It has been two and a half years since my NDE and OBE, and even though I don't dwell upon the experience, it is never far out of my mental field of vision. I don't consider myself to have experienced what might be called the traditional "NDE" with all the bells and whistles attached; and after having read some of the more frightening accounts posted on your web site, I am kind of glad I did not. But for what it's worth, here goes:
My NDE occurred during an angioplastic procedure. I had suffered a heart attack, my fourth, on May 20, 1996. Emergency endoplasty saved my life then but further work was required. The further work took place a few months later on September sixth. The placement of two stints in coronary artery went well. I remember the doctor telling my husband after the procedure that I would return to work the following Monday, jokingly, of course. However, after I had been returned to my room, something went haywire and I suffered yet another heart attack. I was rushed back into the cath. lab for one more round of angioplasty.
I was under the "knife" for what seemed like hours, and despite the drugs, I was in intense pain. Yet, the thought of dying never occurred me. I had complete confidence in my doctor's ability and in my own indestructibility. Towards the end of this latest round of angioplasty, from out of nowhere, I felt a strange electrical pop resonate throughout my body, originating in my heart. I was completely immobilized, unable to move, breathe, or even change my field of depth of vision. I recall my panic of being unable to breathe. I knew I had to -- I wanted to, but I couldn't and there was no pain. Unable to move my eyes, I caught only glimpses of the medical team working to save me. I could see my doctor's fist rising and falling as he pounded on my chest. I could even hear the empty thudding sound of the contact, but I felt nothing. The sound was like hearing something crashing through water -- underneath water. It was a bizarre feeling. I felt like I was definitely floating out of my body. Somewhere during the seconds that seemed, and still do seem, like an eternity, it dawned on me; I really was dying. My vision was fading along with my awareness of what was happening around me. Primal feelings of fear for my family and utter sadness that I would never see my husband and sons again are all of what I can remember before everything went black. I didn't want to die; I really didn't want to leave them. My children still needed me.
Suddenly, a sense of calm came over me and I became fascinated with the events around me. I could hear in my mind everything that the doctors and nurses were thinking in addition to what they were saying. No sooner had this strange phenomenon begin to sink in that I was shocked by my ability to see. It was seeing, but without eyes. It was a sense of perception that went way beyond the occipital lobe. I could see my unconscious body below with my eyes closed and everyone was working frantically on me. My OBE based visual perceptions were very unlike normal vision in these ways: (1) everything was very, very sharp. Colors were sharp; edges were sharp. I could see far away as if things were right up next to me. I remember seeing down the hall as if it was a foot away. Normally, I have to wear thick glasses to have even very nominal vision. I have severe myopia and have suffered with it since early childhood. I've even stopped driving a car as a result of my poor vision. But here I was, not only able to see better than I ever had with sharp details, I could see in all directions at once. Similar to a 360-degree panoramic vision. I know it sounds like I'm either lying or crazy, but I saw the holes the soundproof ceiling tiles as well as the intricate pattern in the floor tiles at the same instant with just the tiniest shift of perception. I knew how many holes were in the ceiling tiles, even though it was a sense of knowing, not that I stopped to count them in any way. I noticed that one of the fluorescent lights was humming loudly. I could even read numbers and some writing on the end of one of the lights. I only recall seeing three letters - ULV on the end of it.
I floated out of the room and saw several people like myself in the hall. I stopped one man and spoke with him. He was agitated and questioned me as to why he was there. I told him that I didn't know, that both of us might be dead. And upon hearing this, he looked very shocked -- his eyes grew large and he rushed off, or floated off in a hurry, I should say, trying to locate the morgue. I suggested he try the basement. I didn't think to get his name, but in hindsight, I wish I had. He looked about 70 years old and had gray hair. I recall giggling slightly because when he turned to leave me, I saw his skinny bottom sticking out from underneath his blue hospital gown.
I continued to drift down the hall; making slight comments to people that were also in the out-of-the-body state. They all seemed to be in a state of confusion and were looking for their bodies. I, at that point at least, did not care what was going on with my body, but I was curious as to whether my husband and sons were there. So I went into what I thought would be the waiting room and saw my husband and two of our four sons waiting there. They were pacing the floor and talking softly amongst them. My youngest son was crying. I wondered if my two little ones, the 8-year-old and the 10-year-old were with my mom. But before I had much time to think about it, my mother burst through the front door and I could see her at the same time as I was watching my husband and sons in a completely different room. She was asking somebody where to go to the waiting room and I was more or less in two places at one time. I noticed the clock in the waiting room wall said 4:07 p.m. I made a mental note of that.
The next thing I can remember is convulsing on the table, gasping and clawing for breath. I was in pain again, extreme pain in all parts of my body. I can't define how or why but in the middle of my fight to live, I couldn't escape the awareness that I had been thrust back into my body, somewhat against my will, by some force, somewhere. Only that I knew for a fact I was not spending time in my body -- that I was a separate part from my body and a thinking person full of their own personality and memories. And here I was, back in this other ugly shell known as my body and in tremendous pain. I remember thinking that this might be what it feels like to be born.
I did manage to return with a few small bits of evidence from my experience. As soon as I was able to recover enough, I checked with my mom and my husband and my sons and was told that, yes, my husband did, in fact, arrive before my mother with my two oldest boys and they were waiting in the waiting room for me. It was also confirmed that my mom dropped off my two youngest with a neighbor before rushing off to join my husband and other two children in the waiting room. The time of her arrival was approximately 4:07 p.m. Although it was difficult to get some cooperation from busy nurses, I did find out later that an elderly man who was 74 by the name of James Randall died earlier that afternoon in a room two doors away from mine in the hospital. He fit the description of the confused soul who was searching for his body. I would guess that the time of our meeting was roughly ten minutes prior to my noticing the clock in the waiting room. All I was able to pry out of the nurses was that he died in the early afternoon and that he was a stroke victim.
To date, I have made an effective recovery from my cardiac problems. The heart damage I suffered during the episode has forced me into slowing down a great deal of my life, then thinking before I do anything. This is pretty difficult considering I have four active boys, but I'm now a full-time mother to my sons and hopefully a better wife to my husband. As long as I take my medications, I will probably live a long life. I am no longer afraid of death. I know there is no pain and when the time is right, there may be even a feeling of release from pain, peace and calm and the beginning of a sense of a new adventure. I have no extraordinary visions, no psychic or healing abilities to report and I'm certainly no closer to being a saint than I was before my OBE/NDE, but I can tell you one thing: I do feel a lot better about what's happening in my world. Yet, at times I do tend to get wrapped up in the "world" and I feel myself looking back into my old Type A mind set, but I always return to that feeling of peace and clarity I had while in the hospital.
After the worst was over, I had a hard to define sense of knowing exactly who we are, why we are, where we are, from and where we are going. I am a firm believer that we have a soul which can and does separate from our bodies at certain times of stress. Nobody ever told me that I died that day so my event probably wasn't a NDE. But, even if it were, I would not be afraid. A poem comes to mind that causes me to think and maybe it will help you to think deeper into this situation. It is my Samuel Taylor Coolridge and is as follows:
What if you slept and what if
in your sleep you dreamed?
And what if in your dream you went to Heaven and, there, plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if when you awoke you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?It is food for thought