Experience One: I was studying to be a concert pianist. I was preparing for an audition for the Young Artist Series with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also, I was preparing for jury exams. Consequently, I was under a great deal of stress and practicing the piano eight to ten hours/day. The night before my jury exams, I felt ill - stomach ache and head ache. I retired late and had trouble falling asleep due to the severity of the headache. I took two aspirins and shortly thereafter threw them up. I took two more aspirins and threw up bile. I awoke my college roommate and asked her to call paramedics. I told her I felt like I was going to die. The paramedics, which was a new service in Chicago at that time, took my blood pressure and temperature and suggested I not go to the hospital. They got me out of bed and I was walking into walls, experiencing severe vertigo and nausea. The pain intensified and they finally consented to take me to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor thought I was a drug overdose victim. They took blood and waited four hours for the results. I laid on a hospital gurney in the Emergency Room all that time in excruciating pain. When the drug screen showed negative, a pediatric neurosurgeon was called to perform a spinal tap. The spinal fluid was bloody.
After an angiogram, they determined that I had a brain aneurysm that had burst. This is usually fatal. I was placed in neuro-intensive care into a drug induced coma. I fought the sleep and would immediately awake when the drugs were decreased. I prayed for death or relief throughout this experience.
The doctor best qualified for this surgery was on vacation in Mexico. The 1978 blizzard hit and he was grounded in Mexico for nearly ten days. Therefore, my condition slowly degenerated until on the tenth day, I overheard the nurses stating that my pupils were fixed but not dilated. I understood that fixed and dilated pupils is a definition for death and told my mother how to bury me when she next visited me.
I was in surgery for ten to twelve hours. When the doctor was prepping me for surgery, he told me to say a prayer for myself. I prayed that I not be allowed to survive if I were to become a vegetable because I would be a burden and not perform God's will. I prayed that whatever happened, my ultimate desire was to be forgiven all my sins and be close to God and Jesus.
During surgery, I had a stroke. Before I came out of the anesthesia, the doctor reported to my mother that I would require at least six months of speech therapy and up to a year (or more) of physical therapy.
I came out of the anesthesia fifteen minutes after completion of the surgery. The doctor asked me if I knew his name. I had only met him twice, and while under extreme physical duress. I did. He asked me what I was thinking and I recounted my experience. That experience is as follows:
I felt my own presence. I was floating on a cloud - laying down. I recall that it was odd because I couldn't feel any pressure points on my body. There was a feeling of complete peace, joy and love. I felt as if my spirit were soaring. I recall an inner feeling of brightness and light, although I don't recall my surroundings. My soul soared. I had no thoughts of anyone. I only recall wanting to stay in this circumstance forever. There was an ultimate perfection in simply being there. I remember thinking that I was in heaven. Suddenly, I was awake at that hospital and my first movement was my hands to my head that was wrapped in bandages about six inches thick all around it. Next was the realization that I had no pain. I had described the above as a dream. The doctor appeared a bit incredulous, explaining that a patient can't dream while under anesthetic. In addition, when I was talking to the doctor, I didn't realize that my right eye was closed and my left open. He asked me to open both eyes. Upon his request, my right eye opened. Next, he checked my gross motor - legs and arms, hands and feet. Within twenty hours, I was easily walking the hallways. In my hospital room, was a paper bag filled with my shaved hair. I later found that it was kept for preparation of the body for the mortician. Yikes! That really creeped me out! A few days later, the doctor quietly came into my room at 5 am and told me there was no way to explain my recovery. In his words, ‘I was a miracle’. I believe that today.
Experience Two: Four years later, I delivered my daughter. A month later, I had a grand mal seizure. A seizure disorder was diagnosed and appropriate anti-seizure meds prescribed. The neurosurgeon seemed to think the seizure was brought on by the stresses of motherhood. Shortly thereafter, I also had bouts of complete paralysis on my left side. My infant would cry and I couldn't get up off the couch. During one of these episodes, my body floated away from my living room where I lay on the couch. This was not seizure induced or self-induced. It just happened. There were strings (wires or something?) connecting me upward. Again, there was a sense of peace, joy, love, contentment. I looked back for a second, saw my daughter and was violently snapped back to the couch where I could see my body resting. I literally felt slammed back into myself. Later, I was to find out that the seizure/paralysis was caused by a giant aneurysm that was four years old (a complication from the first surgery). Normally, it would kill someone within six months. It was the size of a Rome apple, taking up almost all the space in the right hemisphere of my brain cavity.
Final Experience: After the brain surgery for this aneurysm, I had a similar experience as experience one when I was coming out of a three day coma and one hundred seven degree temperature. When I came out of the coma, three or four nurses were working on me. I lay naked on a rubber mattress with no sheet. They were bathing my body in rags that had been soaked in ice water - just slapping them over me. The out of body experience was similar but not as vivid nor prolonged. I hesitated to tell anyone about this experience because I remembered my doctors reaction from experience one. I didn't feel like anyone would believe me, so I just enjoyed the memory.
