I was home with my children (home from school on spring break - ages eight and ten). I have some health conditions and was, at the time, taking SEVERAL different medications prescribed by five different well-meaning doctors. The doctor had just given me an additional medication to alleviate depression and help with migraines. According to my husband, my behavior after adding the new medicine to the 'cocktail' of medications I was already taking was making my behavior more and more erratic and he was becoming increasingly concerned. One day, the kids and I decided to watch a movie and I remember lying down on the couch preparing to watch the movie, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in the back of an ambulance, intubated, with a lot going on that I did not understand. Apparently, my kids tried to wake me up to ask me a question and could not rouse me, so they called my husband (their dad). He left work immediately and told the kids to sit tight and keep an eye on me (I had a history of passing out, so he was hoping this was what had happened and I would be awake by the time he got home about fifteen minutes later). Then, he decided better safe than sorry and called 911. We live about half a mile from the hospital, so the paramedics beat him here. It was about the time he came in the front door that this 'memory' of mine begins. My memory of the weeks before and after this 'event' are, at best, very vague. The only vivid memory I have of this time period, is, oddly enough, during the event itself, although I was at best, unconscious, at worst, clinically dead, or, somewhere in between. It wasn't until I finally had the guts to talk to my husband about this memory that I realized that this 'memory' was exact in every detail, and I have no explanation for it. We had never discussed it before that, and he had not discussed the details with anyone else that I'm aware of, so there's no chance I overheard anything and infused it into a false memory. When I began telling him what I saw, he was speechless, then scared, then fascinated. Here goes.
I was 'floating' near the ceiling of our living room where I saw myself laid out on the floor, surrounded by eight to ten paramedics and various 'first responder' personnel, most bent over me, some bringing gear in or out, talking to my husband, etc. My kids were standing in the archway between our living room and kitchen, and my husband was stuck in the entryway, as he could not get through to our kids without getting in the way. The gentleman talking to him was probably in his fifties and had short grey hair with a neatly trimmed mustache to match.
I couldn't make out what he was telling my husband exactly because it was pretty chaotic in the room, but I could make out the words, 'She wasn't breathing, but they're intubating and we have a faint pulse now,' and I could hear my husband asking 'how long', but other than that, I couldn't make much else out. I could see fear in my husband's face, and that was unsettling for me, because my husband does not get scared, or if he does, he doesn't show it. I wanted to comfort him but knew I couldn't and this was frustrating. I found out later that the 'how long' question was regarding how long had I not been breathing (he was worried about brain damage).
This gentleman seemed very kind and was the only one wearing a white shirt - all the other personnel were wearing navy blue or light blue short sleeved shirts and all were men, different hair colors, but all trimmed short. Most of these men I didn't have a front view of as I was 'viewing' this from above and behind (from the side of the room opposite our front door where my husband was standing with this gentleman in the white shirt). My kids were standing just out of the room in full view of what was happening, stiff and silent. I could see they were scared and curious at the same time. I couldn't figure out why my husband wasn't over with them until I realized there was not enough room around all the gear and personnel to get them to him or vice versa. This was my only real concern, though.
I was not scared, I was not cold or warm, I was not angry, I don't remember any particular emotion, actually, except a little confusion and frustration. My only concern was that our kids were standing there basically alone watching all of this happening and my husband couldn't reach them. I don't remember looking at what was happening to me, I was busy watching my husband and kids. Either it never fully registered that it was me laid out on the floor, or I wasn't particularly concerned about it. About the same time the gentleman in the white shirt finished talking to my husband, he shuttled him over to the kids, I heard a rather loud 'let's move' and 'on three' and that's where it ends.
The next thing I know, I'm in the back of the ambulance, intubated, and quite unhappy and confused. It was extremely noisy and they just kept yelling at me to stay with them. As if, I had somewhere else to be just then, or the option.
Anyway, any other memories of the days before or after this event are well, hazy at best. But this memory or vision or whatever it was, was the one crystal clear memory from the four to six week period surrounding that day. When I finally had the guts to ask my husband if this memory was a figment of my imagination, which is what I suspected, he was stunned. He said my description was probably more accurate than what he could have given directly after it happened, let alone weeks after, which is when I shared this with him. I told him this memory from start to finish without interruption or input, and he was a little hesitant to tell me just how accurate it was. But apparently, this memory is in fact, eerily accurate.
Within six weeks, I was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and five later, I was home and off all but four medications, and have had no significant problems since.
Here's the kicker. In October, we had a house fire, and one of the first responders was the 'incident response' unit, which is an SUV which runs ahead of the fire trucks and paramedics to help coordinate following units that may need to respond. When he came to greet me as our home was going up in flames, he said, 'I remember you, but I know you won't remember me'. He was wrong. I did remember him. He was the gentleman in the white shirt standing in our entryway talking to my husband while I was 'indisposed'. I thought it best not to let him know I recognized him, so I acted confused, and that wasn't that hard to do, because I was shocked. Our home was on fire and I was standing face to face with a man who I could not possibly let know that I did remember him - VIVIDLY.
