During my surgery I found myself up in the corner of the operating room ceiling where I could look down from overhead at my body experiencing surgery. I couldn't see much as the operating team and much equipment surrounded the table, and the large overhead lamps blocked much of my view. Also, white sheets, or blankets, covered virtually every part of my body except for the open cavity which the surgeon's own body kept interfering with my view as he would move. However, I was able to make out some of the things that were said, and realized they had already harvested the veins from my leg. Unfortunately, it was all spasmodic as I would fade in and out and the whole thing ended before they began the heart surgery itself.
I thought this was a dream until I later learned something, which made me realize it might have been more. Many years ago, I would often have a wonderful dream where I could soar above the housetops of my neighborhood at will by simply concentrating upon doing it. But it was frustrating as it always ended before I wanted as I could not keep myself airborne and would eventually drift back to earth despite my concentrations. It was always thoroughly enjoyable though and I incorrectly thought my surgery was just another form of my old dream.
My surgeon visited me in my room when I was transferred from the intensive care unit to ask how it went with me. I joked and told him that I guessed he was surprised to discover an old guy like me did not have a fatty heart, and he asked who told me that. I told him I heard him say it during the surgery. He said this wasn't possible as they had me too deep under anesthesia for me to hear anything. I told him the very words he used when commenting to one of the other doctors, which was, 'I'd have bet a thousand dollars this guys chest cavity would be loaded with fat, this thing is like a young man.' A further comment which I can't remember perfectly that indicated the surgery would be much quicker because they didn't need to remove the fat first. I asked him whether he said those things, and he said yes, but I think one of my team told you. I told him I hadn't talked to anyone about this. I didn't comment any further as I didn't want him to think I was some kind of nut by telling him I was watching and listening to him from 'the ceiling.' But, this is what made me think this was an out of body experience.
This next thing is difficult, and I can only be described as total euphoria. Before I was awakened from the surgery, I was aware of being enveloped in a bright glow that had no glare - it was simply perfect. I felt a euphoria that was so intense I can only compare it to sexual orgasm, except that it was not at all sexual, and there was no climax. As intense and glorious as it was, it wasn't too much and remained at a constant live-able intensity that you would want to maintain forever. It was not the usual 'Light at the end of the tunnel' sort of thing, it was simply the comfortable essence of where I was, of which I have no idea. I saw no landscape or people and heard no sounds - I was simply immersed and enfolded by a wonderful light that I never wanted to end. When I found myself awakening I began to shout the word no, repeatedly - I didn't want to return. When I came fully awake, I was angry and my daughter asked me why I was frightened. I testily told her I wasn't frightened, I just didn't want to come back. She asked from where and I told her it was a dream. I asked her if I was shouting. She said no, that she was reading her book at my bedside and heard me softly saying, 'No.' I concluded I had returned from death, not a near death experience. I say that because they had stopped my heart, which was replaced by the blood pump, but I know my electrical system was disturbed and some things have permanently changed. Whether this is balderdash or not, I believe I experienced death and that when it's my time I'll have a smile on my face.
Before I explain the changes in my personality and mental processes, I must explain that although I'm seventy-seven years old, people think I'm much younger. I know they think it is my appearance, but I believe it's my mental sharpness and universal interests that make them perceive me as younger. Although I seem to becoming more forgetful, I know I'm not senile. But, with the exception of when I write, my ability to focus has been severely diminished as a result of the surgery. On the other hand, my recall is much better than it ever was and I received a gift from this short-circuiting of my brain that's a bit scary. I always wanted to write, and after I retired, I began doing just that. I wrote about what I knew and put it into a book. I also wrote short stories and essays and even began writing a weekly column I wanted to write for small town newspapers. However, I love to write but I never made a single effort to have anything published, as it was the writing process that turns me on. At my age I didn't want to waste my valuable time with the frustrating stress and hassle trying to market my work - I wanted to write, period! Prior to my surgery, I would frustrate myself trying to conjure up something to write about. But since the surgery I've experience a minor miracle.
At the risk of sounding like some of the loony's that call the George Noory show, I'll tell you that somehow I gained access to a part of my brain I have never had before. It's as though a door has been opened to another area of cells, and I can call up, virtually at will creative stories from my mind - as I go along! For example, I attended a weekly writing class, at one session I placed my name on the list to read, and I hadn't written a word in advance. While driving to class I asked myself for a horror story idea and it began to form in my mind. When I was called upon to read I went to the dais without any papers and the class instructor reminded me I had left my writing behind and I said I wouldn't be needing it. He said this was a writing class, and I told him this is the way I write, so he gave me permission. I began to tell the story and never searched for a word or hesitated. I hadn't even thought about the ending until after twenty minutes he told me my time was up and to finish. I turned back to the dais and after a few seconds, I had finished with a surprising satisfactory ending.
The class which was supposed to critique my work besieged me with questions instead. Where did I come up with my ideas? How long did it take me to memorize the story? How did I do that? Etc. I told them it was just imagination that didn't suffice. My showing off had gotten me into a jam. I had always admired one gentleman who was an excellent poet, so I told him a door had opened in my mind allowing me to access things I never could before, and he understood so I asked him to explain to the class as I was unable to do so. (He told me later he'd been searching for that door for half his life.) In answer to another question, I boasted that I can select a subject or an item and almost instantly write a story about it. A woman asked me to recite one about a girl with her name. I began, and a few minutes later the instructor said he wanted to get back on program and let the next writer read. I gathered my things and left, as I knew everyone wanted to test me more and it detracted from the class. I went back to class once thereafter but there was one snotty guy who kept calling me phony and I knew I'd have to belt him, so I quit the class. That's the last time I decided to show off as it turned into an unpleasant experience.
Anyway, it's a gift I can turn on and off at will and my only regret is that it didn't occur when I was younger. The reason it is scary to me is that while doing it I feel I'm cut off from reality. And since I've lived most of my life in fantasy which I could also turn on and off I now began to fear that one day I may not be able to control it and I don't want to became a Poe. This probably has nothing to do with your work, but it was the only remarkable thing that has happened to me and since I heard Dr. Long on Coast to Coast last night relating some stories which matched my experiences like a glove, I thought it might be helpful to others. I don't tell anybody about this, as I prefer to be perceived as normal. I'm not searching for fame nor have I given any thought as to how I might enrich myself; I just enjoy using it to write. I thought I'd expose it here where it might help your research. And no, I didn't 'open my magic door' to write this.
Date NDE Occurred: Jan 7, 1997
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No Surgery-related Life threatening event, but not clinical death Heart by-pass surgery
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 My form was my normal appearance. I don't know how I was able to see myself in the corner of the ceiling, but I could and my appearance was normal except that I had curled up in a ball with my back to the corner and my head against the ceiling and had clasped both ankles. I can't tell you if I was closer or not.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was conscious of my state I was highly alert and aware.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning It was a timeless experience.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I think we are talking about my spirit which was someplace, but I don't know where; if it was, it had to get there somehow.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I don't know if there was a purpose just that it was perfectly normal.
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? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The event had two parts. One during surgery which included the out of body experience which was spasmodic, and second the enormous euphoria which decreased and turned to anger when I reluctantly realized I was awakening.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Euphoria and the added access to my brain was the best. The worst was being unable to remain 'awake' during my surgery. Also see above.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No