back into my work schedule and am finding it very difficult; much harder than I ever thought possible. I am normally a very positive and outgoing person, but am finding that I am depressed as I seem to not be getting better. I will not accept that "this is the way it will stay" as some seem to say. I won't believe that.

posted 6/20/2011
Darcy Degooyer
Hello, I am trying to find my way back to you all. I hope you are all doing better. See my original post from 3/1/11 for details of my struggle with ARDS. Thanks for all your support. If I can help anybody going through ARDS recovery, please do not hesitate to email me.

posted 5/22/2011
Jude Rheade
I went to the hospital for a routine hysterectomy, but a blood vessel wasn't tied off, so I developed a 2 litre bleed in my abdomen. Further surgery was required and I developed ARDS within 48 hours. I was admitted to critical care, and on a vent for 2 weeks. I lost 2 stones in weight within 2 weeks. I was off work for 6 months, but have returned after 6 months, but experiencing some problems and have become very tearful, which is not like me. There is a world of difference between my feelings and those of my partner as my view is no matter your experience it was me locked in hell and me who was close to dying. It was me losing contact with you, our children, the sun, books and all I know. You would have survived and carried on because that is what we do. Needless to say, we don't agree! I'm still struggling with stiffness, and I've had no follow up or pulmonary function tests since I was discharged. It all feels hard when I should be jumping for joy at being alive.

posted 5/18/2011
Frankie Pardue
I have COPD, so trouble breathing is natural for me. On June 6, 2010, I could get no air. By the time I got to the ER, my oxygen level was around 70. They gave me some kind of shot that paralyzed me. I was screaming but not making a sound, and the nurse was yelling at me to be still. This was the first day of being on life support for 17 days.

posted 5/17/2011
Carol A. Harms
In 2002 I was in the hospital and not expected to live after a quake. The doctor cut artery by mistake, and no one knew, I bled out and was on a ventilator for 2 months. I went off the vent & O2 for a while, and slowly went back on O2. I have no idea what the prognosis is with ARDS.

posted 5/14/2011
Phyllis Quick
On February10-12, I was in Licking Memorial with double pneumonia and sepsis. Both of my lungs collapsed and I had tubes inserted. I was put on life support and transported to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, where I was diagnosed with H1N1 and put in a medical-induced coma for ten days and put on a vent and feeding tube. I was in the hospital for 34 days, then transported to a rehabilitation center for three weeks. In this time I have learned how to walk, swallow and eat again. I am currently going to outpatient therapy twice a week to continue to get stronger. It was a trying time for myself and my mother, who was there for me day after day. She is an angel!

posted 4/22/2011
Carolyn Graves
I became really sick really fast; I was working at University of Pennsylvania at the time. I went to the bathroom with constant diarrhea and it didn't stop, but I did not fill sick. Later that day, I had severe flu symptoms and a fever of 102.8. I couldn't walk. and was vomiting blood. I was diagnosed with H1N1 that turned into double pneumonia. I was in the ICU, and put in an induced coma with ARDS. I was on life support for 7 days, and spent 21 days in the hospital. I had to learn to walk and write all over again, and had slurred speech. I spent 6 months on O2; the first 2 months, I was on oxygen 24 hours a day. After 4 months, I went off the oxygen and began doing 30 minutes of cardio and sculpting and toning. God is real.

posted 4/6/2011
Simon Harrison-Bishop
I was living in France, and was shivering nonstop, and the doctor called and said it was double pneumonia. A week later, my wife called another doctor who had me sent to the nearest hospital. I went straight into "Reanimation," where I was intubated, drugged and put on dialysis. I came out of a coma 19 days later, but had caught a hospital infection Klebsiella which eats lung tissue. I'm weak and have memory loss, and my wife left me. It's been tough. Now I have retrained as a hypnotherapist and am glad to be alive!

posted 3/21/2011
In April 2000, at the age of 43, I had a heart attack due to a blood clot. Two days later, I was diagnosed with ARDS. I was on a ventilator about 17 days and in the hospital for a month. I had a lot of memories, dreams and delirium. I had a long rehab due to heart and lung problems and no muscle tone. I had a lot of therapy and antidepressants. I still sleep long hours and do not have energy, stamina or goals. I also have a poor memory. Is there any hope?

posted 3/7/2011
Darcy DeGooyer
In December, 2008, I became sick for weeks, but I kept going. I worked helping the homeless. I was coughing, had a fever and pain in my joints and chest. I pushed myself to please my supervisor, who was constantly harassing me. Finally, I had time off. I went to my doctor on December 24th, and I had an ear infection and UTI. I was given antibiotics and went home. I don't remember Christmas. On the 26th, I couldn't breathe any longer and drove myself to the ER. I don't remember anything after that. The doctors told my family if I waited another hour, I would have died. I had pneumonia, which turned into ARDS. I was put on life support and a ventilator for weeks. When I woke up, I couldn't move. I still struggle with so much. It was horrible, I had terrible dreams in this coma. I went back to work ASAP, but I knew I wasn't ready. I was afraid of my boss who continued to harass me. I was fired 4 months later, after almost nine years of dedication. I lost everything. I still have nightmares of my coma. Maybe I should not have survived but I did. Sometimes I wished I didn't. But then when I see my grandkids I am happy. What do I do now with all this heartache, depression and pain? I am still sick and have no job. I have memory lapses that have not come back. Your stories let me know I am not alone with this. I want hope back in my life. Thank you to anyone who can help me figure this out.

posted 3/1/2011
Patricia Morrill
I thought I had the the flu and did not go to the hospital for a week, which is not at all like me because I take very good care of my health. When I got there I was admitted to critical care and put on a respirator within a few days. I was in the hospital for 14 days and even thought I do not remember my time on the respirator (7 days) it was unreal and totally unbelievable what was happening to me. I was afraid and felt like I was living in someone's dream. After getting off the respirator I was seeing and hearing things that were not real and I still can remember how real it all was to me. My family was very supportive and someone was with me almost all the time so I had to rely on them to tell me what was going on because I had a hard time grasping the whole situation. I have been home now (after a brief stay back in the hospital for pulmonary embolus) for about 6 weeks. I was very weak and had a very hard time doing anything at first but I gradually am getting some strength back and can do very limited things. I only go out to the doctor and cannot drive. I understand that I may be like this for up to a year and would like to hear other peoples stories and if they have and advice or help. Thank you.

posted 2/13/2011


In March 2009, when I was 32, I got double pneumonia and it developed into ARDS. I wasn't supposed to live. They told my husband I had an hour left and to call my friends and family to say goodbye. I made it through but it was and still is a long hard recovery. I had just started to get somewhat back to normal and then in May 2010, 14 months after the first time, I got sick again. Now it's like I'm starting over from square one. This is such a terrible thing to go through and I pray to God I never do again. Does anyone have similar stories like mine? I'm open to talking and giving and receiving support. Thanks, Darcy

posted 2/7/20

Cindy Seymour

After a week of worsening bronchitis, I was admitted directly to the ICU from the ER with double pneumonia. It turns out it was viral. Five days later, I was down to 23% lung capacity due to ARDS developing, as well as sepsis. I was medically paralyzed, placed in a coma and put on an oscillating ventilator as a last ditch effort to save me. The doctor was not hopeful as adults rarely survive an oscillator---but 50 people showed up and prayed and I received the miracle prayed for. After 3.5 months in hospitals & rehab, with the aid of a walker I walked out and went home--with no oxygen needed. I have not been able to locate any other adults who survived an oscillator and need to find that connection as it seems virtually unique. I have 44% scarring in my lungs, have been in PT for a year to regain proper use of my limbs, and have numerous residual maladies. I would LOVE to communicate with another survivor of "the vent"!!

posted 1/9/20

Maida Ferguson

On September 6, 2010, I went in to have a c-section delivery. After I received a blood transfusion, I immediately was sick all day. For days I was gaining weight and swollen and could not breathe even with oxygen in my nose. Five days later a doctor came in and decided to give me another blood transfusion... the next day I ended up on a ventilator in a coma while my newborn was waiting for me. I was on the ventilator for 2 days. I did a lot of my fighting before I was put on it. I didn't want to give them control of my life so I fought hard on my own not realizing I had ARDS. I dropped 30 pounds of fluid in 1 day. I am still emotionally suffering from what my husband, kids, family and friends went through.

posted 1/7/20

Texana Kowis

I felt tired on February 15, 2010. I went to the doctor the following day and he thought it was asthma. The next week, I went to ER and doctor 3 more times. I was finally hospitalized on February 24, and sent to the ICU on February 26. I was intubated following respiratory failure on February 28 and extubated on March 9. Physical therapy followed, and I went home on May 9, 2010. I'm still on oxygen 24/7, and get a low pulse when active. I have lots of joint pain, my hair fell out, my nails have deep ridges, my vision changed dramatically, I can't concentrate, and have short term memory problems, cognitive issues and low energy.

posted 12/28/20

Jessica Self

On October 6, 2009, I was admitted to the ICU and placed on a vent that night. I was diagnosed with H1N1, bacterial pneumonia and MRSA. On October 15th, they put in a trach and moved me to a specialty hospital on the 19th. I was finally fully awake on October 24th. I had to have surgery to remove a necrotic bed sore on the 30th and was released from the hospital on November 5th with a wound vac on my back for the next 6 months. I still struggle breathing and have a hard time being mobile. Emotionally, I'm still a mess and hoping things will get better.

posted 12/3/20

Lisa Miller

In July, I has asthmatic bronchitis for a month, so the doctors sent me to the hospital because the breathing treatments weren't working. Four days later I went into respiratory failure. The doctors put me on a ventilator and medical coma. My lungs were filling up fast with fluid, I don't remember any on this, but this is what I was told. I just remember a series of nightmares, one where I saw a bunch of famous dead people, and another where the nurses were trying to kill me because they said I was hopeless. The last dream I had was something saying to me "live for your grandson." I woke up after that and it had been 2 and a half weeks since I was in distress. I spent the next 2 months in the hospital paralyzed from the medications and unable to talk. I was weaned off the vent and a trach. Since then I developed a stenosis from the trach and cdiff infection from the antibiotics. I also have critical illness polyneuropathy/myopathy, and panic disorder. It's been 5 months and I still feel yucky. I have no energy, my body feels heavy and I have aches and pains that migrate from my chest pulling to feeling my heartbeat, nausea etc. I don't know if this is all caused by the medication for cdiff or if this is just how it is. I would like to know how other people are physically and mentally faring a year after this crisis. It is putting a strain on my marriage, and my husband thinks that since I can walk now I should be back to almost normal.

posted 11/10/20

Debbie Slaughter

I had a hysterectomy and 6 weeks later developed ARDS. I was in the hospital for 16 days and in the ICU for 12 of those. I almost died and before this hit, I was 100% healthy.

posted 10/11/20

Doug Knutt

Just before Christmas of 1999, I had been feeling sick and found myself having breathing difficulties. I asked my wife to take me to Strong Hospital Emergency, and 24 hours later I was in a coma in the ICU. I remained in a coma for over a month and my family was told that if I was removed from the respirator I would die. The decision was made to remove me and I lived. I had to relearn everything from scratch. It is now some 11 years later and my health continues to decline and the nightmares rule my nights and depression rules my days. But I'm alive. I'm having a tough time right now, and would like to talk to others who may be experiencing similar issues.

posted 10/9/20

Linda M. Yoder

I woke up one morning with a sore throat. The next day I had a fever and a bad cough. I went to the doctor and was admitted for pneumonia. The next day I was somewhat better. That night I was fine at midnight per the nurse. I remember nothing, but at 4:30 in the morning I was in severe respiratory distress. They said I had aspirated. I was intubated and air lifted to a bigger hospital. I woke up 12 days later, unable to even lift myself up on my elbows, and I was unable to sit up, stand, talk or anything. I am currently in rehab, and am still weak, have a hoarse voice and my handwriting is not my own. I'm depressed, weak and tired. I had just recovered from two back surgeries and dread rehab again.

posted 10/6/20

Connie Beck

In November 2000, I came down with pneumonia which quickly turned into ARDS. I was in a coma for 6 weeks & on a vent for 8 weeks. While on the vent, the circulation to my hands & feet were compromised and they developed gangrene. My hands healed, but both of my feet had to be amputated. Ten years later I still need oxygen 24/7 & I struggle with anxiety & depression But, I'm ALIVE!!

posted 9/24/20

Monique Levesque

I was struck with ARDS on December 20, 2002 and awoke January 1, 2003. The doctors said I had pneumonia though I had gone to work that day even though I didn't feel great. I had to be medivaced from Yukon to Alberta & wasn't expected to survive. In 2004, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, though it doesn't explain all the pain that we all feel. I recall things from the coma like it was yesterday. I did see a therapist about this. I'm so different I had to detach from my family of 3 sisters because I felt they were angry for putting them through this ordeal & moved 4000 miles away. I'm now at ease with my cat, have learned much about self-care, but could also use some support as well. I may have some answers for some, and need answers from others. It's not all bad news in the final analysis; at times I'm even grateful for ARDS for it has taught me much about myself, my family, friends and life.

posted 9/23/20

Kathy Flannery

Hi, I have posted other posts. I am now 21 months post ARDS and feel great for the most part. I have around 80% of my lung capacity back, but I do have had a constant drainage trickling down my throat where I cough a lot and sneeze. This trickling seems to always be there. It is driving me nuts and I cannot get any answers for this. Does anyone else have this issue? Is it caused from the ventilator? Any advice is much appreciated.

posted 8/20/20

Michael Danielek

I have recurring issues, and questions regarding the exact nature and timing of different events. I had dreams that were vivid and almost real that were totally recalled while associating those same dreams with night, day or prone repositioning during my medically induced coma. I had sepsis, congestive heart failure, kidney failure and liver failure that were experienced or treated during the two month coma.

posted 8/18/20


It has been 9 months since I was admitted to the hospital (November 7, 2009). They still say I have ARDS. My CT show no improvement. I have a lot of scarring and inflammation. I am getting frustrated. The hot, humid weather has set me back. The doctor says to continue the treatment plan, but he does not answer when I ask what the treatment plan is. I tell him I have not felt well in over 3 weeks; I am coughing and occasionally coughing up colored phlegm. I had double pneumonia last fall. I was admitted and I remember the ER part, but don't remember much for a month and a half after that. When they put me in a medical induced coma, I had a stroke that affected my left side. I did not wake up from the coma for 8 days, so there was no need to put me back into the coma. They then just kept me heavily sedated. I spent a month in the ICU, 2 1/2 weeks at a different hospital to get me off of the vent and another 6 weeks at a rehabilitation hospital to learn to sit, dress, walk, etc. I lost most of my hair like I was a cancer patient. I like this shows everyone did not have a good experience and recovery is different for all of us. So maybe there is hope.

posted 8/5/20

Jamie Olson

I suffered from ARDS in May of 1996.

posted 8/4/20

Jenn Matheson

In June 2009, I went into the hospital with pneumonia. They said I would be there 3 to 5 days. I took a turn for the worse and was intubated three days later, then had a tracheotomy two weeks later. I was then diagnosed with ARDS. I was in a drug induced coma for six weeks, in ICU for 3.5 months, and in rehab for another six weeks. I had to relearn how to sit, stand, walk, talk, eat, and function again. I have been recovering at home with lots of PT and OT, and I will go back to work in August 2010. I am still on 24 hour a day oxygen, but my strength and spirit has returned!

posted 7/11/20

Michael DeCastro

I went through chemo starting in June 2008. By my fourth treatment, my immune system was very weak and I acquired double pneumonia, which led to ARDS. I was in a coma for over 2 weeks and spent a month in intensive care. While in the coma, my family was called in and doctors told them I wasn't going to survive. Then one day after 16 days or so, I just woke up. It took a year and a half before I actually started feeling better.

posted 6/30/20

Valentina Ammons-Lawrence

On November 18, 2009, I was admitted to UPMC Passavant's ER for pneumonia related H1N1 influenza. I was told, "it's just pneumonia.. you'll be home in 2-3 days." On November 20, I took a turn for the worse, having developed ARDS. I was intubated and life flighted to UPMS Presbyterian, and remained intubated until December 11, 2009. After rehabilitation, I was able to leave the hospital on December 28th, 40 days after initially being admitted. I was unable to go back to work until mid-May, due to a nasty bedsore acquired while in ICU.

posted 6/24/20

Susi Glatczak

I was diagnosed with sepsis and ARDS in July 2006. It's been a long hard journey and I am left with many long-lasting stoppers. I am not the person I was, and that in itself has had many effects. I am on many medications and still trying to find out "why am I still alive"? Please let me know some of the struggles that you all face, both physically and definitely emotional conflicts and changes.

posted 6/22/20

Adora-Marie Higgins

I got ARDS in 1991 as the result of sepsis from an IV while 16 weeks pregnant. I lost the baby. I was on a ventilator for 3 months and experienced many of the things I have read about in the Pen Pal section. It's 19 years later & I cried reading the stories. I have 40% diffusion capacity in my lungs and a tremor and occasional aches in arms & legs from Heterotrophic Ossifications. All else is fine and I live a normal life. I was an ICU nurse and went to medical school after the ARDS because I was mad when they told me in rehab that my "brain was not thinking well." I still get short of breath and still have some insomnia and PTSD from my experience. I had a baby a year after ARDS. I think the anxiety and stress response I hear about from many of the survivors is the very reason we are alive today--because our bodies could mount a stress response like few others. I'm interested in how long-term survivors of ARDS are doing.

posted 6/21/20

Barbara White

On December 31, 2009, I went to the ER and was sent home. I went to my family doctor on the 5th and was admitted in the hospital ICU with double pneumonia. I was ventilated on the 8th and diagnosed with ARDS and sepsis with very little chance to live. It's a miracle and thank goodness God answered my family and friends prayers or I wouldn't be here! I spent 37 days on a ventilator and trachea in a coma. After 7 weeks in ICU and 2 weeks in a Rehab hospital building my strength to walk and talk, I am finally back at home working towards my freedom from oxygen support. I'm back working full time. I get tired easily, but my concentration is much better now.

posted 6/20/20


I survived ARDS that struck me on December 9, 2003. I was on the verge of death for almost two months. I had not been feeling well for a while and I had already had been diagnosed with pneumonia four times that year. I had been a lifelong asthmatic and diabetic and just noticed that my lung function had rapidly deteriorated to the point that I did not even have the strength to dry off after a shower. With my husband deployed to Iraq at the time, my health was on the back burner until the evening I could hardly move. This was the most terrifying time in my life. I still am scared out of my wits to think back on the time I was in the hospital and the bits and pieces that I remember while sedated and the things I remember after coming off the vent. I was left with severe lung damage from winning the battle with ARDS and other health problems and now need a double lung transplant. I did RT, OT, PT afterward for months and was, at one point, off O2 for a year and a half until having a reaction while on the vent during a operation in 2006, and my lung function once again, never having been what it once had been, has gotten worse and am now on 4-5 lpm of O2. I am now remarried to a wonderful man and actually got pregnant after giving up hope for another child after 3.5 years of ART and carried him to term and he is a wonderful happy little guy that happened naturally with no assistance 2.5 months after being told I was being put on the transplant list. Despite warnings to my and his health, it all turned out fine thanks to our wonderful doctors. I still have severe issues with insomnia, nightmares, brain fog, math, anxiety, depression, pain, my own mortality and lots of other things that I am working on.

posted 6/6/20

Charles Chesteen

After contracting H1N1 that progressed into double pneumonia is both lungs, ARDS set in. I was intubated immediately on arrival at my local ER and eventually a trach was put into place. I ended up in a medical coma from 12/23/2009 until 1/31/2010. I spent 27 days in the ICU and a total of 70 in the hospital and rehab.

posted 6/4/20

Jamie Kay Seratt

It all happened so fast. I stayed home from work on February 15, 2010 because I didn't feel well. By noon I was in an emergency room and being admitted with pneumonia. My family says I developed ARDS two days later and couldn't breathe and was transported to a larger hospital and put on a ventilator. I was in the ICU for three weeks in a drug induced coma. My total hospital stay was 5 weeks. I had to go a rehab floor for over a week, and had physical therapy at my parent's home. I lived with my parents for six weeks getting back on my feet.

posted 6/3/20


I had ARDS in 1997 and was in a drug induced coma for two months. I was sick again in 2008 with ARDS.

