The more we hear patients describe their experience with critical illness, the better prepared we will be to offer patient- and family-centered and compassionate care. As clinicians we focus on doing the work necessary to move the patient toward a state of hemodynamic and physiologic stability, but we generally do not have a frame of reference for how those patients are coping with the lifesaving interventions.

In Travels Through a Toxic Shock Nightmare, Howard Hoover describes the chaotic and nightmarish reality he experienced during his 6-week hospital stay while being treated for sepsis and toxic shock syndrome. Hoover shares his emotional journey through the medical intensive care unit, progressive care, the medical-surgical unit, and rehabilitation. As time goes by, his ability to relate to his surroundings returns and allows him to better understand his situation. Throughout his experience, he never loses sight...

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