This is what I had written when I got back from the hospital:
On the day it happened, May 23, 2007, I had finished mowing the lawn with the push mower and was feeling good when I came into the house. It was funny but my neighbor said later, 'I saw you running through the yard mowing your lawn and I told my wife you shouldn't be doing that.' I sat down and had some water, I believe, and after about 30 minutes or so began to experience some 'strange' feelings. I took a couple of aspirins and laid down and then the symptoms really began to manifest. It was a posterior artery that was plugged so I didn't have the 'elephant-on-the-chest' symptom but I did have pain radiating across my shoulders and, eventually, down my left arm. I also was sweating and had nausea. I told my wife, Jan, to call 911. In minutes, it seemed, there were about a dozen people in my bedroom! My next-door neighbor was an emergency medical technician and there are two other emergency medical technicians on our block so they heard the call on their scanners and came immediately. The police arrived in minutes also, followed shortly by the ambulance crew and some other emergency medical technicians. (The advantage of living in a small town).
After trying to stabilize me at home, without success, the ambulance crew took me to the Ely hospital emergency room where I was hooked up to various IV bottles. It's strange but as we were going to the hospital, I asked the emergency medical technician what the weather was doing. He said it had started to drizzle. I recall saying, 'It's a good day to die.' The crew looked at each but didn't say a thing. After getting to the emergency room, they hooked me up and took readings for a while. They gave me a 'clot buster' drug but apparently, the emergency room doctor didn't like what he saw and he said he was going to alter from protocol and drop my blood pressure, to ease the stress on my heart, with Heparin. (Little did I know and apparently, the doctor didn't either, but contaminated Heparin was circulating through the system. Subsequently, it was found it caused a number of deaths by either the BP crashing or sudden cardiac arrest). I had heard where my BP was and I said, 'Gee, isn't it pretty low already?' Of course, no one listened to me but he did say, 'Watch him closely and let me know what is happening.' After giving me the Heparin, after a bit I heard the nurse on my left say, 'PB is dropping; PB is 37; BP is 34,' then in a worried voice, 'it's 32 and still dropping!' About that time, I could sense a lot of activity going on. The nurse said, panicky this time, 'Doctor, we're losing him!' The nurse, Dawn, on my right, must have had something in the IV to supposedly counteract the BP drop. She said, 'I have it wide open!'
About that time, I began to feel really good, but sleepy. I remember saying, 'I feel so good and all the pain is gone.' It wasn't just the pain of the heart attack, I felt free of pains I didn't even know I had. I felt wonderful, so light and free of 'everything' physical. I remember saying, to myself, 'If I close my eyes I am just going to slip away.' I closed my eyes and, suddenly, with a physical shock, I was out of my body, standing, alone, in a gray darkness. I stood there for a bit and looked around but while I could see my naked body and feet, I couldn't make out anything else. I remember saying, 'God, is this where I am going to spend eternity?' Suddenly, to my left, I could make out a 'cave?' (Best way I can put it) entrance which was as dark as anything I had ever seen. I really had a feeling of fear and apprehension and knew I didn't want to go there. At about the same time I had a sense of absolute peace and also saw a 'path' leading off and up to the right which had begun to get lighter. I began 'moving', not walking, just moving, like on the moving walkways in some airports towards that path.
All at once, I could hear someone screaming, 'Dave, Dave, can you hear me!' With another physical shock, I 'zapped' to the right and was back in the emergency room again. I opened my eyes and there was my Dawn again. I said, 'Yes, Dawn, I can hear you.' I don't know how much time went by but they were all busy doing things and suddenly I felt the same feeling I had before, no pain and sleepy. Again the same thing happened but this time it was for a much shorter a time and I again heard Dawn yelling to me. I returned. She bent down and said, 'How are you doing, Dave?' I said I was doing okay now. She said, 'Thank God, now I can breathe again.' I guess I looked better and apparently, my vitals were better then.
The 'grayness' I was in was absolutely, totally, 'gray' but had depth and seemed to go on forever. Not like being in a dense fog where you have some sense of 'closeness' to the fog. More like looking out into space and seeing nothing. I can't even verbalize it. Although I knew I was standing upright, I didn't have a sense of being supported by anything; I guess I was floating but it didn't seem like that, either. I was just 'there'. I also remember vaguely wondering if this was Limbo. I knew Catholics had the theory of Limbo but I never knew exactly what it was or thought too much about it. In looking at the 'cave', I was also aware that it was totally and absolutely black. I can still vividly picture it in my mind and the sight of it comes to mind often. It was really a bad place and I thank God I did not make a trip there, even for a visit.
The doctor disappeared and I wondered if he went to his office to thank God his treatment hadn't killed me but that probably wasn't true. Probably he was conferring with the Duluth hospital and asking for a Medi-Vac helicopter to transport me there. The weather had turned nasty by that time and the choppers were grounded so a decision was made to transport me the two-plus hours by ambulance. He told Dawn to go with me and there was also a young medical student who was doing a internship there at Ely. He also told him to go with me because, 'It will be a good learning experience for you.' I am absolutely convinced, to this day, he did not expect me to survive the trip. Dawn did a good job on the way down and I had another episode of pain and turning gray but she gave me nitro, intravenously, just before we reached Duluth. When I talked to her later, after I was back home, she told me she was terrified the whole time. She said I was her first serious cardiac patient and she had never seen someone die before. I asked her if I was really dead and she said, 'Oh yes, you flat-lined both times; you had died.' I asked how long it was and she said about twenty or thirty seconds the first time and twelve to fifteen the second.
I didn't float above the table and watch the events in the emergency room and I didn't go down the 'tunnel' towards the light as so many report but I believe I was headed that way. Obviously, it was not my time and I also feel the time I was dead was too short for that to happen.
The attack happened about 3:00 pm and the cardiac surgeon operated on me at 02:00 am the next morning. She said she was worried that with all that time with a complete blockage, I was going to have major heart damage but there was only a small scar on my heart. She did say I was very lucky to have survived and to have such slight damage. She avoided saying a miracle, but that's what I believe it was.
Date NDE Occurred: 5/23/2007
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
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 clearly left my body and existed outside it
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I believe it was just as I was passing from life to death. I was absolutely free of all earthly restraints.
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
The grayness went on forever and yet was so close I could only see what was immediately before me.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. After I left my body there was the grayness but not before.
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
The experience included: Void
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? Yes I was dead for a short period and I don't think there was time enough to ascend into the tunnel but I did see a light shining down a 'tunnel' to my right as I floated in the grayness. I began moving towards it but was called back by my nurse, Dawn.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? A momentary feeling of fear when I wondered if that was where I may spend my eternity, but peace when I saw the light emerging.
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? Conservative/fundamentalist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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? Yes I saw the black hole and the light coming down the tunnel. I related that to a friend and she said, 'I didn't think you could choose where you wanted to go.' My reply was, 'My sense is, we chose where we go by the life we live while on the earth.' I absolutely believe that was what I was shown.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Was in intense grayness and 'floating'.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? We choose where we will spend eternity by what we do here on earth.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared the fact I had died and left my body with my nurse, Dawn, while being transported to the hospital; she freaked. I told my family after I got out of the hospital and they said, 'Ho hum.' Perhaps they felt more but, being Norwegian, they didn't express much emotion. I don't think they ever realized, to this day, what happened. Perhaps they didn't want to think of it.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Only some incidents I had read about. Didn't think too much about them.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I absolutely left my body and was in a place that was not where I had ever been before.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real As above.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No