posted 5/24/20

David Lewis

I had a respiratory arrest following chest surgery in January 2008. My ARDS resulted in 5 weeks in ICU. Now, in mid 2010, I have been working full time for the last 18 months. It is sometimes difficult because of my chronic lung problems. Working as a family doctor, I am constantly reminded how lucky I am!

posted 5/23/20


In December 2009, I came down with H1N1, which quickly turned into viral pneumonia. On Christmas Day, I was medevaced to Anchorage, Alaska for treatment. I woke up on New Year's Eve in a strange city 700 miles from home and could not remember the previous 5 days. Luckily I have friends in the city that were able to be present while I was on the ventilator. I was told that I had ARDS as a result of the pneumonia. I was in the hospital for another 7-10 days and probably should have stayed longer, but I wanted to go home. At first I took it easy, but recently it seems that I have hit a plateau and I am not improving. Everyone says I have to be patient and it might take 6 months to a year to fully recover. I am starting to have some PTSD symptoms and reading the articles on this site have helped me understand that I am not crazy regarding mental gaps and memory issues, PTSD, fear that I can't breathe when I experience shortness of breath, hallucinations when I first came off the ventilator. So thanks. I appreciate all that you have shared. It really does help. This is the first that I feel I can even read about ARDS. When I first got out of the hospital and found that only 60-75% recover, I was very scared. But now I am a survivor. I have asthma and am concerned that this could happen again. I guess that is a fear I share with others.

posted 5/12/20

Melissa Thayer

I went to bed on January 30 and woke up in the ICU and it was February 12. I had been intubated for 12 days. On February 1, my husband came in to check on me and found me gray with blue lips. My sat was 37%, my temperature was 103.7, and they couldn't get a blood pressure on me. The ICU doctor told my doctor that I was going to die. That's a lot to wake up to.

posted 4/20/20

Brandon Lagerquist

I drove myself to the ER on October 24, 2009 with severe breathing problems. They sent me to a different hospital via ambulance and the last thing I remembered was having a tube shoved down my throat. I woke up about a month and a half later and did not leave the hospital until March 31, 2010. My lungs failed, my kidneys failed, my liver failed, and my heart had palpitations. I contracted numerous infections including MRSA. I also got a pulmonary embolism. I lost so much strength that I couldn't lift my arms or legs. My wife went through hell as the doctors repeatedly told her I would die. I had numerous intense and vivid hallucinations that took me months to realize that they didn't really happen. I find myself constantly reliving those 5 months in the hospital, I can't get it out of my mind.

posted 4/16/20

Jeaneen Oscamou

I went to Aruba for my 25th anniversary and I believe I contacted H1N1 most likely in Miami on the plane. I got back and went to my doctor to check out some sea urchin bites. I was fine and 2 days later I could not breathe and hardly walk. My husband took me back to Kaiser and they immediately sent me to ER. My husband went home to get the mail and feed the dogs, returned and the doctors said I was most likely not going to live through the night. I did and they put me in ICU, which I was in for a month. On the 21st day they took me off the respirator. I was in an induced coma for the entire month. I went home as soon as I could with oxygen. Today I am walking and doing well, but I am very depressed and I am beginning to have dreams being in ICU. There were other people around me who had ARDS, but they did not make it. I think because I had so much love and support and no pre-conditions, along with always exercising I made it. I also had a Jin Shin Jitsu healer come to my bedside. The doctors call it a miracle. I am however still very very depressed. Love to all of you.

posted 3/16/20

Brynda Gerhards bsgerhards@msn.comh

On March 5,2005, I came home from a doctor's appointment feeling fine. I had an ear infection and was given an antibiotic. The next morning I awoke feeling tired. I decided to stay in and negotiate a real estate deal. The next thing I remember, I was in a cold room with my husband looking into my eyes telling me I almost died. I am in a hospital with a row of doctors at the foot of my bed. My daughter and a dear friend are also there. I can't understand the concern and smiles on their faces. I have an open wound in my neck. I smell an awful smell. My body feels horrible. I don't understand if I am alive or dead. Could one feel this horrible and still be alive? It becomes night and things were swimming in my head. I am frightened. I was fearing what was around me and what was inside me. I am told it is May. I am told there is war. Kelly Clarkson. Should I know her? I cannot walk and can barely stand. I talk, but no one knows what I say. Everything hurts. Even my hair hurts. I cannot read. On Memorial Day weekend, I am home. It's a holiday. I don't know what it means. I cannot lift the milk to pour on my Cheerios. I am afraid to swallow the cereal dry. It may come out the gape in my neck. I get into the bathtub. It hurt so much to bend my knees to sit. The warm water feels so nice. I cannot stand. I cannot, no matter what I do, get out of the tub. I sit for 4 hours until someone comes to my home. There is skin hanging off my arms and legs. I think I am dying. Or I have died and didn't know it. ARDS. Sepsis. Ruptured appendicitis and peritonitis. I don't understand. I was in a coma for more than 60 days. I almost died four times. And I am angry. Why? What did I do?

posted 3/2/20

Frankie McCormick- Cooper penelopefinch1@yahoo.comh

In July 2009, I had a routine ERCP. As a result I suffered an acute pancreatitis attack and spent 3 weeks intubated in the ICU. This resulted in full blown ARDS. My life as I knew it is no longer existed. I am thankful to be alive, but some days it is really hard.

posted 3/1/20

Heather Schreen

On October 16, 2009, I was a healthy wife, mother and second grade teacher. I started feeling sick while out shopping. I went to the urgent care on October 19th, and was diagnosed with bronchitis. On October 21st, I was admitted to the hospital with double pneumonia and H1N1. Two days later, I was air lifted to Decones Hospital on life support and in a drug induced coma due to ARDS. I spent 53 days in the hospital, most of which was in the CCU on a vent and unconscious. I left the hospital with 39% lung function, oxygen and using a walker. I started physical therapy, and my strength improved, but when exerting (even walking), my heart rate goes up in the 140's and oxygen levels go to the low 80's. After being home for six weeks, I  got double pneumonia (early stages) and went back in the hospital for 9 days. While in the hospital, I started having irregular as well as rapid heart beats. I'm home now taking a lot of medications.(Levofloxacin, Medrol, Bystolic, Potassium, Diovan, Xopenex, Cardizem, Nexium) and wondering how long this recovery takes.

posted 2/20/20


In March 2009, I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The doctors put me on antibiotics, but one day later I wound up in the emergency room. I really have no memory of this as my o2 sat at that time was 56. I woke up 2 weeks later and had no idea what had happened! Recovery has been very difficult and am glad to find people who have experienced the same thing. I am interested in hearing others stories and sharing mine.

posted 2/14/20


I am terrified!! I have had ARDS twice and was on life support twice. Iím so afraid of the damage done to my lungs and that I am a high risk for another ARDS episode. I don't even remember what happened to me both times; one was after a surgery; I was infected and got septic. The last occurred last month. I had a severe lung infection and the doctors could not diagnose it. No antibiotics worked. I am lucky to be here.

posted 1/31/20

Gayle Charlesworth

I was diagnosed with ARDS on December 20, 2003. I was in drug induced coma for 3 weeks and was finally sent home after a total of 6 weeks in the hospital. All I remember are different dreams I had. My doctor was not able to give my wife much hope until after the third week. My chances were less than 40%. I am not the same as before but I am happy just to be alive. I still suffer from some effects like burnt muscles from the steroids used to fight the disease, loss of teeth from calcium deficiency and of course low capacity in my lungs. This is not a disease that I would wish on anyone nor do I want to go through it again.

posted 1/30/20

Linda Kaehne

I went to the ER with complications from a kidney stone on December 10, 2009. That is the last thing I remember, with the exception of the horrible dreams, until January 20. My kidneys and liver were in acute failure and I developed ARDS. I know I'm lucky to be alive and would like the opportunity to share my stories as well as listen to other's stories.

posted 1/27/20

Michael Davis

I was in a motorcycle accident with a punctured lung that led to subsequent ARDS. I survived only after the last resort of being inverted on the bed for several days.

posted 1/18/20

Sunnie Walden

During Spring Break, in the middle of March 2009, I had my gallbladder removed. I was sent home the next day, but was dehydrated and had a fever. I have two memories after that. One was of me vomiting and the other was someone saying they would take care of me. I left the ICU in the first part of May, and spent another 6 weeks in critical care, followed by rehab. I went home on June 10, 2009. After waking from the 5 week coma, I was not able to move any part of my body or speak. It is now Christmas and almost 2010. I am a second grade teacher. I make it through ever day. I have cognitive issues. I ache all the time. My original diagnosis was aspiration pneumonia, sepsis and ARDS. I am lucky to be alive. But I sometimes wish I could talk to someone that would understand what I am feeling.

posted 12/26/2009

Katherine Culbreth

I entered the hospital on July 7th with viral bilateral pneumonia and ended up with ARDS and in a drug induced coma. I was so out of it that my family was told that I would die. I was very sick and on a ventilator for 22 days. I woke up 30 days later and had to learn how to walk and feed myself. I could not move anything but my head. I was in the hospital for 2 months. My lung capacity is now at 73%.

posted 12/14/2009

Patty Ingle

After complications from removing my gall bladder I was diagnosed with ARDS. Like others, we had no idea what it was. Thank god for family and friends. I was released from the hospital November 1, 2009 after 12 days in the ICU. The first days were hard, but each day gets better, I still get very tired, and have no energy to do things. When I came home from the hospital, I was on 15 different prescriptions. I am now down to 6. It is nice to see the stories of others.

posted 11/30/2009

Kim Baggett

I went to the ER on September 27, 2009 with what we thought was the flu. I woke up in the hospital 4 weeks later and was told I had ARDS. I had never heard of this condition and am just now learning about it. I was released to go home in late October, but had to return for a blood transfusion. I am back home now, but hardly back to my normal routine and am unable to go back to work at this time.

posted 11/28/2009

Terri Farenga

In 2006, I had a hysterectomy. Three days later I was in the hospital again because my appedix was punctured. The poisons from this went into my bloodstream and into my lungs. I was in the ICU for 3 days and in the hospital for 2 weeks.

posted 11/17/2009

Lisa Boyd

I woke up in the ICU with no memory of an illness; I was unable to speak, stand or even identify family members. Three days later I could mumble "please" and "home." I recognized my partner, Mother and Father. I was allowed a liquid diet but only wanted popcicles. This occured in February 2009. I've recovered my walking fairly quickly. I only stayed in recovery 1 week. My memory has suffered the most. I require assistance with writing and spelling. I am currently listed as disabled. My doctor says I am much better and a miracle. I have vivid nightmares, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, phantom pains and a frustration level that is through the roof. People tell me my initial O2 sats or blood gas were 37. I don't remember. My friends don't come around because I am different. I cut grass, clean house and make myself useful. I'm sorry, but my memory is still dim.

posted 11/11/2009

Marilyn Thompson

Within 24 hours, I was blue in color, had an increased temperate and high blood pressure. My complete negative blood work and cxr were positive, but my breathing was labored. I was put on a respirator and air lifted to CMMC in Auburn, ME. I was on the respirator for 4 days; now I am slowly recovering and building up stamina 4 weeks later.

posted 11/5/2009


In March of 2009, I went to urgent care thinking that I had pulled something in my back. The pain was so severe, I described it as child birth without pain medications. I was admitted to the hospital, and told I had lung cancer. Then I do not remember anything until the end of April 2009. I was put into a paralytic coma, diagnosed with CA-MRSA, had ARDS, was on a ventilator for the maximum time, and then had a trach. I had OT, PT, and speech therapy to help me recover. I was in the hospital for over 6 weeks. I spent all of the summer in puliminary rehab. I also have the hair loss issue; my doctor says it is Telegen Effluvium (caused by the trauma) and it is temporary. I have attention/concentration issues that I never had pre-coma. I also had 'dreams' while in a coma, but for the most part, they were not horrible. However, the 'dream' events still do seem real. I am alive and it is a miracle. God and prayers are why I am still here. However, I fatigue very easy and am not capable of what I used to be able to do. I was also told that it could take 1 to 1 1/2 years to get back to myself or as close as I am going to get to my old self. I would very much appreciate talking with someone who has had a similar experience to mine. I am also TERRIFIED of getting sick again. Reading that others have had ARDS more than once is very scary to me since it has only been 7 months for me.

posted 11/2/2009

Jenny Deatherage

My name is Jenny Deatherage and I am an ARDS survivor (times 2). I am 38 and 3 years post ARDS. I originally had a laparoscopy of the abdomen to look for the reason I was having abnormal vaginal bleeding. Everything went fine and I was sent home after the procedure. Three hours later I had incredible pain in my abdomen and stopped breathing. An ambulance was called and I was admitted for respiratory distress. They soon found out I had ARDS and I was placed on a vent. I woke up 6 weeks later after ďgoingĒ to Aruba on a crazy dream. I got well enough eventually for them to tell me I had cancer. I really weird rare cancer called Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma and needed a hysterectomy. So I had that surgery and then 3 days later I developed ARDS again. This time it took me out for 3 or 4 weeks and I ďtraveledĒ to the Old West looking for my family through another crazy dream that seemed to last the entire 3 weeks. I have since recovered from the ARDS however have several serious health issues that I didnít even realize were due to the ARDS until I saw your website! Chronic pain, sleep issues, concentration problems, mobility & coordination issues etc. I was particularly interested in contacting Robin as her ordeal seemed to mirror my own. I would love to talk with anyone who has gone through this very strange ARDS process. I am also very interested in any therapy available for people that have had this disease. I am 3 years out, not even 40 yet and feel like an old woman. I canít travel above 3500 feet Ė if I do, my lips and fingers start tingling and I fall asleep from lack of oxygen. My sats when I go into the doctor vary from 88 to 92 percent and he doesnít feel oxygen is necessary, but I still feel like Iím breathing through a straw. I would really like to share stories & discuss the very real, sometimes frightening dreams that occur. For years after my ordeal I still have a hard time believing some of the things that happened in the dreams were not real. Please contact me if you'd like to talk.

posted 10/7/2009

Michael Lum

I had ARDS on January 2, 2004. I was in the ICU for one month on a medically induced coma. I almost "flat-lined" 3 times. At one point my body swelled up and my extremities turned black and blue. I just missed having four limbs being amputated by one day. A priest was brought in to administer the "last rites" because everyone thought I was going to die. I was on a trach for the next 2 1/2 months. I had extensive P/T & O/T for the next 8 months, but was able to enjoy Thanksgiving & Christmas. Everything was looking better until May 2005 when I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which was re-diagnosed to CIDP 2 months later. This is another story...

posted 10/6/2009

Jenny Deatherage

I had 2 bouts of ARDS within 3 months of each other. The first following a laparoscopy of my abdomen. I was in ICU on vent support for 6 weeks. The next one was 3 days after my hysterectomy (due to Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma) and lasted 3 weeks.

posted 10/2/2009

Trey Rogers

I am 15 and had exploratory surgery for what they thought was appendicitis. I came out of surgery and everything was fine. Fiften minutes later, the anesthesiologist told my parents I had stopped breathing and had non-cardio pulmonary edema. I was on a bi-pap for 4 days. Is this the same as ARDS? There is no information in my hospital records of this and I am not sure why it happened. All I remember is them trying to put the tube back in a couple of times. If you have any input, please let me know.

posted 9/24/2009


I had ARDS in 2004, and then I had it again in 2006. It was the scariest thing I have ever been through. I still have nightmares about it. I would love to talk to others who have gone through it and hear their stories. I will be waiting.

posted 9/18/2009

Kathy Flannery

I was listed as Kathy Reynolds but since have married. I am now 9 months past ARDS. I had horrible hair loss and now have hair coming in frizzy all over. Has anyone experienced this?  It is now in a bob cut and the texture is fine and fly away. I still have some lung issues, with a lot of phlegm at times and a tickle in my throat that makes me cough and sneeze. My knee joints ache and my feet still swell. It's horrible what ARDS leaves us with. Any help would be much appreciated.

posted 9/7/2009

Deborah Aldrich-Watson

I was diagnosed with ARDS in May 2002. No definitive cause was established for the onset of the disease--no lung injury, trauma, etc. I was in the ICU for one month; then suddenly I was breathing on my own again. Six months later, my husband and I adopted our two young sons. I have no lasting effects from ARDS, but recently I've been wondering if the frequent fluid build up in my ears, causing frequent insertion of tubes, is due to ARDS rather than to any infections my kids may bring home from school.

posted 8/28/2009


Here is a timeline of my story:

*24 June 09-Swine flu with 39.8 temp
*Weirdly dizzy and listless
*Waited too long to see doctor and went to a small hospital and sent in ambulance straight to Base hospital. (oxy saturation sitting at 86)
*Isolated in ER for 2 days
*Admitted to ICU and put on ECMO (called 'Elvis')
*Major midnight panic attack and midnight induced coma
*Died and revived twice with adrenalin
*Awakened from coma- told of ARDS condition. First I'd ever heard of it.
*Memories of 10 day coma
*3 days of hallucinations coming out of coma
*4 weeks in ICU, 2 weeks in ward, 6 weeks care at parents home
*Worried family and friends
*Rehab and change to work and lifestyle

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME AND I HAVE HAD GOOD MEMORIES DESPITE THE ADVERSITY. Despite how sick I got and after the panic attack, I never let this get to me and took it all in stride. If you want to chat or need some support or any details of any of the above story, feel free to contact me.

posted 8/26/2009

Janice Eary

I live in the UK near Manchester. In April 2008 I went in to hospital for bowel surgery; during the surgery my small bowel was nicked in 2 places. This caused peritonitis which went undiagnosed for 6 days. I developed severe ARDS. I was ventilated and spent 6 days in a coma. I then had a trach, and was woken up. Then followed the worst 8 weeks of my life while I remained on a vent in ICU fully awake in severe pain and frequently vomiting. In total I spent 3 months in the hospital. Those are the bald facts behind which lies a lot of pain physically and mentally. My case is complicated by the fact I also have post polio syndrome. I would love to be able to talk to someone who has experienced both conditions. I have found it helpful to read others experiences, but at the moment I find it very difficult to talk in detail about my own. Do other people feel like this?

posted 8/25/2009

Suzanne Lee

I'm 31 and barely survived a bout with a staph infection that led to septic shock, multiple organ failure and ARDS right after my 30th birthday. I was on an oscillating vent in a coma for 3 weeks then switched to a regular vent for about another 3. I had a trash...the whole nine. I had to learn to walk, eat, dress myself again, etc. I am pretty much back to normal except my body and bones are weaker than they were pre-ARDS and I have suffered a broken heel and broken finger in the last 4 months doing non-strenuous activities. I have been through hell and back with this and would like to extend my help to anyone who needs it.

posted 8/19/2009

Julie Isaac

My daughter is 6 years old. Where do I begin? She was diagnosed with a brain tumor after many months of me begging for help to find out what was wrong with her. She then perforated her bowel two times and spent 6 weeks in a coma, with kidney failure and ARDS. She had to heal from the inside out from the perforated bowels. Ivory had a trach for 6 months. This all took place last year, and Ivory is now cancer free. We do MRIs every 3 months and see many doctors due to everything that has happened. Ivory continues to have a lot of problems with her lungs.

posted 8/8/2009

Keith Lipman

We packed for a 6 day trip to Chicago and wound up there for 40 days! 37 of them in a hospital, 2 weeks of that in a coma and 7 days of that pronounced clinically dead. Now I am home now for 2 weeks in recovery, The doctors still don't know what did this to me. Thank god I had my partner there to support me. I am now trying to walk to the bathroom without getting winded. The "bug" also did damage to my ventricle push in my heart, and I just can't seem to cough up the mass in my lower right lung. I was just removed from my antibiotic drip and put on Aygmentin for 4 weeks. More tests, including a CT and EKG, are scheduled for next week. I am in PTSD for sure; I cry all the time. I just finished crying about how hard it is just to go to the bathroom and my partner told me to go here and write about it and find someone to talk to. So here I am in Phoenix. Thanks!

posted 8/2/2009

Tammy Fife-Trout

I ended up in the ER twice on Jan.1, 2009. I thought I had a bad case of the flu. It turned out to be Legionella Bacteria. That went into double pneumonia, then to ARDS. I was put in a rotoprone bed for 21 days, on a vent for 41 days, then had a tracheotomy. I was taken out of the rotoprone bed, then to a sports bed, then to a regular room for about 5 days. I was then moved to rehab for one week. This was a miracle in itself; they expected me to be there a couple of months. My family, doctors, nurses, friends all call me a pure miracle. Thanks to GOD, many prayers and faith, I survived. It is now six months later. I suffer with joint and muscle pain, depression, exhaustion, major hair loss and other symptoms. I was told it would take a year or longer to get better and I may never be back to my old self. I did return to work on June 1st. This is probably the best therapy for me. I do cry a lot and I am afraid of catching any kind of sickness. I don't want to go back there ever again. I had horrific hallucinations, and I couldn't walk alone in the beginning. I could barely feed myself because of severe tremors. Since I came home, I have celebrated my daughter's 18th birthday, my son's 16th birthday, my husband's 50th birthday, my daughter's high school graduation and open house and now she will be going to college in less than a month. I have good days and bad days, but I am so thankful for a second chance at life.

posted 7/25/2009

Keith Greer

I had ARDS about five years ago. I was playing football for the University of Idaho in the first game of the season against Washington State. Late in the game I took a helmet to my shin which ended up breaking. About a day after I had surgery to repair my broken leg I was diagnosed with ARDS. I was put into a medically induced coma for a month. The recovery process was helped greatly by my friends and family, which I am very grateful to have. I eventually made it back on the football field 5 months after being released from the hospital. I wasn't 100% by then, but I eventually got there and even had a short stint in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints a couple years later.

posted 7/22/2009

Cheri Crider Kyprianou

I was 21 weeks along with fraternal twin girls when my water broke. One of the twins had an infection, so I went into early labor and delivered them both deceased. I was released from the hospital and 3 days later was back in the ER with a high fever. I ended up getting sepsis and then ARDS from the birth. I have been out of the hospital now 4 weeks, but am still recovering.

posted 7/20/2009

Kathy Reynolds

Well this is my fourth posting. I am now almost 9 months post ARDS. If anyone else has had this issue, I would appreciate a reply. My hair fell out in handfuls; it is growing back and looks fine, I just have shorts new hairs everywhere. Anyone else had this issue?

posted 7/11/2009

Jenni T.