Regarding both experiences, the after effect is a bit of a letdown. It can be compared to saying good bye to your last guest at a party, relishing in the memory of the pleasure of the company and then looking around and realizing you have work to do to clean up the mess. This isn't a perfect analogy, but it's close. I was mildly depressed and hypersensitive for a few months after each incident. I'm not sure whether to attribute these feelings to post-operative depression or spiritual deprivation. The unreality of the perfection of these experiences when compared to being placed back in real life is like a hot blast from a furnace like one would see at a steel mill.
I've used many words and still find it difficult to communicate the sensations and feelings because there is nothing to compare it with from everyday life. Consequently, unless the reader has had a similar experience, he has no basis of comparison.
Date NDE Occurred: February 1978 and Jan 1982
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness. Surgery-related 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' Near death - pupils were fixed but not dilated and limited neurological responses.Experience one: Burst cerebral aneurysm.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes Experience one and two – yes.
Final Experience: Not sure.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Experience one: Under anesthesia.
Experience Two: Fully conscious - no mind altering drugs or alcohol.
Final Experience: Coma.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? It was completely silent, as best as I can recall. Although, I have a sense that I forgot something, especially from experience one.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes Experience one: Yes. I was sure I was somewhere in heaven.
Experience two: Above my house and headed upward.
Final experience: Not sure - I remember feeling secure and sheltered in this experience, more so than the others do. As if being nurtured or cradled. But I don't recall a person or being. Weird, huh?
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I know there were others around me but I don't remember actually looking at them. There was such a sense of awe, wonder, joy, peace, and other great things that I was just soaking all of it in.
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes In all instances, there was either a light within me or in my vicinity.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Only in Experience one: My senses were hypersensitive. The strangest one is my vision. I saw a spectrum of colors on my hospital room walls. It was extremely real to me. I liked it so much that I told my mother I wanted that wallpaper in my room when we got home. She looked at the wall, and then looked back at me like I was crazy. She explained that the wall was stark white. I looked again and could still see all the colors, like a rainbow in very pale pastels. I was embarrassed and questioned my sanity and perception. I mean, crap, I was seeing things that weren't there!
Also, in the evening, I could see particles in the air, glistening. I asked one of the nurses if she could see it and when she said no, I shut up about it. Since I wanted to get out of the hospital and not put in a psych ward, I didn't mention it again. I just accepted that whatever I'd gone through had created heightened awareness of my senses.
Also my taste buds, sense of touch and hearing were sensitive. Shortly after experience one, my mother was talking about my recovery/surgery with one of her friends at the opposite end of the house, several rooms away. She whispered because she didn't want me to hear her. She said something that offended me, and from the opposite end of the house, I yelled out, ‘I heard that’. She didn't believe me and had me repeat it. I could see that it shook her up. Now, I'm wondering if I actually heard her or if it was an extra sensory perception thing, like a replay.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
The experience included: Special Knowledge
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
1) Since Experience one, I have had a few dreams that were predictors. I had a dream that I was in a car accident. I saw the yellow flashing light and the surrounding of the intersection. When I moved from my home a few years later, I saw that intersection. Consequently, even though the speed limit is fifty-five, I was always slowed down to forty-five when going through there. I did have an accident at that intersection but since I was going slower than the speed limit and saw a situation arising that could pose a possible accident; I was able to slow way down prior to impact. Probably saved my life.
2) My ex-husband was an over the road truck driver. He would rarely tell me when he was on his way home from various points all over the country. One day, I had a strong mental vision of him traveling on a local highway. I had no reason to get into my car to check it out, other than curiosity. When I got to the intersection of the highway and the major street near my home where he'd get off the highway, he was waiting on a red light. Things like this happened so often with him that he told me it was ‘freaking him out’ and really ‘scary’. He said it was like ‘Big Brother’ watching over him.
3) Dream of traveling inside my arteries into my brain, only to find something impeding my movement. I told my cousin about this dream that felt so real, at a family function. Six months later, the giant aneurysm was detected. That cousin later said to me, ‘Remember that dream you told me about. It must be hell to be right!’
There are many examples that I've had like this. My aunt also has experiences like this frequently. She says it's an inherited thing that others in the family also experience.
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 I wish I could have been.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist 'I do not attend a church on a regular basis. However, I study my Bible and pray daily.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Stronger faith in God and His Son, My Savior, Jesus Christ.
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? Yes Limited before experience one, but blossomed after.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Best was the sense of light within me and the consequent peace and feeling of love within and without. Worst was the extreme physical pain I suffered.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it with someone on the internet and they called me a liar.
My family is accepting.
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? I rarely share these incidents with anyone. Many are disbelieving, so why waste my time and theirs? It was rather cathartic to write this. Thanks.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I'm not sure how these experiences could actually be described or classified. Near death? Maybe.
Your feedback would be appreciated. What are your thoughts/ comments? Some of this stuff is still a little unsettling and definitely unforgettable. This is recall from 27 years ago and as vivid today as it was then!