DALLAS Walking back into the intensive care unit is both frightening and therapeutic for Celina Montes.

Brings back a lot of memories, she said.

Some of those memories are fake.

On April 9, 2013, Montes was the very real victim inside a car crushed beneath a semi-tractor trailer during a freak hail storm. It was while she was subconscious in the ICU for 10 days the visions began.

I knew I could see the waves, Montes recalled. I thought there was somebody underneath my bed, because they were reaching for my feet. And they were trying to keep me here.

We call it post-intensive care syndrome, explained clinical psychologist Ann Marie Warren.

Warren says sedation and changes in the sleep-wake cycle, even hallucinations.

I think the most important thing people can do is if they've had an ICU stay, and they get home and they're having nightmares... they're having depression... they're having trouble with their thinking... they're having anxiety... they need to see their provider to see what's happening to them, Warren said. It's treatable.

What Celina Montes thought was someone trying to pull her under water was more likely the feel of a compression cuff, worn on the legs to prevent blood clots.

I ve broken both my legs at the tibial plateau, she said.

While she is still recovering from more broken bones than she can count, her conviction is strong.

Don't be afraid, she said. It's all right; just talk to somebody about it.

Patients on a ventilator for more than five days are at highest risk for symptoms, which sometimes don t appear until after the patient is discharged from the hospital.

Families and caregivers can help by keeping a diary of what s really happening to a patient during the ICU stay. That gives patients an accurate accounting of reality to compare with their memories.

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