I am a 35 year old mother of 17 and 10 year old boys. I went in for intestinal surgery in March 2009. On the day I was being discharged, the nurse over sedated me. I remember 6 people around my bed trying to wake me up saying I wasn't breathing. Next I remember being rushed through the hall on my bed to the ICU. They tried a Cpap, but decided to intubate. I awoke 9 days later. My doctor told me that my chest x-ray was a TOTAL WHITEOUT!!! The worst x-ray ever seen by the head of the pulmonary department. For 7 days there was no change. Then finally I pulled through. After a 20 day stay in the hospital, I returned home on oxygen. I was taken off after a week and now here I am. During a follow-up visit with my surgeon and primary care doctor, I was told that they didn't think I would survive. Not only was my x-ray the worst, but they never found a cause for the ARDS. They thought I aspirated, but there was no bacteria or virus in my lungs. They don't know how or why it happened. It's just a good thing that I hadn't been discharged yet; I would have gone to sleep and never woke up. I am feeling pretty normal now, but I am still frightened to think that simply...I almost never came home. Thank God for letting me live. The more I learn about ARDS, the scarier it is. I am feeling healthy and preparing to head back to college in the fall. I am interested in talking to other survivors. Wow! I'm a survivor!

posted 7/7/2009

Elizabeth Spelce

I am a 17 month survivor of ARDS. I had surgery on 2/1/08 to remove my spleen that was attached to my pancreas. I woke up 3 1/2 months later in a bed in the ICU where I actually work as a RN. The pancreas is not a good organ to mess with (my doctor said - God hid it for a reason). After 126 days on the vent and 2 rehab hospitals, I was able to learn to walk again. The pain from stiff ankles and feet is really tough to handle some days. The doctors say that I will get back about 75% of my lung function. I try to live a normal life -- but am not really sure what that is nowadays. I do things slowly and space them as much as possible. I know that I am here for a reason. At work they call me the Mercy (name of the hospital where I work) Miracle. It is amazing that many survivors are going through the same things that I am. Even though I feel alone at times (my family and friends really don't understand), I feel very connected with other survivors. One thing that gets me through my day: my husband said that he never doubted for a minute that I wouldn't come home.

posted 7/6/2009

Patrick Scott Mc Carrel

G'day. My name is Patrick Scott Mc Carrel. I'm from Australia and I'm a survivor of ARDS. I developed ARDS last year after being diagnosed with mild pancreatitis. I was in induced coma for 4.5 weeks with a vent; altogether I was in the hospital for 8 weeks. For 7 weeks, I couldnít remember anything. It has been 18 months since and I'm doing ok. I still have headaches and sore joints and muscles, but I think I'm one of the lucky ones and had a very good medical crew looking after me.

posted 7/1/2009

Kathy Reynolds

I am now at almost 8 months of recovery from ARDS. It has been a long journey but I am doing better day to day. I am now able to go to the gym and weight lift again. Cardio is more of a challenge. I had total lung failure on November 10, 2008 and 30% on December 23rd when I came home. I was at 50% in April and now up to 76%. So I hope it continues. I do have weird things though. My feet swell, and my hair fell out in handfuls. Has anyone else experienced this? Let me know, and God bless your journey.

posted 6/29/2009

Sister Anne Marie Mc Laughlin

I am a Franciscan Sister and work in the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. For about a year, I felt really unwell and was constantly vomiting. Last September a deep cough developed and I was asked to have a hospital checkup by my General Practitioner. I was admitted immediately and placed in an oxygen tent with suspected Legionnaires disease. My consultants then placed me in an induced coma for six weeks. On awakening from the coma, I was paralyzed from head to toe having developed ARDS and neuropathy. I remained in intensive care for two months followed by a lengthy hospital stay. Learning to walk and talk again was quite a challenge after my tracheotomy operation. My sister Clare was my mainstay during all my trials as well as other family members, devoted friends, religious sisters, and priests with whom I lived and worked. All in all life is good; my recuperation is moving along and I simply savor life, which is so much more precious with all aspects especially nature being heightened to me now. My short term plan is to write a book to help other sufferers of this ferocious illness. I am very fortunate to belong to the Franciscan Order in that I have marvelous consolation and support through my own faith.

posted 6/14/2009

Staci Lister

I am a mother of three boys and one baby girl that I had March 23, 2009. On March 30, 2008 I went into the hospital with really bad pains in my stomach. I was diagnosed with pancreatitis. By the third day, the hospital staff had to put me into a medically induced coma because of ARDS. I was in really bad shape and they did not think I was going to make it. I was told that I should have been dead. They thought they were going to have to put me on the ECMO machine, but luckily they did not have to. I was in my coma for 30 days and in the hospital for 38 days. I am always so scared that if I get sick again, I will go though the same thing I went through last year, but I won't come back from it. By the end of June 2008, I was pregnant. I was scared I was going to give birth and then something would go wrong and I would die. Even though this last year has been so hard, I feel better then I ever did. Because of what I went through last year, I no longer smoke and I am living my life better and taking better care of myself. I have to give thanks to God and the people who prayed for me to get better. And I have to thank my husband because no matter what the doctors told him, he stayed positive and told everyone that I was going to be fine and home soon. Even though you may feel down and hate life and things are hard right now, keep your faith and trust in God and pray and hope for the best. And try to find something you can love about life again.

posted 6/9/2009

Adam Lee

In late November 2006, I was admitted to my local regional medical center in Prescott, Arizona for what was ultimately diagnosed as acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis. After an initial positive response to pain management and intravenous nutrition, I began third spacing fluid, and was unable to breathe on my own. I was intubated and immediately airlifted to St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix where I was diagnosed with Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia and ARDS; my family told that I had a 10% of surviving the night. Luckily after a week on the vent and multiple procedures to drain fluid from my lungs, I was brought out of sedation and extubated. I remained in the ICU for another 28 days and slowly moved from a CPAP to Oxygen Mask and finally off of Oxygen entirely. After the ICU I spent an additional week in hospital and then remained in Phoenix for another month as my doctors were unsure that I could function well at my home's altitude. While I still suffer some anxiety from my time in the ICU and have noticed some cognitive changes (focus, memory, etc.) as well as reduced lung capacity, I am fortunate and thankful to have recovered and owe my life to the aggressive and thoughtful treatment of my doctors (doctor, surgeon, infectious disease), the amazing respiratory therapists who brought such needed relief, and the nursing staff who really became a second family and always treated me and my family with such amazing care and respect. I will forever be grateful to them.

posted 5/6/2009

David Lewis

I had a heart attack on September 17, 2007, then quadruple heart bypass surgery on September 21, 2007. I had a complication requiring chest surgery in January 2008. I had respiratory arrest the day after surgery with 100% aspiration causing ARDS. I needed another operation for bleeding in the chest, followed by 3 weeks in a medical coma on ventilator support with a trach. I was discharged from the hospital February 28th after 5 weeks in ITU. I had the surgical closure of the trach on April 1, 2008. My lung capacity is now 60% or so of predicted. I exercised on the treadmill test yesterday for 9.5 minutes, but my oxygen saturation falls to 88%. I am a family doctor in the UK and working full time, and married with 3 teenage kids.

posted 4/17/2009

Vicki Middendorf

I wish I could tell you that I survived a really BAD HORRIBLE disease and that I am so happy and healthy, but in reality LIFE SUCKS. I never have enough air. I can get along, but I can't plant flowers, I can't ride my bide, I can't tickle my grandbabies. I'm glad to be alive, but life sorta sucks.Ö

posted 4/1/2009

Gina Moore-Smith

On January 11, 2009, my husband found me on the floor gasping for breath. For the next 3 months, my life has been a whirlwind. I woke up from a coma, was on life support and now I am learning how to live again.

posted 4/1/2009

Martha Henderson

I started running a high fever the weekend before Thanksgiving 2008. I felt horrible for about 2 weeks and do not remember much until I woke up around January 1, 2009. I hurt so bad. One nurse could not understand why I could not stand, feed myself, push myself up in bed, etc. I finally started standing and walking around on January 23, 2009! I am still not able to go out on my own, and need to have someone with me when I get weak, but THANK GOD he has let me live!!!

posted 3/23/2009

Kathy Reynolds

I am now post ARDS 4 months. I have done great but seem to pick up bugs that in turn go right to my lungs and cause pneumonia and put me back on O2. I am climbing back out of a bout with sickness and am getting a cardio version done on March 31st because ARDS caused me to get arterial fibrillation. Other than that, I am lucky to be alive and can help others who may need some advice.

posted 3/21/2009

Michael DeCastro

I developed Pneumonia after going through Chemotherapy the summer of 2008. I was admitted to the hospital on Sept 2, 2008 after playing golf and not being able to breathe. I remember going in and not coming out for a month. I was in a drug induced coma for 2 weeks with ARDS. For 4 days, they didn't think I was going to make it. The dreams while in a coma were so real, I still think I was there. I woke up one night and just got better very quickly; the nurses called it a miracle. They couldn't believe I was getting better so fast, let alone live. I'm now working on getting stronger; short of some memory issues, I'm doing great according to my doctors.

posted 3/2/2009


Exactly two years ago, I fell incredibly ill after a night of drinking. I went to the hospital and was told I had pneumonia and a large hole burning into my lungs. I don't remember any of this, but apparently I was placed in a drug-induced coma after being unable to breathe. I had a tracheotomy, was placed on a ventilator, and from that developed ARDS. It took two months in ICU, one month at a rehabilitation hospital, and close to a year to recover. But I have recovered! ARDS is difficult to overcome, but it can be done and I am living proof! I am back in school, I am healthy, and I am even participating in grueling aerobics classes! Support and staying positive is what got me through ARDS, and I can provide both support and positivity to anyone who needs it  :)

posted 2/15/2009

Diana Trammell

I was admitted to the hospital recently for pneumonia and released after 2 days. I was readmitted within a couple of days with complications, later to be known as ARDS. I was ventilated for a few weeks and was lucky to have the ventilator eventually removed. I am currently struggling with how I am feeling as I continue to try to recover from this. I thought being able to talk to someone who had lived though this or family/loved ones who had survived might help. I realize I was only discharged 2 days ago but it's a lot harder then I thought it would be.

posted 2/13/2009


First, I watched my father die of ARDS after a knee replacement, but he had blunt trauma to the chest. He was vented for 1 day and passed away. I am an ARDS/MRSA survivor. I was vented for 26 days and had 7 collapsed lungs with my right lung glued to the chest wall. I spent 3 months in the hospital. I am now home on oxygen. I had to learn to walk, eat, etc. all over again.

posted 2/9/2009

Josh Swann

It all started on December 17, 2008 when I was at home and started bleeding internally. I went to the ER and was admitted immediately. They found where I was bleeding, which was a blood vessel that had erupted. I was in the ICU and my oxygen had dropped after having exploratory surgery. I was placed on a respirator mask to try to help my breathing. Since it wasn't helping, they decided to put me on the ventilator. They told my family that they couldn't decide if it was just pneumonia or ARDS . After several days, they decided that it was in fact ARDS. I was on the ventilator for 7 days and finally taken off. When I was in this medical induced coma, I had the most spectacular dreams about taking a yacht all over the world, and proposing to my girlfriend. Needless to say I will have to make a movie out one day about my dreams. I finally got out on the 13th of January. I missed Christmas and my birthday, which was on New Years Day. They say that I am very lucky to be alive and I thank God and everyone who supported me. God is the ultimate healer and my family never gave up faith. I am doing very well now at home with my now fianc�e. We will be getting married in the next week or so.

posted 1/21/2009

Elizabeth Spelce

I am 49 years old. I am an RN employed in an ICU in San Diego. I had surgery 2/1/08 - a spelenectomy (but the spleen was attached to my pancreas). After surgery, I went in respiratory distress. I ended up with ARDS and on the ventilator for 126 days. After being hospitalized for 8 1/2 months, I am at home. I have severe joint pain and stiffness. I have been out of work for almost a year with the hope of going back in the next 6 months. I find myself wondering if I will ever be back to somewhat normal. I would be interested in communicating with others about their experiences.

posted 1/9/2009

Alison Webster

On October 8, 2007, I went to the emergency room with flu like symptoms, and found out I was having a major heart attack. I was then transferred to Adventis and was given an emergency stent. The next morning, I had quadruple bypass surgery. The following day I ended up with double pneumonia, which led to ARDS. I slipped into a coma for 32 days, and I flat lined twice. Upon awakening and recovering, I figured out I had no memory of a lot of my past. At times, I am a little angry and questioning why I didn't just stay dead.

posted 1/5/2009

Dawn Smeby

I had ARDS in 2003 and lost 6 months of my life. My husband was wonderful for me the whole time. We decided after my recovery to live life to the fullest, which we did before this. We bought the full-dress Harley my husband always dreamed of.(We have been married for 21 years) We met lots of good people on rides for charities and had great times together on the bike. On August 16 2008, I lost my best friend, my husband, to a person who ran a stop sign while my husband was riding his bike. What I am feeling right now is a lot of guilt towards buying the bike because I wanted him to be happy after the hell I put him through while I was sick. PLEASE help me get through this!!! Dawn

posted 1/1/2009

Kathy Reynolds

I just got out of the hospital after 50 days with ARDS. I am home and still on 2 liters of O2 with activity. I would like to communicate with others with this.

posted 12/29/2008


I lost 6 weeks of memory due to my battle with ARDS, which began November 2007. I am having great difficulty coping.

posted 11/23/2008

Mary McCrady

I was diagnosed in July 2008. I had all the symptoms, treatment and came home on September 3rd. I'm very lucky to be alive, but my activities are limited and I am now very depressed. Can anyone give me support on how to handle?

posted 11/17/2008

Janice Carroll

I realized that some of you may have tried to contact me on my MSN or hotmail account and I may have deleted you because I thought you were phishing. If so, I apologize and please try again! I can use support as we all can.

posted 11/16/2008

Michelle Harbor

I went to hospital for gallstone and bladder removal and things went very wrong.

posted 11/1/2008

Amber McCrea

At first I couldn't talk about it. I was... ashamed that I had survived. Maybe I should start with my name. My name is Amber, and I am 21 years old. In July of this year, I went to the ER for abdomen pain. It ended up being my gallbladder, which was successfully removed that day.
Unlike normal gallbladders, mine was 16 inches long, the size of a football. The average gallbladder is the size of an egg. After removal, I was coming out of anesthesia, and had a panic attack. I was struggling to breathe. They rushed me to ICU where I had completely stopped breathing. They hooked me up to the ventilator where I was in a coma for 8 days.
They found that I had severe pneumonia in both lungs. I also had MRSA multiple-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) surrounding BOTH lungs AND I had ARDS. The doctors gave my family 6% chance of survival through the coma. THIS is the only time I am happy with the army, for they let my husband come stand by me through the whole thing. The day I woke up, the whole place was quiet with nothing but sobs. They don't know how I did it. During recovery at the hospital, I had a total of 26 doctors, and a handful of nurses just come to say hi to me. I was even called their miracle numerous times. The follow-up appointment after I was released from the hospital was the biggest eye-opener that what had happened wasn't a dream, but reality. When the doctor walked in the room, he flat out said "Wow, you almost died, Amber, and I didn't know what to do." That's when it hit me. That was a few months ago. I am doing better, but I still struggle day to day with reality. They are "guessing" that the reason WHY I made it out alive is my age, but they made it clear that they are still unsure how I did it. Thanks for taking the time to read about my survival. I lost 2 family members to ARDS and my family isn't all that good at talking about it with me, so that's why I turned to you.

posted 10/28/2008

Susan East

I had felt like I was coming down with a cold for about 2 weeks before I was diagnosed with ARDS. On July 3, 2008, my daughter came by my home and could tell that I was in distress. I was fully awake and did not want to go to the doctor. She begged me to go and get a chest x-ray. When I got to my doctor's office, my pulse ox was 39. My daughter is an RN and thought the machine was broken. They transported me to my local hospital and within about 30 minutes they had done a blood gas and that was 42. I was in the ICU for six weeks. I was on a vent three different times for a total of 28 days. I am having difficulty with my muscles. I feel very fortunate to have survived, but still do not understand how that happened to me.

posted 10/24/2008


My name is Erika. I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in 2000, and they put a gastric pacemaker in me. In 2004, I got ARDS, I was on the ventilator for a while, then I was put on the trach. I spent about 4 months in the ICU. In 2006, I got ARDS again. Both times it was from aspirating. I have had 7 chest tubes and am on oxygen 24/7. In 2006, they said I had ulcerative colitis and would never eat again, so they put feeding tubes in me. Now I am in and out of the hospital all the time with vomiting and chronic pain. It has been awful and I don't know what to do anymore. I have a wonderful husband and great Christian family support, but it is hard on me and my husband. I would love to talk to somebody who understands. I have a lot of dreams about the coma and am afraid to go to sleep and wake up on the ventilator again. That is a brief history of my life.

posted 10/20/2008

Andy Klein

I had 2 esophageal ulcers that had burst, and started to throw up blood. I aspirated and ended up in the Akron City hospital. I was treated for the ulcers, but I also ended up with ARDS in the process of aspiration. I spent 3 1/2 weeks on a ventilator, and I was unconscious the whole time. In all, I spent 32 days in the ICU and am lucky enough to have survived this.

posted 10/18/2008

Janice Carroll

 In August 2008, my husband found me semi-conscious on the floor. I remember nothing until I was taken off the vent. I had terrible dreams while on it, and I knew that my hands were restrained (but I did not know it was so I wouldn't pull the tubes out). My husband and I had not been getting along, and after a week home he decided I was as good as new. He also told me that part of the time that I was on the vent, he thought it would be better if I died. We are now separated, after 38 years of marriage. While in ICU, I had aspiration pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis, and congestive heart failure. I feel like such a loser and so alone.

