Paul F's Experience
Combat medics, like infantryman, form an emotional 'shield' around themselves to protect from the emotional aspects of combat. As a combat medic, it was often necessary, for the patient's sake, to maintain a facial posture of control while witnessing their extreme injuries which would often include missing legs and arms, usually leaving them messily in shreds, not clean amputations.
It is also necessary to apply emergency medical treatment quickly so a small frustration that over time built up in me was my wish to be able to take the time to see these injuries more closely and with more time spent observing the extent of the injuries, largely because my limited military training had not given me much time seeing internal organs, bones, etc. before going to Vietnam and since the injuries were generally extreme, I could not take the time to be medically curious when patching patients and applying combat dressings.
One day, after picking up wounded soldiers from the jungle and while our dustoff helicopter was rushing patients to 85th Evac Hospital, Phu Bai and I was busy as usual, in the back, wrapping messy stumps and starting IV's on severely wounded soldiers, it occurred to me to cause myself to have an OBE so I could take a step back and see the injuries without having to rush.
In this way, I thought, I could take more time to see what bones, tissue, etc. look like instead of having to put the large military dressings on the injuries so quickly that I never seem to get a long enough look at the injury.
Next thing I know, I am kneeling behind myself, watching myself apply combat dressings, etc. to the wounded infantry who were lying on the cargo floor of the helicopter!
I gave it a short thought that it was strange an odd wish had happened to come true but I decided to take advantage of the situation and not think about it but instead to do what I had wanted to do- take a longer look at the injuries of these guys and being able to stare harder at the tissue and bones that were exposed by these injuries.
I looked over at my crew chief but he was mostly looking away, out the door of his side of the bird which was normal so although I was hoping to see either a reaction or no reaction, he was turned away and did not happen to be looking in my direction while I was experiencing either of these OBE's.
After a few moments or perhaps a few minutes, I began to feel very unhappy that these guys were in such bad shape, all for politics. Keeping those emotional shields up keeps you from remembering or realizing just how badly things can get out of hand so seeing these guys so badly wounded was like a splash of cold water in the face, reminding me of what I knew I was putting aside but morally should have objected to at some point. (But soldiers don't object, they follow orders)
As I felt more and more emotionally unhappy, I began to feel nauseous, then the inside of the bird began to darken, I started seeing pin points of light and I began feeling as though I was being pulled into a dark vortex or funnel. The nausea continued and I realized, the first time I was experiencing this OBE, that the emotional impact of what I was seeing was beyond me and that I needed to get a grip or I would pass out.
So I told myself to end the OBE and return to my own body and continue as normal. The next thing I knew, I was kneeling over a patient, treating him and all was normal again.
While treating him, I made a note to myself not to try this OBE again since it was clear I could not handle having my personal guard down.
However, about two weeks later while we were flying wounded soldiers to the hospital, I decided to try it again, reminding myself not to fall into an emotional despair this time and just remain neutral, taking the opportunity to observe and having the apparent time to do so during this OBE.
Next thing I know, I am in the exact same position- kneeling behind myself, watching myself apply combat bandages, etc. I remember that although I watched for a few moments/minutes (I could not tell and do not remember; best I can suggest was that the experience both times probably did not exceed a minute or two at the most), I started getting dizzy again, the bird was getting dark again, I began again feeling as though I was being pulled into a dark swirling funnel, the white pinpoints of light and the feeling I was getting ready to pass out were all happening again so I decided that I was obviously not capable of not reacting to what I was seeing so I decided to end the OBE and return to my body.
It happened just that fast, back in my body, treating wounded soldiers and I did not try this again after that or since.
cases, following the end of these OBE's, I was pretty much back to normal in
that my vision, breathing, etc. were pretty much all back to normal. I did not
have to 'shake it out' or work to recover from these OBE's...
Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience? No
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? No
What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience? Fully Alert
Was the experience dream like in any way? not really. everything about me, the patients and the helicopter were exactly normal.
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? Yes I was just where I wanted to be, crouching behind myself as my body continued to treat combat patients. I was looking over my own shoulder!
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Surprised briefly that my desire to have this OBE happened so quickly but I then focused on observing myself and the patients as was my original intent. I just accepted that it was happening although I did not understand how it could be happening at all.
Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises? none, the noisy inside of the helicopter with the doors open and me wearing my flight helmet was normal.
LOCATION DESCRIPTION: Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures? No
Did you see a light? No
Did you meet or see any other beings? No
Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? No
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? No I noticed my crew chief, who sits on the other side of the bird did not seem to notice my kneeling behind myself. I did not see though that he looked my way since he was mostly looking outside, watching for other helicopters, etc.
Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different? Yes Everything was the same.
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? No
Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? No
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No
Did you become aware of future events? No
Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body? Yes After seeing the combat damage to the patients more fully, not being in a hurry by having to treat the patients, I both times began to have a nauseous feeling, I felt as though the inside of the bird was getting dark, I began to see small pin points of light and began feeling as though I was being pulled into a funnel or vortex of negative emotions relating to the extreme injuries I was more leisurely observing. Both times I realized I was getting ready to pass out so I told myself to return to normal since it was obvious I could not handle the situation without the emotional shields we in combat deliberately wear to protect ourselves from the horrors of war. The next I knew, I was back in my body, treating patients and although I gave the event a short thought, I dropped it from my thinking and went back to my job. I did not mention the OBE either time to anyone as I felt sure no one would believe me and that it would just cause ridicule.
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience? No
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? No
How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices? none
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? No
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes mostly casual disbelief...
What emotions did you experience following your experience? none, I put the event aside and did not think about it again until years later when I realized what a strange thing had happened!
What was the best and worst part of your experience? The best was that when I had the thought of having an OBE to be able to 'take a step back' and watch myself applying emergency medical care from a step back, it worked and I had the experience even though I would never normally have ever thought it possible. If I were hearing about this from someone else I would have a hard time believing them.