That's it. No tunnel of light, no warm and fuzzy feeling, no 'tug', just an 'rial view and a vivid memory of this 'event'. Are there many other people out there with similar experiences, and if so, any ideas on what it is? Even if I had regained consciousness for part of this 'episode', there is no way I could have seen what I saw while laid out flat on my back surrounded by paramedics and emergency medical technicians. I have tried repeatedly to come up with a logical explanation and can't seem to find one. I am so left-brained it's practically a handicap. I am firmly rooted in the logical and scientific end of the spectrum, but have never ruled out spirituality. At this point, I don't know what to think. Any comment or even knowing others have experienced this would be comforting. I have not shared this with anyone other than my husband and my oldest and dearest friend. I am not prone to irrationality or nonsense, nor do I respond well to it from others, so it's been especially hard for me to even acknowledge this happened, let alone talk about it. I did just read an article about a Dr. Melvin L. Morse who studies NDE's in children at the University of Washington, which is about a five hour drive from my home, but I am not a child and I don't know if this even qualifies as an NDE. I guess something in the article struck a chord though. There was a little girl who drowned and was able to recall her experience in the emergency room with uncanny detail, even though she was clinically comatose and her eyes never opened. It was like that for me. But I'm no child. But this has prompted me to reach out.
Again, I don't expect a definitive answer - I don't believe there is one. I guess I'm just looking for some kind of comfort in knowing I'm not the only person this has happened to. Any other information would be an appreciated bonus. Anyone wanting to contact me, please just write a short e-mail and depending on the source and content, I may be interested in talking to someone over the phone or in person, but would like to make that decision on my own.
Date NDE Occurred: April 2004
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Combination of health conditions and medications (not overdose). Other Not sure. Paramedics say I wasn't breathing, pulse wasn't found initially, but later found, faint. Details are sketchy as I was home alone with my young children.Possible 'clinical death' or near coma. Again, details are sketchy and I haven't exactly investigated that aspect of the event.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal This is the ONLY vivid and accurate memory I have of a four to six week period surrounding the event.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? While the paramedics were working on me on the living room floor, but my 'perspective' was an 'rial view.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning I could not say how much time passed while in this state. I can guess only by what my husband told me later.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? More detailed, more 'tuned in' than the weeks before and after.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? One of my health conditions involves an inner ear disease that makes it hard to distinguish individual words from background noise. My hearing did seem more acute if I was 'tuned in', like when I was watching my husband in the doorway. Normally I would not have been able to discern the words from the chaos if I had been standing right next to them, let alone across the room from them, which is where my perspective was. I have been learning to read lips, though, so I could have been vocalizing it in my head. But the 'let's move' and 'on three' were definitely men's voices - loud. I would have been intubated by then and could have been beginning to regain consciousness, especially since that's where the memory ends until riding in the back of the ambulance.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Frustration, and concern for my kids and husband. No fear though. I felt calm otherwise.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal Mostly Agnostic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I've been mostly agnostic since about age sixteen when I left home. Since this event, I've been more spiritual, but haven't actively pursued religion.
What is your religion now? Liberal Less agnostic, more confused
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain I've been mostly agnostic since about age sixteen when I left home. Since this event, I've been more spiritual, but haven't actively pursued religion.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I'm more plugged in to the people close to me. It made me realize life can be short, and there's no room for regret. If I feel I need to say it, I do. If it's not going to affect any lives in the long run, I let it go. I've also focused more on the love, laughs, and fun and less on the details. After this event happened, I realized nobody would care whether I'd made the bed every morning. What matters is what memories my family and friends have to carry with them.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain Probably coincidence, but I will find myself thinking about someone more than usual and finally give them a call, and will hear 'I'm so glad you called.' Need advice, someone to listen, something in their life has changed, etc. It could just be that since the 'event', I have taken a more active role in staying in touch with loved ones.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The angst of not being able to comfort my family. The rest didn't really seem to bother me. Hard to explain.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes My husband a few weeks after, and my oldest friend a couple months after that. My husband was stunned because he was there and verified every detail - was shocked that I noticed details he had not paid much attention to. My friend knows me well enough to know I would not make something like this up, but didn't really know how to respond other than to listen and tell me it's okay, I'm not crazy. She believes me but doesn't know what to make of it, neither does my husband.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Just what you hear in an urban legend kind of way. Never formed an opinion really, other than everybody experiences and interprets things through their own filters and beliefs. Figured there were some people making stuff up, and some who had genuine experiences, but not up to me to decide what's real. I had never heard of this sort of experience though - other than the sense of 'floating'.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. When I talked to my husband and realized it wasn't my imagination. Everything happened as I saw it, and even what I heard was accurate. It felt real before that, but I wasn't sure until I told my husband and saw the look on his face as I was telling him what I saw and heard.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. The memory is as vivid now as it was the day it happened. It hasn't changed at all. Most memories morph a bit over time, this one has not. At all. Also the fact that my husband was so obviously stunned by the detail I described. He was not just humoring me. He 'tested' me a bit, and apparently, I passed. We don't talk about it much. I think it spooks him and fascinates simultaneously.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Just have questions.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? For my experience, this questionnaire was more than adequate. Thanks for the opportunity to share while minimizing the risk of, well, I don't know, is exposure the word I'm looking for? Anyway. Thank you.