posted 10/15/2008

Lanette Banks

My name is Lanette and I am an ARDS survivor. While unconscious in the ER, I aspirated and my condition became critical. I was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Mobile, AL where I was placed in the Critical Care Unit. Due to the aspiration, both of my lungs burned and then collapsed. I could no longer breathe on my own and I was placed on life support. I was so sick I could not even survive long enough without life support to receive a tracheotomy. My family immediately flew in from the west to be by my side while I was in a coma. After 10 days of constant support by my side and no response from me physically or mentally, my family went home to pray about how long I should be on life support. After 14 days on life support, the medical staff were going to remove the life support to see if I could breathe at all on my own. Miraculously, on the 13th day, I literally coughed up the ventilator tube which went about 10 inches into my wind pipe. To the medical professionals recollection, this has never happened before. In addition, it usually takes up to 2 weeks for someone to talk coming off life support, and I woke up talking. I am so grateful to be alive and seem to be having a fairly quick recovery considering I was on life support and in a coma. I can't do the things I normally did and took for granted, so I will use my blog to track my progress and hopefully give hope to others who have suffered the same life threatening condition that I did.

posted 10/12/2008

Kelley Byrd

At age 33, I was diagnosed with a MRSA staph infection believed to be picked up from the surgeon's office I worked at. I was placed on a double dose of Bactroban and subsequently had a severe allergic reaction resulting in toxemia. The toxemia brought on ARDS. I was taken to the emergency room by my husband and 8 year old daughter on June 10, 2006 in a semi-conscious state. I regained consciousness almost three months later at an ICU unit in a Long Term Care Facility. I was still on a ventilator with a trach and feeding tube, but my husband and children never gave up hope on me. After returning home, I stayed on oxygen for almost a year and still require it for any type of cardio, such as walking. I have severe interstitial fibrosis and osteopenia due to the ARDS and the steroids that saved my life. But there is not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate looking at my loved ones.

posted 10/12/2008

Annette Saenz

On 02/27/08, I came down with a fever (102 degrees). I thought I had the flu, but over the next couple of days, my condition deteriorated. My family doctor treated me with Tamiflu, a Z-pac and Albuterol treatments. On 03/03/08, a chest x-ray was performed, which revealed a complete "white out" and I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I was breathing with only 5% of my lung volume. I was admitted to the hospital, placed on a bi-pap machine and admitted to ICU. On 03/05/08, I was intubated. On 03/11/08, I was extubated and released from the hospital on 03/16/08. During my admission, it was determined that I never had pneumonia, but had sustained an adverse reaction to Septra (a sulfa type drug). It was extremely rare and only a couple of known cases are documented. I am 6 months post ARDS and I'm recuperating well. Currently, pulmonary lung function is 80%. Some fibrosis is noted, but I pray that I will continue to improve.

posted 10/8/2008

Gary Higginbotham

I started off with Kawasaki disease, which is rare for teenagers. The doctors didn't believe it was Kawasaki, but the Infectious Disease Specialist knew that it was. I had three doses of gamma globulins (purified antibodies). I also had six blood infusions and I am the rarest blood type in the world (AB+). Only 4% of the world has my blood type. I began to show signs of improvement, but a couple of days later, I was rushed into the ICU with ARDS. That whole week is just a blank memory to me. They put me into a sleep like sedation and I was on life support for a week. When I woke up a week later I couldn't walk or talk because of the tubes down my throat. I am currently at home doing much better, but I have to get blood work and echo cardiograms every month.

posted 10/6/2008

Misty Cross

The doctor thought I was having an asthma attack, but it turned out to be worse. I was 8 months pregnant at the time. They induced coma and flew me out. The next day they did an emergency C-section. My daughter is fine, but they told my family I was not going to make it. Surprisingly enough, after 9 days in a coma I was better, and I did survive. I now have asthma, but other then that all is good.

posted 10/4/2008


I contracted ARDS after plastic surgery. My case is a little different. I had a fat emboli. October 2008 is my 2 year anniversary of life. It has been difficult, but I'm happy to be here. Be happy with your body, plastic surgery is not worth it.

posted 9/18/2008

Shelley Brummer

I was very ill for 2 weeks, undiagnosed (by 2 doctors), then could not breathe properly for 7 hours. My husband rushed me to the hospital as my lips were going blue. My SATS on arrival were 58% and going down. I was intubated and in the ICU for 10 days, and the hospital another 15 days. It took me months to recover, and I think I suffered some brain damage as I can not remember as well as I used to. I have also developed osteoarthritis really bad and am much weaker than I used to be.

posted 9/3/2008

Bela Maranhas

I started out with a broken ankle that needed surgery. The day after the operation, I developed a sore throat and then a fever. It kept getting worse until I had to be moved to the ICU. To this day they cannot tell me what caused ARDS. I did have a double pneumonia. They had to induce a coma and give me a paralytic agent. I was on life support and eventually had a tracheotomy. Various organs failed, and I went into heart arrhythmia twice. At one point they told my husband I had a 15% chance of survival. Pretty much everyone had given up. Then there was some very slight improvement and my chances went to 20%. Within a few days they were bringing me out of the coma. I was then moved to Rehab. I stayed there for four weeks. When I left, I still couldn't walk. I went into the hospital for the ankle surgery on 2/21/08 and finally came home from Rehab on 5/16/08. I am still in outpatient therapy. Yesterday I was able to walk for 2.1 miles in 50 minutes.

posted 8/27/2008

Michelle Lofton

I woke up one morning very short of breath and weak. I called 911 and was taken to the emergency room. I remember the ride to the hospital but not entering the emergency room doors. The next thing I recall was 6 weeks later. I was being transferred to another long term hospital, closer to my daughters. I had a trach, oxygen, PICC line for IV's, feeding tube and a foley. I was on the ventilator a total of 4 months. I lost almost all of my hair. I had every infection possible and some of the germs colonized and will always be present but hopefully not active infections. I went to inpatient rehab for 2 weeks and I am home now. I have been getting PT and OT in the home and am slowly becoming stronger. I spill or drop (or both) everything I touch! I am walking with a walker, continue to have the feeding tube (not used) and trach for oxygen and suctioning secretions. I use the nebulizer every 4 hours. I am finding myself becoming increasingly depressed and angry. I do not sleep well at night, and the meds do not help. I am looking to talk and exchange with others and their daily life and adjustments due to ARDS. I struggle with the smallest of tasks and know networking can be so helpful.

posted 8/27/2008

Christina Loveall

I got ARDS in August of 2005, and am still recuperating. I was in a coma for a month, and suffered damage to my brain due to lack of blood oxygen and high fever. I have trouble with my speech, and I am wheelchair/walker bound. I don't have much memory to what happened from weeks up to my hospitalization, to a month after I was awake and sent to a rehabilitation hospital. Besides the fact I cannot drive or walk well, the change of who I am upsets me the most.

posted 8/25/2008


I first got ARDS in 2004. I was intubated and had a trach, and was in the ICU for almost 4 months. The doctors said the cause was aspiration. I had a slow recovery, then was diagnosed with ARDS again in 2006. Altogether I have had 7 chest tubes, a trach, and feeding tubes. The doctors discovered I had ulcerative colitis and gastroparesis, and that was why I aspirated. The feeding tubes had to come out because I kept getting a staph infection. I am able to eat with restrictions, but not after about 3 in the afternoon. I am on oxygen 24/7 now and it sucks. But the Lord has decided to keep me around for awhile yet. I do get depressed sometimes, but I have a great husband and that helps. I think this has been harder on him then me sometimes. Well that is a little of my story.

posted 8/18/2008

Kathy Nabors

In June 2002, I was diagnosed with pneumonia in 1/3 of one lung. Three days later I was in ICU fighting for my life. The pneumonia had filled both lungs and I developed ARDS. I was life flighted to UTMB in Galveston and was on ECMO for 13 days. During that time I had 36 transfusions, suffered a blood infection, and developed pancreatitis. I was successfully weaned from the ECMO machine but did not wake up from my drug induced coma. A CAT scan showed a brain bleed. I didn't wake up for 10 days. I was released from the hospital in August, spent 10 days in a rehab hospital, and walked out on my own without needing supplemental oxygen. On September 11, 2002, my pulmonary function tests were normal. I have experienced no cognitive or physical problems other than a propensity to chest congestion with a cold. I have no memory from the time I was admitted for pneumonia until the time I woke up in ICU in another hospital. I thought that I had been moved to a new room overnight because the wallpaper border was different. My friends and family filled in the blanks for me.

posted 8/17/2008


I contracted a viral pneumonia 13 years ago when I was 25. Within 36 hours, I was taken by ambulance with a 20% O2 sat and intubated. I woke up 36 days later and remained on a ventilator for another two weeks. The road back was tough, but I'm 100% better physically, emotionally, and mentally.

posted 8/11/2008

Steve Moe

I have had ARDS four times since 1990. The last time was 2000. I was on the vent twice and bipap the other times. I still have chest tightness, and a slight wheeze. I take Spiriva, Albuterol and Advair Discus. My physicians think I got ARDS as a result of aspiration or a mold or spore. I have not had ARDS since I quit smoking. This disease has taken a significant toll on my overall health. I would like to hear from others with like circumstances. Thanks.

posted 8/3/2008

Debbie Herring

My name is Debbie Herring and I am 40 years old. I am an ARDS survivor. I really don't know what to say other than I am so happy to find this website. I had pneumonia that developed into ARDS. This was two years ago. The only memory I have was being in the emergency room and the next thing I know I woke up (after the worst nightmares you can imagine) 6 weeks later and couldn't talk because of the trach. I could hardly move I was so weak. They had put me on life support in a drug induced coma because I couldn't breathe on my own. I developed blood clots in my legs and had to be put on Coumadin, and was on Haldol for hallucinations. I stayed in the hospital for about 6 more weeks then, I was transferred to a nursing home so that I could learn to walk again. When I finally got to come home, my Coumadin level got too high and caused internal bleeding, so I had to go back in the hospital for blood transfusions. It has been two years now and I still have problems and would love to talk to other survivors.

posted 7/18/2008

Suzanne Lee

I am a thirty year old ARDS survivor. I was admitted to the hospital with pancreatitis and developed staph through my IV's. This led to sepsis and full-blown ARDS. My family was told I had a 0% chance of surviving but the docs wanted to try the oscillating vent. I was put into a paralyzed-induced coma for three weeks. I have been told that my progress was nothing short of a miracle. I have recently been discharged and have returned home. I am off of O2 support, had my trach removed, and am able to walk unassisted now. This process took only 3 weeks compared to the 9 months it takes some people- some even longer. I feel very blessed and I am convinced that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the constant support and prayers of family, friends, even strangers. This is a devastating disease that I had never even heard of. A 17 year old girl was admitted in the ICU days before I left. I tried to console her family and give them hope by witnessing my recovery. I am very sad to report that she passed last night. I feel what some call "survivor's guilt". Who knows why I was so fortunate and she wasn't? I suppose it's in God's hands and it just wasn't my time. I did have very intense dreams during my comatose state, I even saw and spoke to family members who have passed. If you or a loved one is going through this very difficult time please feel free to write me. I'm sure we would have a lot in common. If you have a loved one who is ill, DON'T GIVE UP HOPE!! My family slept in the ICU waiting room for a month and never missed visiting hours even once. They spoke to me, played music, and kept a vigil around me at all times. I know for sure they gave me the energy to fight as hard as I did. I dreamed that I was dead and all I could think of was coming back so my family wouldn't have to deal with such a terrible event. It is so important to learn about ARDS and to understand the options you or a loved one may have for treatment. You can never have too many prayers. Send me an email about your story.

posted 7/1/2008


I'm from West Africa, and wish to be in friendship with others from all over the world.

posted 6/29/2008

Deanie Bennett

On May 4, 2008, I went to the ER at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air,  MD. I was having problems breathing and my legs where twice their size with fluid.
So I thought I would get a shot of antibiotics and a water pill and go home, but that's not what happened at all. I was taken to the CCU, and that's where I stayed for 8 days. I had a infection of some sort and an oxygen level of 32%, which is not good! I was on a c pack but that didn't work so I went on the ventilator. My husband and my children were so afraid of losing me. I was in a drug induced coma for 6 days and all the doctors and nurses did a great job with me at the hospital. My family did what the website said to do, they talked to me and touched me and no negative talk or crying in my room. My husband brought things from home for me like my pillow and blanket from our bed. And he was always there; if he had to go home then the kids were there with me, so I was never alone. I think with all the positive words and prayers from people that were there in my room with me made me fight harder to get better and I did. I did have not so great dreams, but I have just came back from vacation a week earlier. Our friends that went to Mexico with us had brought pictures to my room and they were talking about Mexico and my nightmares were about Mexico. I'm back to work now; I was out for 5 weeks. I'm doing good and haven't smoked for almost 2 months. I hope this helps someone. Please know that there is life after ARDS. Just remember that the love of your family and friends is the best medicine in the world. May God Bless you all.

posted 6/27/2008

Cynthia A. Cole

In June-July 2001, I was diagnosed with ARDS after battling pneumonia for 5 days. I was in the ICU, rehab, the whole nine yards of recovery. Thanks to my incredible doctors, nursing staff and after care professionals .... I am a 7 year survivor!

posted 6/25/2008

Elaine Connell

On August 8, 2001, I had a bowel resection that had a massive leak. Because I was a post liver transplant patient, I was transported to UT Medical Center at Memphis. I was very septic from the bowel leakage, but that problem was resolved when I contracted the ARDS. I was placed on the vent and later a trach. From August 8 until September 17, I remained hospitalized.

posted 6/19/2008

Jon L. Brock

On December 21, 2007, I received a liver transplant at Baptist Integris Hospital in Oklahoma City. The surgery was an overwhelming success and upon waking in ICU I felt great except for some expected soreness. Within two days I was walking around ICU and released to a hospital floor where I continued to improve and walking around the floor. On December 24, I began having trouble breathing and was given external oxygen. Because my need for oxygen became so severe, I was readmitted to ICU where I remained for nearly 50 days. My oxygen requirement was as high as 15-21 liters per minute. I was intubated for two weeks but awoke being very weak and still requiring lots of external oxygen. During the 82 days I was in the hospital, I lost a total of 56 pounds. Currently, I am able to exercise, have returned to work, and have gained much of my weight back; however, I still require external oxygen with the slightest exertion. I would like to learn if my experience is typical for ARDS and what are the hopes for my regaining my former activity. Granted, I have come a long way but there is still a long way to go.

posted 6/10/2008


On March 2, 2008 I went to the ER after being sick in bed for almost a week. I was put in ICU immediately. I had bilateral pneumonia and sepsis. I was placed on a vent 4 days later and spent 15 days in ICU. I came home at the end of March. I am having a hard time getting on with my life! My husband says I am different and he says I must have lost some brain cells. And has also called me crazy. I am forgetful and uncharacteristically jealous. I would like to talk to people with a similar experience. Thank you.

posted 6/8/2008

Nichole Kearse

On March 16, 2008 my fianc� drove me to Strong Hospital for an asthma attack at 2am. I remember small bits and pieces, the rest was explained to me. I remember walking in to the ER and I was very dizzy, but walking on my own. I filled out my paper work as Jason parked the car. I was taken into triage and Jason followed. the next thing I knew I woke up in ICU sore and tired. That was March 27, 2008. This is what happened in between. After they took my blood pressure, I became delirious, coming in and out of consciousness and not really able to talk. My oxygen level was at 73, and they treated me with Albuterol and oxygen continuously, with little improvement. They took an x-ray and discovered I had pneumonia, so they sent me to trauma because the treatments weren't helping. I was then taken to ICU, paralyzed, coma induced and intubated for 7 days. My fingers and toes swelled up so big from the liquids, it was hard to look at. I was restrained because I tried to fight and pull out the breathing tube and IVs. I woke up to 3 family members in my room and 6 more on the way. I had thought I had been stabbed in the stomach and that was why I was in the hospital. I hate hospitals and pushed myself as soon as I woke up and was out by April 1st and back to work by April 7th. I am now part of a study to see why ARDS happens and what can be done to treat it. My prayers are with anyone who is going through this with a loved one, or has gone through it themselves. Feel free to contact me to talk.

posted 5/12/2008

Frank Paolini

I had ARDS 7 years ago and it has been hell ever since. I still cannot work and have medical problems. I had a cold and when it led to ARDS.

posted 5/11/2008

Ruth Benedict

I was admitted to the hospital on March 6, 2008 with what was thought to be pneumonia. What I had was influenza "B" and staphylococcus aureous that rapidly progressed to pneumonia. I became septic and developed ARDS. I was placed in a coma on the 8th of March and had a tracheotomy on the 12th. I have no memory from the 6th until the 24th; I spent 4 weeks in ICU. I believe it was the 3rd of April when I was taken off the ventilator. I'm happy to say I'm at home now and look forward to a slow recovery.

posted 4/30/2008

Bill Prather

Two years ago, I went into the hospital for knee replacement surgery. Something went wrong & I was moved to a larger hospital. While there, I was placed in a coma, had a heart attack and developed Hospital Acquired Pneumonia. When I came back, I had to be supported on oxygen 24/7. I was transferred to a support facility, and sent home just before Christmas. I had home care and was eventually released. I took an exercise class for patents and completed it. We bought a treadmill and I was working out on it as well as using weights and rubber stretching bands. Then in August of last year I woke my wife up and said I couldn't breathe. I was rushed back to the hospital by the EMTs and I coded while in the ICU. I was brought back, and started bleeding from the lungs. After 3 units of plasma and 4 of whole blood, I was again placed in a coma for one week. When I awoke, my hands were so swollen my wife had to feed me. This time when released, I went to 2 different recovery hospitals before being sent home. I was back at square one and had home care again. Two months ago I was going to my dentist and I noticed I was extremely short of breath. My doctor ordered a CAT Scan and diagnosed me with bronchitis. After a strong dose of antibiotics and minimum walking, I am once again getting around. At rest, my O2 is at 3 liters, but when up and walking it is at 10 liters.

posted 4/5/2008

Merle Gamble

I got ARDS in 2007 after being admitted to hospital with a perforated bowel. I developed sepsis and was sent to the ICU straight from operation. They operated three times before they knew I had ARDS. I was in the hospital for two months. I am still recovering; I take 2 steps forward and one back or so it seems but I'm sure I will make it, I just find it a really hard battle especially with the lack of support here. My worst moments are feeling lost after being in the ICU for so long and the nightmares. My hair fell out and my skin is still peeling on my face. Has anyone else had these problems? I consider myself very lucky although it may not sound it, as I have survived and my best friend has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

posted 2/3/2008

Cindy Williams

I was in the hospital with ARDS from 10/23/06 to 1/4/2007. I am home now and trying to function, still on oxygen and not getting much support from the family (husband and 12-year-old daughter). I had moved away from home right before I got sick, and my friends are in Denver. I am awaiting Medicaid and Social Security disability. The doctor told me not to even think about going back to work for at least a year. I am taking care of things around the house, but it takes a lot of effort and everything is a chore. Any words of encouragement would be helpful!

posted 1/28/2008

Audrey Broughton

My name is Audrey. I am a 55 years old female. I had eight hours of back surgery in May 2007 due to a long history of scoliosis and back problems that worsened. I was moved to ICU/CCU the following day and diagnosed with ARDS. I do not remember any of this. I thought I was coming out of surgery 25 days later when I was waking up off the vent. I was in the hospital for 30 days and transferred to a a Rehab hospital. I could not stand or walk, and had no use of my right leg and thumb on my right hand. I was in a wheelchair at this time. I came home from Cardinal Hill Rehab Hospital using a walker and later used a cane. It has been eight months since my battle of back surgery and ARDS. I do have to use my cane some days. I have worked ten years in a factory and the past twenty five years in the hospital pharmacy in my home town. My plans after back surgery was to return to work. Nine months later I still have trouble getting up and down, standing long periods, sitting long periods, walking long periods, laying long periods, doing my shopping, cooking and housework on my own. I have trouble with memory and have forgot a lot of things. I am trying to re-train myself with the help of others. I cannot go to sleep without the help of sleep medication. I have days that I only feel like laying down. I am not the same person .I weigh 134 and I have lost 22 pounds and a lot of muscle; I really have aged in these past months and have not gained any weight back. Yet I wonder what the percentage of recurring ARDS would be? Are ARDS survivors always afraid of it happening again? Will we ever be the same? Are any of you experiencing any of my fears and symptoms? I guess I have a lot of unanswered questions in the back of my mind. My husband is a great support but I know that it is hard on him also having to deal with everything that has happened and everything that's going on now. I want to take time to thank GOD for bringing me through; without him I would not be here today to tell my story. I also want to think my husband, family and my church family for their prayers. I would like to say if you are not a Christian, please give your heart to Jesus. You may not have another chance.

posted 1/26/2008


In Sept 2005, I woke up with a stabbing pain right below my right rib. It would not go away, so my sister rushed me to the ER. I was diagnosed with a 2mm kidney stone. They sent me home with a filter to catch the stone and pain medicine. I took one pain pill and went to bed. I don't recall anything except for me being rushed back to the hospital the next evening. And from there waking up 2 3/4 months later. I became septic, had kidney failure, had a heart attack and developed ARDS and was put on a vent. My family had been begging the doctors to check my gall bladder since that's where the pain originated, but they kept saying tests were showing my gall bladder to be fine. Well my mother finally got her way, and they took me into surgery to remove my gall bladder. They found out it was gangrene, and it fell apart on the surgeon as he removed it. A few days after surgery, the doctors noticed me getting better. I was off the vent and sent home a few weeks later. My 2 young boys had to move out of state to go stay with there dad while I was in the hospital. I had to learn how to write, walk and feed myself again. I went back to work 5 months after I was released. I am so thankful to have a second chance. The only thing is I am still struggling from the scar the trach left.

posted 1/24/2008

Noah Crouse

Following a serious auto accident, in which a broken femur resulted, I was diagnosed with ARDS. Luckily the doctors caught it pretty early, but it still resulted in two week stay in the ICU (in a drug induced coma & on a ventilator) and a month long stay in the hospital.

posted 1/23/2008

Christine Hills

On December 31, 2007, I was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia. The next day I was transferred to Riverside hospital from Athens, Ohio and was then diagnosed with ARDS. Five hours after arriving in Columbus, I went into respiratory failure, and was intubated, put in a paralytic coma, and on a ventilator for six weeks. I lived in my dreams as my body fought to stay alive. I remember the nightmares very clearly to this day. After six weeks I awoke and found I had a trach and could not speak, eat, drink, or walk. I was in the ICU another eight days and then was transferred to a rehab center where I learned to walk again and received care. This experience was life changing for me. The more I learn about how sick I really was, the more effectively I deal with the changes it has brought to my life. I am much better now, but live in fear of getting sick again. My lungs are not well today, some sort of infection has started brewing in my lungs. It is very scary. Please share with me and help me to understand what I've gone through and continue to go through today.

Love, Christine Hills

posted 1/18/2008

Kyetia Watson

On May 7, 2007, I went to the hospital with a very bad headache. I was given morphine and 2 loratabs and sent home. I returned the next day and the same thing happened. I went to see my primary care doctor and left there in an ambulance around 4 pm that afternoon. By 9 pm, I was intubated and put in the ICU. A headache is the only symptom I had, but it hurt so bad I could not open my eyes. Apparently the emergency room thought I was just there to get drugs and just kept sending me home. While in the hospital, I had two heart attacks, pneumonia, and sepsis. They said I had a urinary tract infection that turned septic and I was put on the ventilator. I stayed in the ICU for 8 days and sent to a unit for 3 days. It has been almost 8 months since my ordeal and I still have some problems. I can't seem to get past the memories, which are very few, but what I do remember was very very bad. I have memory problems, had heart stents put in, and my lung function test shows I have only 60% of my breathing now. I have went through long periods of depression and I have the worst fear of going to the doctor or hospital and seem to dwell on what happen to me quiet often. I just can't seem to get past it. My memory has not improved much since then, but I am doing pretty good and very thankful to be alive.

posted 1/7/2008

Debbie Prosperie

I was just released from a 23 day stay in hospital from ARDS. I am now at home recovering.

posted 1/1/2008

Lucinda Snell

I had an infected previous hernia repair. This was repaired on day one, but on day three, I was diagnosed with a ruptured bowel and rushed back to theatre. That night I developed ARDS severely in both lungs, from sepsis of the bowel. I spent 15 days on a ventilator, and needed further bowel surgery. I woke up and was weaned off life support. I am home for 7 days from the hospital now, and am still scared but hopefully improving now.

posted 12/30/2007

Annemarie Stannnard

In October 2006, I woke up with a bad pain in my stomach. I was taken to the hospital, given morphine and sent home. The next morning, I was still in pain and went back to the hospital. I was given an ultrasound, and they discovered I had a mass in my right ovary. I was booked the next morning for a routine operation to remove the mass. Or so I thought. From this point on I remember nothing, just what I was told. Apparently, I developed a high fever and had a bad cough and trouble breathing. I then developed sepsis. It got so bad I was intubated and transported to another hospital that had an ICU and respirator. I was induced into a coma and put on a respirator. My mum and dad came to see me and were told to "make some plans�. I remember none of this, but I remember, and will never, ever forget the horrible dreams I had. They were horrendous, and seemed so real to me; there were people out to kill me in my dreams all the time. I had a tracheotomy, and remember at one stage waking up and wondering why I couldn�t speak. I had daily injections of insulin, my body was constantly under assault, but the nurses and doctors had saved my life. I then had to learn to walk again. Eventually, I was able to walk and shower unaided, but I was still very weak. No one explained to me what actually happened. My poor mum just didn�t want to talk about what I went through and to this day still won�t. I feel I need to talk about it. I don�t know what was going on when I was in a coma, or why this all happened to me. I�m terrified of ever having another operation. Today, one year later, I still have terrible memory problems. I have chronic back pain, and I�m not the same person that I was before I went in. The only good thing to come from this is that I gave up smoking and it�s been 1 year since I had my last cigarette. I think too much happened too fast, as with ARDS it just comes along so swiftly and before you know it you�re almost dead and putting up one hell of a fight for your life, and you do just that.

posted 12/5/2007

Margaret Sue Moul

My first ARDS episode was in February, 2005. My recovery, as everyone's I'm sure, was rocky. After going home, I was working with physical therapy. Now I was diabetic, and had thyroid problems like Cushing's disease. I knew that my thought processes were not back to my pre ARDS state. I "officially" retired in August 2005. I was an RN, Director of Nurses, in a large county jail. In January 2006, I started having hip pain that progressed in severity. I went to the doctor every week complaining of pain. In March, an MRI showed a vascular necrosis. I had a hip replacement in July, 2006. I thought "okay, now I am on the way to improvement because "things" are fixed and pain was tolerable. On September 14, 2007, I was at a river campground with my husband in an RV. I woke him up at 1am because I was having trouble breathing. The EMS met us on a country road, and transferred me to the nearest small community hospital, then I was sent to a larger city. I had another episode of ARDS. Now it is like I am starting all over again, just a little smarter. It is not any easier on my husband and family. But now I know at least more of what to expect. I think the mental changes are the hardest for me. It is also the hardest to explain. It is memory, intellect, emotions, they are all out of whack. I know I am "lucky". So, why would I feel so deeply, terribly sad at times? I just say once in a while "I slip". My family keeps me going, trying, working to get better every day. There has to be a reason I have survived ARDS twice. I have started communicating on the internet with other ARDS survivors and it does help.

posted 11/19/2007

Lorie Doskey

It was about March 19, 2007. I was so tired and I couldn't keep going. I had been battling a night time cough for 2 weeks. I called in sick to work the next day and went to the doctor. My oxygen was 70 and I was sent to the hospital. I couldn't catch my breath as I waited to be admitted. The next thing I know, I woke up on April 25th in a high watch area. I was being weaned off drugs from my drug induced coma. I had a hole in my throat, and couldn't walk, talk, or use my hands. I apparently was intubated a day after my arrival, and put in a bed called a roto prone. My kidneys had failed, I had congestive heart failure, sepsis, and as my parting gift, I got MRSA. The good news is I was discharged on May 2nd. My last PT appointment was in June. I went back to work on June 4th. The good news is I am alive. I love my family, friends, and God. Without them, I would not be here. I can walk and talk you would never know, except for the scars. My friends and family say my personality has changed. I have hope and try try try.

posted 11/7/2007


I started feeling bad on a Sunday. By 10 pm on Monday, I was on a vent. One week later, I went home for a week with oxygen. After seven days at home, I went into the ER again and was intubated almost immediately. I woke up again in early June. I had kidney failure and other issues, and went back on the vent, and was taken off at the end of June. All the doctors were surprised that I survived. I had lost the ability to move and walk, and spent two additional months in the hospital to learn to walk again and breathe better. I'm still on oxygen, as much as 12-15 liters to walk and exercise, and 2.5 liters when resting.

posted 11/6/2007

Krissy Bell

I went in for gastric bypass surgery on February 6, 2007. I had a blockage and was given contrast to diagnose the blockage for a a CT scan. The doctor took me to emergency surgery on February 9, 2007, and I aspirated the contrast into my lungs while under anesthesia. Today is October 26, 2007 and I am alive and survived ARDS. I was hospitalized for a total of 8 1/2 weeks, and was on a ventilator and then a trach.

posted 10/26/2007

Dawn Lombness

On July 16, 2007, I had a partial hysterectomy, and went home the next day. Four days after, I developed agonizing stomach pain, and was rushed to the hospital. I don't remember anything after that until Saturday, July 28th. I was strapped to the bed, with a tube down my throat. I was able to breathe on my own at that time. I was told I had sepsis from a nick in the colon, which happened during the hysterectomy. They had to open me back up and flush out my abdomen. I was in an induced coma for 5 days, and released 8 days after that. I was in and out for the next few weeks, after they FINALLY found a nick in my bladder too! I have problems with anxiety, flashbacks, memory, and energy.

posted 10/16/2007

Shannon Lea Miller

I was found unconscious in my bed by my husband on October 14, 2006. The ambulance officer's had tried to wake me, but without response. My principal diagnosis was pneumonia due to staphylococcus. I was in the hospital for over 2 months; my additional diagnoses were Sepsis, ARDS, Urinary tract infection, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Streptococcus, Polyneuropathy, Phlebitis and thrombophlebitis of other deep vessels of lower extremities, Asphyxia, Hypotension, Acute renal failure, Iron deficiency anemia, Acidosis, Hyperosmolality and Hypernatraemia, Cholecyctitis, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease with oesophagitis. I was in a coma on life support and unable to breathe on my own. My family was told that I may not make it, but I'm here watching my beautiful little boy grow up. I am still trying to cope with how this happened to me, but the doctors are unable to tell me. I guess I was just unlucky.

posted 10/16/2007


On 10/10/06, I posted to this page. At the time I was writing, I was five days post discharge from the hospital after experiencing a battle with ARDS. Tomorrow, 9/18/07 is the one year anniversary of my intubation. I am happy to say that I have made a full recovery, jog 3-5k three times a week and live life to the fullest. The love of my life, Lada and I are getting married on 10/12/07.

posted 9/17/2007

Paris Parker

I went in for surgery on August 8, 2007 for uterine cancer. The cancer was removed, but one of my lungs collapsed. I was taken off the ventilator for 1 and 1/2 hours, then put back on it due to fluid in both lungs. I remained in the ICU for 14 days on the ventilator with ARDS and developed a staph infection in my lungs. I survived and am at home, but still have problems breathing.

posted 9/11/2007

Debbie Moroz

My name is Debbie, and this is my story about this terrible illness. I don't remember Christmas 2006 as I was so tired and needed to sleep. By December 28, 2006, I was unable to breathe. The ambulance rushed me to the hospital and I woke up on January 19, 2007 not able to move and not understanding what the heck happened! I remained in the hospital until April and still have O2. I have had chest tubes bilateral and cuts to biopsy my lungs. Could someone help me with unanswered questions? I am so scared of this happening again! Why did it happen? I have a hard time sleeping even now 8 months later. Right now my life has changed and all I want is to get back to normal, if that is possible. Is there a normal life after ARDS?

posted 8/13/2007

Judy Young

Hey everyone, I am an ARDS survivor just like you. I have written numerous letters within our pen pal circle. I am writing to inform everyone of a new product on the market (if you have to use oxygen 24/7). I wear glasses and this latest product that I've found is great. There are glasses that allow you to get your oxygen through the hollow frame. I think it is the greatest thing. I no longer have tubes on my face and people can't tell whether I just got new glasses or if I got my nose pierced. If you want to know more send me a note. The company is based out of Colorado, but I am sure that if you are interested, they will work with you. I love mine and I have found a new freedom. Let me know. I pray that everyone is doing well.

posted 8/9/2007

Sue Yearian

I became ill with lithium toxicity and had to have emergency dialysis to clean the lithium out of my kidneys. I then was diagnosed with ARDS. I tell you this now because I am being told by my family what happened because I don't really know what happened. I was in a drug induced coma for 13 days, put on and off the ventilator twice, and my family went through hell...pure hell.

posted 8/7/2007


I developed ARDS in May 2007. I spent 14 days in the ICU, and 10 days in a drug-induced coma. I came very close to death, but have made a remarkably strong recovery. It's now early August, and I have not yet talked to any fellow ARDS survivors.

posted 8/6/2007

Tracy White

I went to the ER on June 17th with a high fever and abdominal pains. After a CT scan and blood work, they diagnosed me with diverticulitis. To make a long story short, on the third day, they put a tube into my stomach. This is when it gets foggy.
They tell me now that the nurse gave me too many narcotics, and I just found out several days ago when I got my medical records that she put the tube too far and it collapsed my left lung. On day 4, a central line was put in and I was put on the ventilator. My husband had to call in my family, and they were told I had only a 40% chance of living. I was on the vent for 9 days and when I awoke, I was put in a regular room. I couldn't walk, talk, write or even feed myself. I was discharged after 14 days and sent home. When I arrived home I fell and had to have a cast put on my wrist. I still have a hard time walking. It's been almost 2 months, and I can't do the things I use to and struggle daily just to breathe.

posted 8/4/2007


I had a pimple on my butt. It might sound humorous, but it ruined my life. I developed MRSA from this "pain in the a$$" and my world collapsed from there. I then got sepsis, double pneumonia, kidney failure, double lung collapse. I had to have a tracheotomy and five chest tubes placed. I was hospitalized for 3.5 months total, drug-induced coma & ICU for 2 months & in rehab learning to walk & do everyday activities for 1.5 months. I still don't understand why it happened and I'm still not 100% better, but I'm alive and proof that people do survive ARDS.

posted 7/27/2007

Debbie Moroz

This all began with me feeling very very tired. Due to major shopping and taking care of my ill parents, I thought there was justification for this abnormal exhaustion. To make a long story short, I crashed on December 28, 2006 and woke up from an induced coma on January 20, 2007. I was intubated and all of the night shift was clapping as they believed they would never get to meet me. I was not to survive this illness that I had never heard of. Things only went downhill from here; I had to be re-intubated after a biopsy, and I was completely unable to move any part of my body. I have been home from the hospital since April 2007 and pray this nightmare is over and will not come back. I am still on oxygen daily when needed but my sats drop to 60 when I sleep. I would like to talk to others about their cases and educate myself concerning ARDS, septic shock and bilateral lung infections.

posted 7/9/2007

Edward LeBlanc

I had ARDS in the beginning of 1990. I went from 138 pounds to 110 pounds in 5 days. My whole left lung is hemithorax with extensive fibrotic. I had lower left lobotomy pulmonary fibrosis, bronchietasis, asthma, to many different types of pneumonia. But I'm here if I can e-mail me. One breath at a time because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

posted 7/8/2007

Debbie Fown

I have underlining COPD and on November 6th, I was taken to the hospital in respiratory failure. I spent 9 days in the hospital,  6 days in the ICU on a ventilator and every other tube you can think of. It is 8 months later. I quit smoking 8 months ago and I feel a lot lot better, but still can not walk for very long distances such as shopping.

posted 7/7/2007

Sherri Louden

I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis in July 2006, and was being treated with high doses of steroids. We were attempting to wean me off the steroids, when I came down "with the flu". Fever/chills/vomiting for 4 days. My neurologist put me on Zithromax, as a preventive treatment since I had a fever, and was immunosuppressed. That was Thursday. By Sunday, I was unconscious, gray in color and struggling to breathe (per my husband). I don't remember a thing, except being very cold. He rushed me to the hospital, where upon arrival my O2 sats were 32%. I was intubated, and sent to the ICU, where I remained in critical and unstable condition for 4 weeks. I was paralyzed, put in a drug-induced coma, placed on a high-frequency oscillating ventilator. On day 5, they told my husband I wasn't responding to treatment, and I wouldn't make it through the night. After 8 1/2 long weeks (most of which I don't remember), I was discharged home. It is 5 weeks later, and I am still recovering!

posted 7/2/2007

Bill Prather

I underwent knee replacement surgery on November 1, 2006. That same night, I went into ARDS with pneumonia. I was placed in a medical coma for 2 weeks during which time I had a heart attack, respiratory hemorrhage, kidney shutdown and many other complications. I was not expected to live past day 4 in the hospital. I was finally released on December 23, 2006 to home care and follow on medical supervision. I would like to talk with others with this problem to help me deal with the medical issues.

posted 7/1/2007

James Greene

I checked myself into the emergency room at Kennestone Hospital in Marrietta, GA on 2/18/2001. I remember because it was my 20th year at the company I worked at. I was on a ventilator and put into a coma to heal. The next date I recall seeing on a calendar was May 16th. When I woke up I couldn't move due to muscle atrophy, and I couldn't talk because of the trach tube and ventilator. I was sent to LTAC and was there for about three months. I was released in August and my younger brother in Indiana was kind enough to take me in until I could learn to walk again. I lost about 40% of my lung capacity and my left leg has permanent nerve damage causing drop foot. But hey I'm still here on June 30, 2007. So my advice is don't ever quit...never.

posted 6/30/2007

Thaisae Libby

In February 2007, my daughter came down with the flu. My husband and I both caught it from her. The both of them got better as I got worse. I had lost my voice from all the coughing, I couldn't eat, I slept all day and was running a fever of 104. I was diagnosed with the flu and given a prescription. Two days later I was being air lifted to the best hospital in the state. The flu had turned to pneumonia and then to ARDS. I was in an induced coma and paralyzed for almost 3 months. It was one step forward and five steps back. I was not expected to live through this. They performed a lung biopsy and gave me a 50/50 chance of making it though the surgery. They had called in my family to say their final goodbyes. Miraculously, I shocked everyone and pulled through. I finally fully recovered from the coma a couple weeks before mothers day. I was moved out of the CCU shortly after that. On Memorial Day they removed my trach and that Thursday, May 31, I would move to a Rehab center. I spent almost one month in rehab. Determined to get home before my 1st anniversary in June. I made it home 4 days after. I have now been home for 1 day. So far so good. I am still on the oxygen and am moving pretty slow. Being in the hospital for 5 months, my knee has become calcified and I now need to get that fixed. It seems like one thing after another. I don't plan on being depressed and upset about my condition. I lost 5 months of my life, but have been given a second chance at it. I plan on taking that chance and living life the the fullest. At age 28, I never thought anything like this would happen to me so young. It just goes to show how short life really is. At the hospital I am referred to as "The Miracle Patient". The doctors still don't know why I got sick or why I got better. All I can do now is hope this doesn't happen again. I am willing to talk to anyone in more detail about my experience. Please feel free to ask.

posted 6/29/2007

Rilee Looper

In 2004, I was very sick lady. I was walking around for 3 months before we knew how sick I was. I was at my parents house and I told my mom I was not feeling too well. On February 15, 2004 my mom and my friend James took me up to the hospital at my local area of Aberdeen. After I checked myself in, I had to go to the bathroom so my mom took me. When I got back to the entrance of the ER I passed out. The doctor left me on the table for 4 hours before they would touch me. They thought I had overdosed on pills. The crisis worker had to tell them that I did not overdose and that there was something wrong with me. I guess they finally came in (this is what my family told me because I never woke up). They put me on a ventilator because I had no oxygen to my brain at all. I ran a really high fever and I had bad case of pneumonia, so they put a line in my chest on the other side and all kinds of things were hooked up to me. I ended up going to the ICU, but continued to get worse. They transferred me to Harbor View Medical Center when they determined I had ARDS. I stayed in the hospital for 10 days, and at one point they said I only had a 39% change of making it. They also discovered I had a staph infection and ecoli. Today I am a healthy person from the ordeal that I went through. My lungs are not fully functioning right, but I do OK. The hardest part for me is that when I catch a cold it a little harder to breathe, but outside of that I am doing great. It's been 3 years for me and I wanted to share this with you to tell you that I am a 3 years survivor of ARDS. Thank you for listening.

posted 6/22/2007

A.D. Rankin

It has been 2 months since I went to the ER and was immediately intubated and put in the CCU. I had pneumonia that turned into ARDS. I had bronchitis 2 weeks prior and was put on lots of medication for that from my primary doctor. On a Saturday morning, I woke up and was breathing heavy. My husband took me to the ER. I only remember going in, nothing else for 9 days. I also became septic, which from what I read only has a 50% survival. My father died from it in fact. My sister luckily is an ICU nurse and knew exactly what was going on and could inform the family what it all meant. She told me that they had me on twice the diprivan as a normal person and sometimes had to do ativan on top of that to keep me down. I stayed on the floor for 5 days and went home. I had to use a walker and slowly gained my strength back. I am still not completely back to normal, and I get tired easily. I am so thankful just to be alive though! And I had really good doctors and nurses.

posted 6/18/2007


It was a Tuesday night, the night the 2007 American Idol was doing its first auditions. Although I did not feel well, I was still looking forward to watching it. I had just had my new baby daughter 6 days before. About halfway through the show, I crawled up the stairs to the bathroom, completely out of breath. While in there I looked in the mirror and my lips were blue. It was then I decided to get to the hospital. Once it was realized I had ARDS and not just pneumonia, I was given relaxation meds. My saturations were at 48%. My husband was told to prepare for the worst and I had a 50/50 chance to live. I was put on a vent for three days. The doctor told me that I had a miraculous recovery, because just two days later I was released from the hospital with no lingering effects. I feel so blessed to be able to be home with my amazing husband, beautiful new baby and my three other wonderful children. This disease can be beat and my best wishes are with those who are having a hard time with it. January 16- January 22, 2007 released.

posted 6/16/2007

Kent Bingham

I went snow skiing on January 26, 2007 and fell sliding into a tree. I broke my right femur and was taken to the hospital where they performed surgery putting two titanium rods in my leg. While there I received four units of whole blood and then I was released to a rehab center. After a few days I got a temperature and I could not breathe so they took me back to the hospital. That is the last I remember until April 2007. My family said I was on a ventilator, dialysis, IV's, and everything else. I was completely out for the months of February and March. The doctors said I had pneumonia, merca, ARDS, and septa. I was one sick pup. The doctors brought my family in at one point and said when do you want us to unplug him he is not going to make it. My family insisted on doing something so they moved me to another hospital that has an excellent pulmonary unit. I was there from April 1 until April 26 then I went to rehab at the hospital. I continued to do therapy until May 26 when I was released to go home. ARDS is a difficult thing to get over. I have come a long way but I still have a long way to go. I am on 3 liters of oxygen 24 hours a day. I can get around with a walker so things are coming along. If anyone has any information on the recovery process, I would love to hear from you.

posted 6/1/2007

Laureli Morrow

I had a viral infection that spiraled to pneumonia and sepsis with MRSA very quickly. I was 38 weeks pregnant. On 3/16/07, I was rushed to the ER, intubated and shipped out - delivering my son upon arrival. I didn't even know he was born until 4/21. No one thought I would live. It is very hard, no follow-up provided, my children and husband and I are trying to process it all: the nightmares, the occasional memory, the anger at what happened and the damage from ARDS as well as the errors the hospital did (serious pain and left side nerve damage from ill placed chest tubes as well as a punctured lung). We on our own are seeking help (pulmonary respiration), and the doctors are no help. We are both RNs and can do this; what about people who aren't?

posted 5/25/2007

Richie Roberts

I had been fighting cancer for over 4 years. I had just finished up a year long round of chemotherapy and flew to Dr. Anderson in Houston for lung surgery. They resected part of my right lung and my diaphragm. I flew home three days after being released. Within two days of being home, I had pneumonia which developed into ARDS. I was on the ventilator for about 2 months (10 weeks). They kept me comatose after the second day because I was fighting against the machine. None of the medical staff expected me to survive, and there were many very scary moments. When I "woke up," every muscle in my body had atrophied, I was like a quadriplegic. I'm slowly regaining strength; I can walk short distances with a cane and only use oxygen when I exert myself.

posted 5/19/2007

John Williams

While speaking with my pulmonary physician, he said that I ought to know what ARDS is, because I'd been through two very serious bouts and I should be well aware of its nature rendering effects on survivability. In 1998,I came down with Legionnaires Disease and was told that being induced into a coma was a major factor of treatment that led to my survival. That experience was enough, and to my amazement, I'm currently realizing that I was put into another coma, for fungal pneumonia putting my life in serious jeopardy. Awakening from this, I couldn't walk, couldn't even sit up, needing to be fed and drinking heavy or thickened water. But, and I mean but, I'm alive and so very happy to be this way. We've all shared these monumental events as I have read here. If you need to share, contact me to share the breeze of our recovery. Oh yeah! I had a tracheotomy too. Alas, alas....John W.

posted 5/6/2007


I developed ARDS after an operation last August to remove my gall bladder. At the time I was 28 weeks pregnant with twins. After my operation I was taken to the labour ward of the hospital to recover. I awoke with a start because I could breathe in but couldn't breathe out. Frightened, I pressed the emergency button. Everything went black, but I could hear people around me shouting my name, yet I couldn't feel anything. My twin girls were taken out by c-section & I was placed on a ventilator and placed in a coma for my body to heal. I awoke 16 days later, unable to speak due to the trach in my neck and experiencing the worst hallucinations. I learnt I was a mum. Now 9 months later we are all doing well and enjoying life again. To all those people who think it's not possible to come through it, you can, because I did.

posted 4/22/2007


I was put in the ICU at the end of October 2006. I am 24 years old and I was in hospital to have baby, and they had to do a c-section. The next morning my heart rate spiked and I stopped breathing. I was put on a vent and they placed a emergency pacemaker in my neck. I have 11 scars form all of this. I'd love to talk to someone that understands. This illness has caused seizures, a heart condition and the inability to bear any more children. I have a whole lot more to my story so email me to talk.

posted 4/18/2007

Ryan Lochner

I was feeling fluish for a couple of days back in 1997 and with no improvement I went to the ER on March 31, 1997 (Easter Day). At the time I was a senior in college and getting ready to graduate and my parents were down to visit that weekend...thank god for that. At the hospital, my pain increased and my chest x-ray showed that one lung was full of fluid and the other was half-way filled. At this point my memories ceased. According to my parents I was awake, aware, and talking. That night things worsened and I was put on a vent. The next day I was flown via helicopter to the Cleveland Clinic. I remained on a vent for approx 60 days and during that time was on ECMO for 13 days. I had a number of hallucinations/dreams that (after the fact) I realized were linked to what was happening to me. They ranged from joyful to absolutely terrifying. It's been 10 years since it all began and overall I am in very good health. Contact me to share stories, concerns, or if you need some positive energy.

posted 4/8/2007

Sue Daugherty

I had ARDS in 2003. I was on the vent for 4 weeks. I thought I just had a cold, but went to the doctor on a Friday and was told I had bronchitis. I really don't remember what I did on Saturday, but on Sunday when I tried to get out of bed, I felt like I was falling. I thought I was having a reaction to the medications they gave me for bronchitis and went to the ER. I was told I had pneumonia in both lungs. I was admitted to the ICU and that is the last thing I remember until 4 weeks later.

posted 3/30/2007


In September, I got pneumonia-like symptoms, and ARDS developed within 72 hours. The doctor diagnosed me after 2 weeks and intended to send me home on hospice. I was flown to Mayo and put in a drug induced coma. I spent 149 days in the hospital and am still trying to recover.

posted 3/30/2007

Judy Otteson

In November 2004, I receive a tiny nip from a healthy, small dog. The bite was on the web space between my right thumb and index finger, and it hurt like the dickens, but I rinsed it, applied an adhesive bandage, and figured it would heal itself. Exactly 72 hours later, almost to the minute, I slipped into a coma. I had developed sepsis from the bite, which was a puncture wound that introduced a bacteria common to dog and cat saliva. Usually, our spleens filter something like that out of our blood, but for some reason, this bug slipped through and got me. Friends took me to a nearby ER on that third day where, three hours later, I went into respiratory arrest. ARDS was diagnosed the next day, and I stayed on a ventilator for the next couple of weeks. As a result of my blood not coagulating (DIC), the infection had spread rapidly and was, of course, life-threatening. From severe sepsis, my kidneys shut down, and my heart stopped twice. The blue blotches were hemorrhages (from DIC) that became 6-12" blisters, then open wounds. I got gangrene in both feet, as well as my right hand. The skin on my legs turned black and died, and on the 18th day, I was airlifted to a burn trauma center (Harborview in Seattle) for amputation of the fronts of both feet, four fingers, and removal of skin, fat and tissue on both legs. Three months later, grafted with skin taken from my back (the only "good" skin left to
take), I walked out of the hospital on skinny little bird-legs and with scars from the waist down. I'm doing remarkably well. I returned to work two months after discharge from the hospital and have had one of the foot amputations redone since then. I can walk, but shoes are now four sizes smaller and I'm able to stand upright for no more then ten or fifteen minutes. I can still sit on a horse, but my legs and feet remain painful. I still encounter some awful bouts of nausea from time to time (as one doc said, "kin is skin. You could be scarred inside, too") and have some trouble with temperature regulation. The remaining small patches of natural skin left on my legs becomes dry, flakes or peels, then becomes swollen, red, and itchy from time to time. There appear to be no residuals from the ARDS, and my body systems are in perfect working order once again.

posted 3/17/2007

Ton Bogers

I was hospitalized on November 22, 2004. I spent 7 weeks in the hospital, 6 weeks in the ICU, and 5 weeks in a coma. I had septic shock, ARDS, critical illness neuropathy, kidney dialysis, and an E-coli infected (multi resistant) left big toe. The cause was Legionella, as it appeared after 2 weeks in the hospital.

posted 3/4/2007

Name not provided

I survived ARDS in 1999. I was diagnosed with it while I was a little over 7 months pregnant. I was placed on a vent for 2 weeks and given 3 days to live. My baby was taken emergency c section she weighed 4 lbs 10 ounces. She has done great. I had one complication after another. God healed me and has let me live to see my baby girl growing up. I still have hangups over what happened. I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and to this day some things still get to me. I have a much longer version of this story if you are interested. It took me a year to get back on my feet and that was with caring for my newborn daughter. I still don't feel that I am as fast of a thinker as I use to be. I can't handle very many things to think about at once anymore. I also feel I am way more emotional over things and I don't feel my body is as strong as it was. Congratulations to all of you who have survived! I hear we are miracles to have survived it at all. God is wonderful. I thank him all the time and I always give him the credit for me surviving
and being here today.

posted 3/3/2007

Elizabeth I. Ball

I just recently got out of chemotherapy, and I am still facing symptoms of ARDS. I get the chills, and a fever without reason or cause. While I was in chemo, my platelets were low and my chest felt like it was going to collapse on me, which are symptoms of ARDS. I feel that it was induced by the chemo drug I was on. I mentioned it to my doctor and she said it couldn't be?? I disagreed with her and still do. I don't know what to do about it if the doctor doesn't listen to you?? Can someone give me some advice?? The heavy chest occurred while I was in chemo. I do know that ARDS is drug induced. I am due to have another procedure to get rid of the cancer, but I am definitely afraid of going into another drug induced coma, which I may not pull out of this time. The first time, I was out for weeks. I really don't remember how long I was out, all I know it was weeks. The first time I went into surgery, I was in for exploratory surgery for 8 hours; I had a total hysterectomy, and part of my colon was removed. This is only part of my story. I will post my story and I am still facing ARDS. Thank you.

posted 2/19/2007

Jonathan Such

I am a Chemical Engineer and keen marathon runner. In 1994, when I was working at Fluor's offices in Johannesburg, I became very ill with a severe cough and eventually collapsed and was taken to an ER. Lung x-rays showed white out in both lungs i.e. fluid filled. I was admitted to Garden City Clinic and given oxygen therapy in an open ward and put on an antibiotic IV drip. I became hypoxic and delusional. I thought I was being pursued by tsotsis (gangsters) in tunnels under the city and (apparently) ripped out my IV and staggered out nearly naked into a cold howling winter's gale in the car park and tried to break into a doctor's car (to escape??). I was rescued by security near death and ventilated in ICU; after 4 days, I recovered consciousness. I had survived a serious ARDS episode apparently. I was so weak for months and had to have lots of physiotherapy. I made a full recovery thanks to wonderful nursing at home by my wife, and am still running half marathons 13 years on.

posted 2/13/2007


Back in 2001, I went to the Topeka VAMC on a Monday and by Friday I was in the ICU. By the next day, I was on a vent. I also had double pneumonia. I do remember some vivid dreams. Even though I should wear a CPAP for apnea, it causes me nightmares remembering that part.

posted 2/12/2007

Michael Calone

Hi everyone. I contracted ARDS right after I started a new job. I was out of work for 6 months due to 2 shoulder surgeries. When I was released, I found a new job driving a tractor trailer hauling construction debris and leaves. I would go to local towns that collected the leaves off the street and I would haul them to a compost yard. The first day when I got home I felt tired and achy, and just brushed it off to being out of shape. One the second day, I was feeling worse, with a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. I came home, took a long hot shower and then got the worst case of chills and shakes ever. On the third day, my symptoms doubled. My wife rushed me to the ER and I went right into ARDS. My sats were down into the 60's, and my temperature was 102. I spent 2 and a half days on the ventilator, 11 days in the ICU, and 19 days total in the hospital. I still have no answers as to what caused it. Some people and doctors seem to think the composting leaves had something to do with it. I know dead leaves give off methane gas and mold spores. Has anyone ever heard of this? I'm still recovering and I was released Christmas morning.

posted 1/22/2007

Julie LaBrie

In June of 2006, I acquired a severe infection in my foot that ended up in sepsis. From there I could no longer breathe on my own and slowly all of my organs were shutting down. My kidneys failed, I was in DKA, I had DIC and was diagnosed with ARDS. My condition was extremely guarded. No one thought I would make it; if I did, I would be facing 6 months to 1-1/2 years for recuperation in the hospital. I woke up from the coma, and my kidneys restored themselves and my lungs are better than ever. I was in the hospital only 48 days compared to 6 months or longer. I was very lucky.

posted 1/21/2007

Jamie M. Bittle

I'm a survivor of ARDS. In my case it all started with staphylococcus pneumonia. My husband took me to the emergency room at about 3:00 p.m. on May 7, 2006. By 11:00 p.m. that night, I was in an induced coma. The next day my body went into sepsis, and soon after I got edema. I went from 125 to 350 pounds. From there, I got ARDS. I was in a coma for 39 days, and spent 2 months in acute rehab and 2 months in a skilled nursing home. I thank GOD every day for letting me survive, and my husband. He was there with me every day until I came home. Without him, I don't think I would of survived. I'm still recovering from it all. I go to therapy three times a week. I walk almost on my tiptoes, and I have a hard time writing. Could someone please email me back and let me know if you have these same problems as well? If so, have you fully recovered from them? Because I find myself so depressed at times thinking I'm never going to get better. Please email me. Thanks.

posted 1/11/2007

John Williams

Tomorrow I visit my pulmonologist Dr. Killian. I arrived home a few days before Christmas, on December 14, 2006. My partner and I experienced a different holiday season this year. We celebrated being home together, along with the kids (our beloved pets). Tomorrow I will ask the doctor if I've had this "ARDS" condition and then perhaps I'll understand what I've encountered these past few months. At present, I feel very dingy and am unable to walk, along with an array of other physical inabilities. I'm trying to convince myself that I am still living! I find this truly amazing! As of now all I know is what I'm being told concerning these events that I experienced during an induced coma and resulting incapacitation. These are being related to me by others that witnessed them firsthand. They say that I wasn't given odds pertaining to pulling through a diagnoses of intubation, double fungal pneumonia, septic shock/multiple organ failure,5 blood transfusions and tracheotomy, etc. All I recall is arriving at the emergency room by ambulance and asking the doctor to put me out, as I could not handle the anxiety arising from the inability to draw a breath. I then felt myself succumbing to the drug injection and hearing someone saying swallow as a device was thrust down my throat as intubation began. During unconsciousness, I perceived myself in a vast dark blue-indigo colored void surrounding my presence. I saw brilliant white sparks in front and the same piercing through my being from behind. Accompanying these sparks were multicolored flashes much like those emitting from a flashing diamond. I had an overwhelming sense of silence and well being within this realm surrounding me. Reflecting on these events and the prayers from friends requesting a positive recovery in my behalf, I know that with all that's happened during these times, we no longer ponder as coincidence, places us here now with a wealth gained to our spirit, ensuring a future well worth living. So I'll continue this recovery and continue prayers asking deliverance from anything resembling this.

posted 1/7/2007

Dwayne Koenig

I was in the hospital from February 3 to August 1, 2006. I was in a coma for most of it and have no memory of it other then the very real dreams. I am slowly recovering at home after weeks of PT. I have some problems, both physical and mental, and would like to talk to other guys with the same problems.

posted 12/31/2006


On July 9, 2006, I was admitted to our local hospital for double pneumonia in both lungs. I was at our local hospital for 2 1/2 days. I thought I was going to get to go home. I was in the middle of a breathing treatment as I also have asthma and I had an asthma attack. The next thing I know I am being taken to the ER so they could vent me. That is the last thing I remember for 9 days. I was transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis and put in an induced coma in ICU. I remained in the coma for 9 days. When I was moved to a regular room I was asked what day it was and I thought one day had only passed. I was released after 14 days. I had Home Health Care and PT and OT for 4 weeks at my home after being released and continued with my PT and OT for 6 more weeks. I am now back to work full time but still tire very easily. I had never heard of ARDS until I was in the hospital. My doctor said I was lucky to be alive and that's 90% of the battle with ARDS. I still find my short term memory off at times. While I was in the ICU I had an experience that I won't forget. My deceased grandmother was motioning for me to come to her. I told her that I wasn't ready. I really believe that and prayers are why I am here today. I am on the road to recovery but realize it will be something that will take awhile and something I don't want to go through again. In my therapy, I had to relearn to use my hands again as I was restrained while I was in ICU.

posted 12/27/2006

Judy Young

Hi everyone, my name is Judy and I am an ARDS survivor. I have been doing well, but I have a few sides effects from ARDS. I still have a cough and I am still on oxygen. I was diagnosed in February 2004 and was release from the hospital June 2004. If anyone has any suggestions about what I can do about my cough, please share. The oxygen I am okay with because I figure I need it. I am doing well overall and I thank God for letting me live to see Christmas 2006.

posted 12/24/2006

Sophia Marcello or

I was admitted to St Vincent's Hospital Dublin on August 7, 2005 with a Urinary Tract Infection, left flank pain and left basal Pneumonia. Intravenous antibiotics were administered for the next 8 days and I was self discharged on August 15th. I was admitted to Mullingar hospital on August 30th and was 29 weeks pregnant with my second child. I had severe septicemia and respiratory failure; within 24 hours, I was incubated and transferred to the ICU in Mater Misericordiae by police escort. My kidneys was so swollen that they leaked and that led to the blood poisoning. My lungs had collapsed from pneumonia and the doctors didn't expect me to survive the night. My diagnosis then was Pyle nephritis secondary to Hydronesphrosis of left kidney tract and secondary Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Critical care therapy included mechanical ventilator, in trope support, antibiotic therapy, antifungal therapy nutrition support, and intravenous heparin - possible pulmonary embolus. I ended up in a coma. On September 1st, placenta abruption led to an emergency C-section. My baby boy was delivered weighing 3 pounds, 2 ounces, and was then sent to the Special care unit in the Rotunda Hospital Dublin. I developed severe ARDS, left preconscious nephrostomy was inserted on September 7th, and oxygenation became increasingly difficult using convention ventilation. Inhaled nitric oxide was instituted with some effect. High frequency oscillatory ventilation therapy was instituted with initial improvement in oxygenation; prone ventilator strategy was used again with initial improvement. On September 19th, bilateral pneumthorax developed despite presence of a chest drain, which was a major problem despite maneuvers to minimize peak aspiratory pressures. On September 24th, a tension pneumthorax was associated with dramatic reduction in oxygenation and cardiovasculated compromise. A total of 7 chest drains were inserted. One month passed with HFOV ventilator and no resolution of severe ARDS. I was then transferred to Karolinski University Hospital Sweden on October 8th for Ecmo therapy. It was there that I had a lot of operations on my lungs and I had to get a metal coil in my lung just to hold it together, There is only myself and one other person in the whole world that has this. I lost all ability to use my muscles, and I couldn't lift my head, write, walk, etc. After a few months I was finally able to function. I left Sweden on December 5th, and went back to the Mater Hospital Dublin until June 30th, 2006. I spent 10 months in the hospital and I am still on 24 hour oxygen.

posted 12/11/2006

Gina Sowards

I was admitted to the hospital on 9-28-05 to have abdominoplasty and a hysterectomy. I aspirated on awakening from anesthesia just after the breathing tube was taken out. Two days later, I became short of breath and my oxygen saturation level was 32%. Yes, 32%. I went straight to the ICU and had to be put on a breathing machine for 11 days. During this course I was on pressers to keep my blood pressure up so that my other organs could be perfused. I was also on a continuous drip of a diuretic so my kidneys would make urine, along with receiving blood products. All of my cultures to rule out infection were negative. My Critical Care Specialist Physician told my family that I had a chemical burn to the lungs. The events of the trauma, dreams, hallucinations and among other post op recovery issues were so vivid in my mind until a few months ago. My lungs recovered after a few months, but I haven't been the same since. I have just realized that I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Also, a week after I went home, I was back in the ER for shortness of breath, and my electrocardiogram had major ischemic changes on it, even worse than when I was in the acute phase of ARDS. So I underwent a cardiac catheter and thank the LORD it was clean without any vessel blockages. I guess it was just the stress on my heart from the ARDS. The hardest thing about it is I am an RN and I work close with the docs that did my anesthesia and took care of me. I take patients to the ICU to the same room I was in when sick. I continue to be around the environment that it all took place in. Can anyone help with PTSD? Are there any studies? I really need help; I am not the same emotionally, cognitively and physically I feel like a wet noodle. I can't even do my job anymore like I used to! Thanks, Gina

posted 12/6/2006


I was in a car wreck on November 20, 2005 (that's what they tell me anyway). I had a crushed sternum, 8 broken ribs
4 crushed vertebra, and a broken pelvis in 2 places. I went into ARDS in full white out. I woke up on December 25th and haven't been right since.

posted 11/16/2006

Ester Ramirez

In April 2006, I was 24 and 7 months pregnant! Everything was going really well. I found out that I was having a girl which was my dream coming true.... Then I ended up in the ER due to a chronic cough. I was in the hospital for a little over a month. My baby and I survived�thank the good lord! I have lots more to say and it would help if I could share my stories with anyone who will listen.

posted 11/13/2006

Sharon Kidd

One weekend, I was disoriented and tripped. After having my ribs checked at the local ER, I was immediately taken into the ICU and remained unconscious for almost 3 weeks while my doctor fought the onset of ARDS. I lived. I am currently still in the hospital, but will be released soon to deal with the hallucinations that will ever plague my life.

posted 11/8/2006


I am a 34 year old ARDS survivor. I came home from the hospital on July 25, 2006. On June 22 I came home from work with intense pain from a kidney stone. By Monday morning I was not able to breathe on my own and I was put on a vent and life flighted to a bigger hospital. I am told I was in a coma for almost 3 weeks and on the vent for 4 weeks. I spent close to 5 weeks in the hospital. I am still on oxygen and unable to work. Neither I or my family members had heard of ARDS prior to me getting it. I am very thankful to be here today. I am also very thankful to have a wonderful supportive husband...he is the reason I am here today.

posted 11/8/2006

James Burns

I'm arriving on my 2 years of ARDS survival. My story is listed below. I know what each and every one of you have went through. The bad dreams, the pain, the continuing health problems, and much more. Know we have served for a reason that we can tell our story and help others. I would love to meet and talk with you one on one. I'm 24 now and living in Tennessee. Please email me.

posted 11/7/2006


I'm not exactly sure on what to write. My family tries to pretend it never happened. Any time I bring anything up about my coma, this look comes over their faces as if to say oh no here she goes again. But they don't know what I know about when I was in the hospital and they don't want to talk about it . I never had any therapy with any professional to help me through these nightmares, memories and leftover side effects. I can't remember how to spell anymore, can't do my housework, don't want to go out, my husband has to talk me into it. I wish the real me would come back. I don't like who I am .Can someone please help me? I was in the hospital in 07/27/02. I don't want to be like this anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Help! Susan Doherty-White

posted 10/23/2006

Tibisay Prada

I am 4 year ARDS Survivor, willing to participate in new clinical research programs.

posted 10/17/2006

Michele Cirillo

I am an ARDS survivor. I went into the hospital for outpatient surgery for a cyst in the pelvic area and the doctor cut my bowels. I was sent home for 5 days and constantly calling the doctor and getting no help. I was sent to the hospital and sepsis was all the way to my heart and lungs. I was put into a
drug induced coma for 2 weeks, and I had VRE and ARDS. I came very close to death and saw some very strange things while in the coma including loved ones no longer with us. I am now trying to put my life back together again. I not only had a birthday but got a divorce while in the hospital for 7 weeks. I would like someone to talk to.

posted 10/13/2006


I am a 38 year-old ARDS survivor, discharged from the hospital five days ago after a three-four week hospital stay. Here is my story. I had flu-like symptoms with high fever, trouble breathing, lung crackles, progressing into bilateral pneumonia. I was intubated and spent 9 days on a ventilator after developing ARDS. I had a bronchoscopy, antibiotics, etc. - ends up being viral white out pneumonia; the doctors were uncertain if I was going to live, but I turned the corner. I was extubated after 9 days. The residual effects include muscle weakness, I need PT and I've lost 30 pounds. I credit the fast aggressive and progressive treatment received at New York Presbyterian MICU in Manhattan. This experience has changed my life and was a wake-up call to focus on my health, exercise, never again have a cigarette/cigar no matter how occasional, reduce stress, get a flu and pneumonia shot, etc. I thank my family and friends for their prayers and support.

posted 10/10/2006


I am a ARDS survivor. I was 27 weeks pregnant when I was hospitalized for what I thought was a bladder infection. Over the course of 3 days, my breathing became labored and I had to be ventilated and put into a medically induced coma to help me and my baby live. I was on a breathing machine for a total of 5 weeks. I had pneumonia and sepsis as well as host of other infections. I consistently had a fever of 107.1. My docs had never seen a case like this, and I was sent to UAB hospital in Birmingham. I fought this disease with all I had to save my life as well as my daughter's. Although I went into labor only 13 days after being take off the machine, I am happy to say that now my baby and I are living a happy healthy life.

posted 10/9/2006

Michael Hurley

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with ARDS after weeks of horrible coughing fits and shortness of breath. I was admitted to St. Vincent Pediatric Intensive Care Unit on July 29, 2001, which was my last memory until September 11, 2001. This experience has been very painful for my family and me. I find myself very anxious and depressed these days, despite the five years since the incident. I would love to share experiences with other survivors.

posted 10/4/2006

Barbara Hutton

On Thanksgiving 2003, I started having severe pain under my right shoulder blade, and then it became difficult to breathe. I went to the ER (I have scoliosis, and they thought it might be a pulled muscle), and they gave me muscle relaxants and a shot for pain. By that night, I was unable to sleep because it was becoming more & more difficult to breathe. I went to a different hospital and was admitted. They did a CT of my chest & found pneumonia and emphysema in my lung. I was put in the ICU on a vent, and put under so I would not fight the tube. I was prepared for surgery, had surgery and then declined due to ARDS. I woke up two-plus months later to discover what had happened to me. It has been a long recovery but THANK GOD I did survive. I would love to communicate with other survivors to compare notes. I am STILL on oxygen at night due to my
O2 level at night.

posted 9/12/2006

Cindy Cole

I was diagnosed with pneumonia, in the hospital for two days, the ICU for 14 days, then a hospital room for three days. It started when I was feeling very low and wondered if the flu was coming. I went to a neighborhood clinic and was diagnosed with viral pneumonia. Over the next four days, the medication was not working system was fighting it. I drove myself to the ER on Monday morning due to being short of breath and dizzy. I was admitted and my stay is very blurred. the doctors were considering lung resection to find the underlining causation of my illness. After many days in ICU and medication, one doctor tried another drug and 6 hours later the surgery was not even considered. My recovery was hard. I had to learn how to walk, breathe and get used to the idea I now have diabetes due to the steroids. Depression set in about 3 months later and I am being treated on an ongoing basis. I see my pulmonologists on an annual basis and am happy to report with each visit I have improved. Upon being discharged I was told I extremely close to death. As a matter of fact, I "flat-lined" twice while in the hospital. My prayers go to the wonderful staff and knowledge of the medical advisors and teams I was assigned to.

posted 9/3/2006

Julie Branan

I developed ARDS due to pancreatitis after an ERCP. I spent 5 weeks on a vent in the ICU at Henry Ford in Detroit, and one month in an inpatient physical therapy rehab. I went home on 4/28/06, and have been in and out the hospital every month since, but generally better!!!

posted 9/1/2006

Amy Marie Martin

I am a survivor of ARDS. and still feel in the dark on a lot of medical issues I have faced these 5 years since my illness. I have had many depression and anxiety related illnesses as well as turned to alcohol as an answer to all of the unanswered questions I face in my daily life. I have done research on a limited basis and keep finding very few answers. I know I will never fully understand, but could really use help from both survivors and the medical field to finally have some of my unasked and misunderstood questions explained. I try to use the resources I have locally and find that there are few specialists who even know what ARDS is.

posted 9/1/2006


I have already told a little about my story, but I need to tell someone who may be having the same problems I am . I can't seem to remember even the simplest of things. I know my family can't understand what I am going through, but I really need some one to talk with. I fear I am losing my mind. I want to get in my car and just drive far far away, but I know that is not going to help me. I don't know what to do. If someone has any idea as to what I should do, I would appreciate your suggestions. Thank you for reading this.

posted 8/22/2006


I too am an ARDS survivor. I had a knee replacement done on February 22, 2006. Everything went fine; I was sent home on Sunday, and started therapy on Monday. From the time I got home, I had no appetite, and just felt crappy. I didn't really have much pain from the surgery, but just wanted to lay around. Well meaning friends and my hubby told me I had to get up and get dressed and carry on as best I could. On Friday I told my hubby that I just couldn't make it anymore; I could barely pull myself up. I went my regular doctor and she ordered chest x-rays and a CT scan. My lungs showed up white, which was not good. I had sepsis that caused pneumonia and quickly turned to ARDS. Luckily I was taken to St. Cloud Hospital, which has an excellent ICU unit. I don't remember much about anything from Friday afternoon on. I was put into a drug induced coma for 62 days. I was on a ventilator, I had a feeding tube, I had a trach tube. All I know is that when I woke up, I had missed 62 days...I couldn't believe it was the end of April. While I was in the coma and for about 2 weeks after I came out of it, I had horrible scary dreams. I don't remember them in detail any longer, but my reality and my dreams were so mixed up I didn't know what was true and what was a dream. I just finished with therapy, but my hands are still really bad, stiff, etc., and my shoulder joints are so still so sore I can't put on or take off a t-shirt without pain. I'm tired all the time, and I still haven't gotten off the oxygen completely, and my beautiful thick dark brown hair all fell out (it's growing back)! But I'll tell you a secret if you promise to take it to heart- I'm alive - so blessedly alive. I know that God and His Son and Our Blessed Mother, and all the saints in heaven watched over me. I had people praying for me all over the world - from California to Africa and beyond. I make rosaries for the missions and the people who receive the rosaries pray for the one who sent them, and my children and my friends here asked everyone to pray as well.

posted 8/22/2006

Micah Thompson

I went to the local ER feeling flu like symptoms on September 7, 2005. An x-ray revealed full "white out" aspiration. I was intubated and flown by helicopter to the regional medical center, and air-ambulanced to the children's hospital in Seattle. I spent 10 days on ECMO and a vent, and another 11 on the vent alone. I was transferred to UWMC for rehab, transferred closer to home and came home 2 days before Christmas. I've spent the eight months since then getting stronger and dealing with the horrible hallucinations. If anybody needs help in dealing with their ARDS experiences, please e-mail me.

posted 8/20/2006


I was admitted to the hospital after initially being diagnosed with bronchitis that did not improve with antibiotics, then pneumonia when I went back to doctor two days later. I did not improve, and began to really have trouble breathing about 36 hours after admission. I was transferred to the ICU, intubated, and was on a vent for about eight days. I am home now, getting PT to improve my ambulation/balance. I was on Amniodorone, and I think that was the culprit. I have yet to see pulmonologist. My thyroid was way overactive too.

posted 8/15/2006


I have so much to tell, so I will break it down. I think ARDS was a byproduct of a surgery I had. On June 11, 2006, I had Dumont stint placed and removed because it failed in my trachea. I went home, but was re-admitted on June 13th for breathing problems. On June 21st, I had a tracheal resection. I was sent home on June 30th. On July 13th, I collapsed in my home and landed on a vent for 4 days. I was told it was a case of ARDS. On July 27th, I was sent home. I thought I was over it, but on August 2nd, I was readmitted to the hospital. It looked like ARDS again, but we caught it in time. I was discharged two days ago, on August 7, 2006. My breathing is still labored, but I am glad to be home. It has been tough. I have two small children, and it scared me. I am starting to remember bits and pieces.

posted 8/9/2006

Ruth Mandry

I underwent a relatively minor surgical procedure, a laparascopic fundoplication, on 4th March 2005. This was in an attempt to bring under control my asthma. Two days post op I developed pneumonia and went into respiratory failure. I was intubated and put on a ventilator. I was put into a drug induced coma. I remained in the coma for three weeks as each time the medics tried to bring me out of the coma I was unable to breathe on my own. It is now 5th August 2006 and still I suffer the aftereffects of ARDS. Currently I have two stents in my airways to keep them open and require mucomyst to stop mucus plugs occurring. I eventually suffered 10 plus attacks of respiratory failure, with the last one resulting in my heart stopping. From this I developed a troponin leak. Fortunately though, the damage to my heart was minimal. I am still unable to shower myself independently. I am finding though that the quality of my life is very very slowly but surely improving. I also now have trachio-malachia and for this I need oxygen. ARDS is a terrible thing to have happen, not only for the person who suffers it, but also for the family who has to stand by and watch.

posted 8/4/2006


My name is Susan, and I have survived ARDS. But I often wonder if I really did. I really need someone to talk to about my experience. My family and friends tell me to thank God and move on with my life. But I don't feel like I have a life anymore. I'm not the same person I used to be. I can't explain it to my family, they don't want to hear any more about it. One sister, says she had hard times and you don't hear her mentioning it. Move on. I really need someone to help me!!!!! I'm not sure where to go or who to talk to about it. It has been four years now, please help. Thank you. Susan Doherty-White

posted 7/21/2006

April Snow

I got post-op ARDS on 9/26/05. I was in a medically induced coma for 15 days. Now I am having all kinds of health problems and need information on what other ARDS survivors are experiencing.

posted 7/20/2006


I have told my story already in this forum last year. I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of ARDS survival. Most everything is back to normal. I still find scars in odd places that happened during the drug induced coma, but that I can live with. The only problem I'm having is with the scar tissue in my trachea. I had the tracheotomy done a couple of weeks into the coma, and it remained for 2 months. I have a very quiet, raspy voice now, and tracheal stenosis (my trachea gets pulled shut by scar tissue). I've had 2 surgeries to stretch and remove some of the scarring, but it comes back. Has anyone else dealt with a problem like this? I'd appreciate any input.

posted 7/19/2006


I entered the Topeka VAMC on a Tuesday, and by Friday I was in ICU with pneumonia as well as ARDS. I spent 33 days in the ICU, 19 of which were on the ventilator. The first time I was removed from the vent, I coded. After the ICU, I spent another 3 months in rehab to rebuild my strength since I was so weak. I couldn't even brush my teeth.

posted 7/8/2006


I was involved in a very serious auto accident. My fianc�e and I were hit head on by an 18 wheel gravel hauling semi. I suffered a spiral (almost compound) fracture of the left femur, and underwent emergency surgery at Swedish Medical Center in Denver. The surgery was done out of fear that the bone would cut my femoral artery. The day after my surgery, the doctors noticed spots on my lungs, and I was taken to the CCU (critical care unit). I spent almost 2 weeks in the CCU in a "coma" and under full sedation. I was intubated, and had a ventilator and respirator doing almost all of my breathing. I have vivid memories of some of the events of this time, but do not remember much. This accident and these events occurred in 2002, and I now have asthma as a result. I do have some short term memory issues at times, but I feel that I am finally on the road to a full recovery.

posted 7/5/2006


I was admitted directly to ICU with double pneumonia on April 25, 2006 and intubated the next day. I was intubated for 16 days and have very vivid hallucinations of things just not there. I remember virtually nothing of those 16 days and I have to rely on family and friends to relate to me what went on. I went into congestive heart failure the second week there, but when treated for fluid retention, I began to rapidly improve. I was extubated on May 11th and discharged on May 16th. Some memory issues still occurred and my legs were very weak. My daughter called me her "scramble head dad". Things have improved over the past month and seem to be back to near normal with some PT for the legs.

posted 6/28/2006


On July 28,2006 it will be four years of torment and tears that I was diagnosed with ARDS. I would really like someone to communicate with. My family and friends tell me to just forget it and get on with my life, but what they don't understand is I can't get past this nightmare alone. My husband understands but  can't relate to the nightmares I had in my coma. If someone out there would like to email me, I would really appreciate it. I need help... I can't even get my domestic chores completed. I also have short term memory loss. I continue to ask questions over and over again. Please help me. Thank you, Susan

posted 6/23/2006


In December 2005, had just finished chemo treatments for stage 1 breast cancer. I had trouble throughout, involving high fevers and then the fateful day found myself in the grip of painfully horrendous hallucinations. It felt like a bad sci-fi movie so similar to experiences described by many here. The most awful included body parts being harvested, and blood drained for beverages, and often trying to pedal to death, and oddly had a strange sense of being in this place before. Anyway I  finally and very slowly came out of this state after a couple of weeks and was told it was ARDS. I had absolutely zero memory of how I got to hospital or the entire week before It took over five weeks to walk again without a walker. I am still often going back to that world of delirium. Only all of you know what I mean...Thank you.

posted 6/14/2006

Amy Kelly

I was admitted to the hospital July 7, 2005 due to a severe virus or bacteria that my doctors suspect may have come from my tropical vacation the week before. I was vomiting and running a high fever with severe chills when I went to the emergency room. That is the last day I fully remember. I woke up 7 weeks later with a trach and was unable to move much from the neck down. Like many ARDS survivors, I only recall vivid dreams during the time I was intubated and put in a drug induced coma. My family tells me the facts of my iICU stay. I understand that a blood clot to my lungs, a DVT, almost ended my life and began my ARDS journey. I had severe sepsis, was put on dialysis, required a chest tube, had heart problems, and developed a staph infection during my 7 weeks of coma. I was not expected to survive. At one point, my doctors were concerned with the very real possibility of brain damage. I survived because of my family. In my many dreams they were close by and trying to get to me. I woke up very confused and easily lapsed back to my dream state. It took a few days for me to understand I was still in a hospital and had lost 7 weeks. I had never seen so many tubes coming out of my body, and I could not believe how weak I was. After 2 more weeks in the hospital, when I learned how to sit in a chair, I was moved to a rehab hospital to learn how to walk again. After 2 weeks in rehab, my trach was removed and I only needed o2 at night. That month in rehab was full of many firsts, the first time I could feed myself, bathe myself, my first step. I was on a walker, but I walked out of rehab hospital in October 2005. After 3 months of outpatient rehab, I was released, taken off of all oxygen, and ready to work. I returned to my teaching job in January 2006. In April of 2006, a last round of tests showed I had no permanent damage, not even my lungs! I do tire easily, have muscle aches, and suffer from mild memory loss. My team of doctors calls me a miracle, and I feel like one. I am grateful for every day. I am grateful for my friends and family that supported me. I am approaching my 1 year anniversary from my onset of ARDS. Thank you to this web site for letting me reflect. For those recovering from ARDS, please do not give up, it is possible to get your life back.

posted 6/11/2006

James Mulinex

I was in an induced coma for 30 days and the doctors give me only a 10% chance to live. I was on the respirator at 100% for 13 of those days when I had 3 strokes. I was then moved to a university hospital. When I woke I had to learn to walk, talk and know who I was again. I still have nightmares and problems in my everyday living today.

posted 6/7/2006

John Furlong

On March 18, 2006 I was admitted to the hospital having a severe asthma attack. My vitals were off the chart so I was intubated .Somewhere along the line I developed double pneumonia, a staph infection, ARDS, abscesses on my right lower lung and underwent 2 blood transfusions. I was intubated for 40 days. The doctor said I had less than a 20% chance of survival because of all these issues. I had a lot of vivid dreams. I actually thought I was already dead and in some sort of purgatory. I saw myself in the morgue and at my funeral with people and family around me. I remember consciously saying to myself that "if this is the afterlife then this really stinks." Ordinarily I don't remember my nightly dreams, but I still remember most everything from that time I was intubated. I remember coming out of it and my brother telling me that the Yankees and Mets were doing great, which I thought odd being I believed it was mid-March. It still took a week to get my bearings straight and my mind right, and to dismiss some of the notions I'd dreamt about,...that they weren't reality no matter how bizarre they were. The physical therapy was the hardest thing I ever had to cope with in my entire life. Suddenly I couldn't walk and all my fine motor skills were shot. I am still going to rehab 3 days a week, but am recovering quite well . My doctor labeled me the comeback player of the year, although I'm not sure I quite feel that way. I still cant believe your body can fall apart so quickly and thoroughly without being mangled in a car accident or something similar. Thank God I have had great therapists and a lot of patience and help from my wife and kids. I have been home 2 weeks now and will hopefully be back to work within a month or so. I would like to share with others who have had similar stories, as well as people whose perspective about life and God have changed because of their experiences.

posted 6/5/2006

Letitia (Tish) R. Gillette

My name is Tish (short for Letitia) Gillette and I am 59. On March 18, 2006, I had major surgery of repairing a slipped nissan. On March 24, 2006, I was placed on a respirator. I had no idea what had happened but I knew it was serious. Five days later, I was able to be removed from the respirator. It was a celebration from my physicians, nurses and other personnel. I was so happy to be off the respirator. I never realized the equipment on my face. I kept talking to the staff and close friends, and they tried, very gently, to explain my condition, but at the time, I was incapable of understanding. I was hospitalized for approximately 3 weeks. I was so happy to be home. Then confusion set in. For approximately three months, new ailments keep appearing. I also have been diagnosed years past with Fibromyaly and Sjogrens. These symptoms have increased with the pain. I have experienced severe restless syndrome. Every fiber of my being is in constant pain. I am ready to scream with frustration and pain. My family physician has been great in listening to all of my physical complaints. All sorts of test have been requested. There has been a great deal of pain dealing with my fluid build- up, One result was I was anemic, the amount was less than 2 pints. My physician explained that this could possibly be the source of my general pain, the increase in body retention fluids. Now I have been in an acute pain from the tailbone slipping. I can't move my body without wincing in pain. I am on medication for my bipolar condition (at this time, I am experiencing some acute anxiety emotions corresponding with intense frustration). My physician that operated on me does not appear to understand aftercare symptoms of ARDS. He did suggest I go to my family physician. I gave her some information that my roommate located on the Internet. She was really sincere and eager to learning about the ARDS Syndrome. I am pleased that my doctor is willing to understand my symptoms, and has the desire to deal with the symptoms I am experiencing. I really need some type of support system in place. My background is as follows: Age 59, living in San Antonio for the past three years, before that was raised in Jackson, MS. I have 18 years of sobriety by the grace of my God. I was a certified addiction professional for sixteen years. In my career I was fortunate to have experience with adolescents. I have worked inpatient and outpatient facilities which I thoroughly enjoyed. The last three years, I was a probation officer for a private company dealing with DUI's, drug possessions and family violence. Of course it was never dull and the opportunity to deal with interesting situations was happening on a regularly basis. I retired due to disabilities and moved to San Antonio to be close to my grandchildren. I so need information on ARDS symptoms and solutions, and especially some personal contacts that understand my personal symptoms as they are now, and possibly, some hope for healing.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

posted 5/29/2006

James Andrews

During the first half of 2001, I was admitted for surgery for colon cancer. After surgery, I developed ARDS and MRSA and was kept fully sedated for 77 days; I am one of the very lucky ones who was able to "walk" out of hospital 95 days after being admitted. As a result of my "sleep", my life change totally and now, five years on, I am still asking questions...

posted 5/21/2006

Jane Fifer

It has been 5 1/2 years since my ARDS started with bacterial pneumonia. I was in the hospital for 3 months, and I am still on medication, am still disabled, and my prognosis is 60% lungs, 70% brain and physical. I would like to know if anyone else who suffers from leg, ankle or foot trauma, and if there is anyone who didn't recover 100%. I am the only one to have ill effects of those I have talked to. I have brain damage from the high fever. I am glad to know that ARDS has a common ground. We all feel bad that we will never be the same as we were before.
I wrote down all the experiences from the hospital and now post 6 years, I am in 75% the way I was. So much brain power is lost forever, extreme pain in extremities, getting fat because of steroids, oh, I am suppose to be happy I am alive, too. Someone please help me get over the loss of me.

posted 5/19/2006

Kimberly Ann Ryan

My name is Kimberly. In December of 2003 I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with my son. I was 33 years old. I had pneumonia I believe 5 times during my pregnancy. The previous 5 years I had it a couple of dozen times. I suffered from anorexia. My immune system was depleted. On December 3, while I was alone at home, I called 911 because I couldn't breathe. I remember they worked on me for what seemed a very long time in the parking lot. I was admitted to our local hospital in the ICU. At first the doctors thought I had pneumonia again. Within a 12 hour period I was very ill. They transported me to Albany Medical Center. The doctors tried everything to help me breathe (I refused to be intubated). I was afraid I would die if they knocked me out. On the 6th, they intubated me against my will. They then did an emergency C-section to save my son's life. I have no recollection of any of the events until I woke up 3 weeks later. I have memories from when I was "asleep" but I freaked out when I came to and was skinny as could be. I thought I had lost my son. I had been given my last rites and the doctors had told my family to say goodbye. I have flashbacks at times from that period. But, I am a survivor. I have major anxiety and many times I cannot breathe because of that. I have a hard time telling if I really am unable to breathe or if it is an anxiety attack. I must say this ordeal changed my life. My son is 2 1/2 and very healthy. The doctors and nurses told me that they have heard of pregnancies from Hell, but my story topped the charts. I am thankful (most of the time) that I was lucky enough to survive. I am grateful for my children.

posted 5/19/2006

Mike Saari

In July 2005, I was taken to the emergency room with severe side pains. It turned out to be a cyst on my pancreas. I went in on July 5, and woke up on July 25 and just heard the word "ARDS" for the first time yesterday. I'm still trying to absorb what the doctor told me yesterday and would like to read more and possibly write more later.

posted 5/17/2006

Sherry Weaver

On November 23, 2005 I was put in the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs and then got ARDS. I was in the ICU for five weeks and on the breathing machine for 4 to 5 weeks. They only gave me a 40% survival rate and then they weren't sure I would live at all. I did start getting better, and finally left the hospital on January 19, 2006.

posted 5/17/2006

Carol Glazer

My diagnosis was Influenza B, pneumonia & ARDS. I was in the ICU when I stopped breathing. My symptoms were a severe dry cough & a low grade fever for about 48 hours before being hospitalized. I was on a ventilator and in a drug induced coma for 10 days. When I woke up, all symptoms of the flu & pneumonia were gone, but I was very weak and unable to walk for a few more days. I also had hemorrhages in both eyes including bruising around the eye and extremely red eyes from the pressure & fluid build up. I was discharged from the hospital on April 16, 2006 (Easter). I had my follow-up appointment on May 10th and am now symptom-free and will be able to work again in a few weeks.

posted 5/15/2006

Kim Brothers

I was just released from rehab two days ago. I'm a very strong and controlled person, but I've been having very scary vivid dreams and emotional distress. I can't stop crying and need someone to talk to who has been between "both worlds" and feeling stuck in between. I have severe insomnia.

posted 5/15/2006


Hello. I had ARDS in February, 1998. I was 30 weeks pregnant when I got ARDS. The doctors had given up on me and my unborn child several times. They had to do an emergency C-section on me because my unborn child had ARDS now. It was a battle for my family and friends. I'm doing better and now my 8 year old son is doing a lot better.

posted 5/7/2006

Sarah Beth Miller

I was admitted to the local hospital on Memorial Day in 2002, and was diagnosed with bilateral bacterial pneumonia. My vital signs continued to deteriorate and by Friday of that week I was sedated and put on a ventilator. The next day, my family had me moved to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where I was in the ICU for 39 days and diagnosed with sepsis and ARDS. My kidneys failed and was put on dialysis for 2 weeks. Then, I remember hearing someone talking about the 4th of July and fireworks, and I couldn't figure out what was going on, because the last thing I remembered was Memorial Day. After 3 weeks in rehab, I was able to go home walking with a cane. My total stay in the hospital, including rehab, was 65 days. I have been in a wonderful study with some doctors at Vanderbilt. They are studying the cognitive problems encountered by those who have survived critical illnesses and been sedated for extended periods of time. I did go back to work very quickly after recovery, and it was a huge mistake. I retired 3 years later because I simply couldn't handle the stress and long days. My ability to concentrate was severely affected by ARDS. My family has a hard time dealing with the fact that I will never be the same person I was pre-ARDS.

posted 5/7/2006

Judy Young

I have submitted my story already. I just want to say a little to all of the ARDS survivors out there that are struggling with what has happened to them and also encourage them that they and myself are survivors and we should not put ourselves down because we don't understand what has happened and because it may have changed us a little. Just remember that deep in our hearts we are the same people, we just have a situation to deal with and that we can overcome because we have made it this far. I want to add that if you are suffering from depression it should not be a surprise because you have just experienced a traumatic event in your life. Seek professional help. I did and I feel so much better even though I am still on oxygen and I still need medications for other problems I have come down with from this sickness. So please, let us hold our heads up high and keep reminding ourselves we are SURVIVORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted 5/6/2006


I am a 21 year old female from Texas, and I am an ARDS survivor. It sounds so surreal when I put that in words, because my illness was almost one year ago. Yet it seems like just yesterday, and I don't think that anyone can truly understand that aspect of my life unless they have been there themselves. My life is now divided in half, before I got sick, and after.
I think about it everyday, and the trauma that it put on my body and family. At times I feel like that experience is as much a part of me as my own name. This event in my life has altered my entire existence, and I may look close to the same on the outside, but I will never be who I was before my illness, and nor do I want to. I acquired ARDS from another rare illness named Lemierres Syndrome, which begins with a sore throat and spreads to other areas of the body. I am told that I had the worst case of the worst case. There are only 100
cases every 10 years of Lemierres worldwide. It was my youth and good health that contributed greatly to my fight. Because that is what it was, the fight of my life. After 2 months in the hospital, 3 weeks in a rehab, and 4 months of outpatient therapy, I am finishing up my junior year in college, and approaching the one year anniversary of the onset of my illness. It was been a long journey to get to where I am today. I know that I could not have survived this illness without my Lord and the many, many prayers that my family, friends and many people everywhere sent for me.

posted 5/5/2006


I recently had a colloid cyst removed about one month ago. I am still having problems with my memory and I am very depressed and cannot sleep. Has anyone has had this type of surgery?

posted 4/22/2006

Susan White

On July 27, 2002 I had chest pain, only wanted sweet things to eat or drink, couldn't sleep and was always cold. My doctor, without even examining me, said my chest pain was arthritis, and at least I was eating something . My mother told me I was at her house and very tired and freezing and that was in July . I told her I was going home to sleep and she watched me walking, and called my husband right away and told him to call an ambulance. He did and came outside and I collapsed in his arms. All of that I don't remember. I ended up in the ICU and they told my family to not expect me to survive. They told them they would give me 48 hours. In there, I had the most horrific vivid nightmares. I still relive my nightmares after four years. I need someone who I can help me get through this.

posted 4/16/2006

Mark Perreault

I was admitted to the ER with Toxic Shock Syndrome from an ingrown hair that I had in my beard that had gotten infected. I had the hair/abscess lanced and drained, but the toxins from the TSS had already taken over my body. To start, my kidneys failed (Acute Renal Failure), then my breathing began to cease (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). I was admitted 2 days later to ICU where I was intubated. I needed 2 units of blood by transfusion, then they put me on dialysis 4 times to clean my blood while my kidneys were recovering. I was intubated for 2 weeks and 3 days, and was also under a drug induced coma. I was finally extubated and breathing with an oxygen tube in my nose at 20 psi. I also developed pneumonia so I was being treated for that as well. Last, I developed anemia. After I got better and started to breathe and eat normally, I got transferred to the cardiac ward where I was sent to recover. I slowly gained some energy back and started walking again. I'm now at home and will be back at work for half days in about a week's time.

posted 3/19/2006

Chris Christensen

John Nelson has had somewhat the same experiences I had (see below on ARDS survivor pen pal page). However, I have a trach. My vocal cords have closed up somewhat. I want to know if anyone out there knows of successfully surgery to open the cords for normal breathing. When the doctor lasered it open, it grew back together. He says I am a "healer" when it comes to natural repair of my tissue. The doctor says If they try laser again, I might compromise my breathing, swallowing or talking. Would anyone give me advise or direction? Much thanks.

posted 3/17/2006

James Burns

I had a serious car accident, injuring almost everything and causing internal bleeding. I developed ARDS and was put into an induced coma and paralyzed. The doctors of UK put me in a roto prone bed from KCI and with ECMO. The said this was the first time in the world this had been done and I survived.
ECMO was what got my oxygen level back up from out of the 70 range, along with the proning bed. I had a trach and ventilator, which I was on for more than 2 weeks. I can say I've truly been through it with this and had to learn to walk again after my stay in ICU for 48 days with a total stay in the hospital of over 4 months and months of physical therapy. I'm just so glad to finally find a site that can sort of help me with the problems I face today, from bronchitis and phenomena stricken every other month. I feel lazy and don't have the energy to do anything anymore.

posted 3/15/2006

MJ Hamilton

I just found this website and I am excited to look into it further. I feel a bit crazy/lazy lately and am looking for support "after recovery". I had pneumonia with sepsis (critical care myopathy/neuropathy/ARDS) about 7 months ago. I was asleep for approximately 2 weeks when I awoke to find out about this and the fact that I had lost all ability to use my muscles - I couldn't lift my head, write, walk, etc. After a few months of rehab, I was finally able to function enough to go home to live with my sister. A few months after that, I went back to work, was released from rehab, and here I am. I work full time, and I am so tired by the end of the day it is ridiculous. I have gained too much weight (was underweight when I left the  hospital). I've always been active (not necessarily exercising, but active with kids, etc.) but now I barely make it home to my bed and I'm done. Every day. It seems to me that I needed more rehab, but it is too much of a hassle trying to deal with doctors/insurance. I am looking for anyone who can simply understand what this feels like.


If there is anyone in the Memphis, Tennessee area who would like to meet, please let me know. I would like to know someone in person who could use a friend, exercise pal, etc.

posted 3/6/2006

Sandra Meyer

At the age of 35, I became ill with a slight pain in my left side and achy flu like symptoms. After several trips to the doctor with no apparent infection, I was declining rapidly and was admitted to the hospital. My body weight had already jumped dramatically with edema. I don't remember anything after going to the ER. In the hospital my gall bladder was removed.
(I was told later that my gall bladder was not the problem). I then developed sepsis and went into shock, which led to ARDS and multiple organ failure. I was airlifted to another hospital and put on the vent. My hospital stay totaled 2 months. Although this was several years ago and as far as I know I have no residual negative health effects, I don't think I will ever be the same. The nightmares along with the inability to move or even speak after coming out of the coma are still haunting. Couple that with the fact that no one ever really knew what the initial illness was....Scary!

posted 2/25/2006

Heleri Scott

Unfortunately I don't know much about my own ARDS situation. I sure don't remember a thing. My family doesn't remember much of anything either, they say. It has been very difficult for me emotionally and mentally. Physically I am doing very well. I got ARDS in July of 2000. I don't even remember being sick or anything. I was having a lot of emotional things going on at that time, although now it is just even more. I had horrible dreams and hallucinations. They were horrific. I still have flashbacks and a very hard time sleeping. I am 31 years old now. I am not even sure how to find out information about my own stay in the hospital since my family doesn't seem to want too help me. I have trouble now with spelling and concentrating. All I remember is the very last day in the hospital and going home. I was so confused and so anxious. I still am. The whole thing has been so very traumatic. I can't get passed it. They say they that I might of have bronchitis and it turned into pneumonia but they really aren't sure. They took so much blood that I had to have a blood transfusion and I got Hepatitis -C from that. I also am now an insulin dependant diabetic. I was already diabetic on pills. I have sleep apnea now so I have to use a c-pap machine. I was on tons of morphine and on Deprovan I think. That stuff is awful!!!!!! I would really like to hear from someone who has had some of the same things happen to them.

posted 2/12/2006

Kelly Pope

I was 42 years old and in perfect health until I woke up one morning with a fever of 104.5. I went to the ER and was told I had a virus. I was taken back to the ER the next day and admitted to a medical floor with pneumonia (which doctors say was the kind pneumonia they send people home with a prescription of antibiotics), and within 18 hours I was moved to ICU on a ventilator. I spent 54 days on the ventilator, 8 weeks in ICU and 1 week on a regular floor. I was told I would go to a rehab center, but was able to walk 200 feet past the distance my insurance paid for inpatient rehab. I went home unable to go from sitting to standing without assistance, but progressed out sheer determination. I still had a feeding tube and it had gotten infected, so using my abdominal muscles was very hard. My family kept a journal the entire time I was in ICU. This was very helpful in orienting me to what had happened to me. I had bizarre and psychotic dreams too numerous to detail here, but were likely the effects of pain medication and ICU psychosis. It has now been a year and I am almost back to my baseline of functioning. I too get fatigued, have some chronic pain and am terrified of getting a cold. I am certain that the scars on my lungs have indeed shortened my lifespan.
Yet, I know I survived a horrendous battle in my chest and I can deal with the residual problems. I tell myself daily I survived ARDS, I am indeed lucky and I now need to focus on making every moment of my life count. I thank each and every nurse, doctor, x-ray technician, housekeeper and therapist who did so much to save my life and comfort my family. I thank the angel watching over me for the divine intervention.

posted 2/2/2006


I am going to make this short because the long version is emotional for me. OK, I was taken to the ER on September 24, 2005 with shortness of breath and chest pain. They found out I had blood clots in my lungs. I woke up 2.5 months later to discover the monster I feel I am today.

posted 1/30/2006

Margot Hust

Hi, I recently was diagnosed with ARDS in September 2005. I was only in the ICU for a week and a half. I feel lucky compared to some of the stories I have read. My problem is simply that I have no memory of going to the ICU and very little memory of actually being there. The first time I was aware of anything was that I had this thing down my throat and I wanted it out. I guess they had to tie me down. I also remember being in a different room, I guess one to myself, but I was aware of someone dying in the room next to me. I also remember that the cartoon channel turned evil. I know it was drugs, but at that time I was so scared. I remember throwing up all over the room and a tube being thrown up at the same time. Generally, I felt like I was in hell and didn't know why or how to get out. My family would come to see me and that helped me a lot. But I didn't know day from night. I guess I must have pushed myself to get out because I started to want to get out of bed. I wanted to do things on my own. The physical therapist came to make sure I could walk around the nurses station. When they were satisfied with that, I was given permission. Of course they had a few more tubes to pull out of me. Well, now I am home and although it feels good to be home, I just don't feel the same. I feel slower, as if my mind was turned down a notch or two. I hate this feeling. One of my doctors said it could be the drugs that I am taking, and that is what my daughter seems to feel too. It could be but I feel like a failure either way. I just want to cry. I also have sciatic nerve problems that requires pain medicine. I can get a procedure called " radiofrequency" which means that they deactivate my nerves. It can last for six months to a year or it may not work at all. I haven't seen a therapist to talk about getting over my fear of the hospital. I will because at least the pain from my nerves could get better. I guess I am writing hoping for a kind ear to listen to me. I am tired, I am tired of feeling like half a person.

posted 1/20/2006