I was born on the 6th of February 1947 and I died on the 9th December 2012.
I) Before December 19th. Death never scared me, at least not my own. I even think that I was prepared to it, due to the few experiences that brought me close. In the Army, at the firing ground, a soldier, while leaving the shooting range, did not respect the protocol. One bullet remained in the rifle barrel and he fired. The bullet passed between my ear and my shoulder and crashed in a wooden post on which I leaned. Still at the firing ground, another bullet rebounded and scratched my neck. On the highway with my motorbike driving at 180 km/h I blew a tire while overtaking a truck, another time my motor was exploding (literally) in the fog. As a scuba diving instructor, a colleague of mine died during a joint dive. In 1990 in Marrakesh, at the begin of the first Gulf war, a maniac, excited by the intervention of Europeans against Saddam Hussein, held a knife on my throat, then was stinging me slightly in my belly. Fortunately, it was only a threat and the edge of the knife was to the outside. So I have been ready to die several times, what was making me a bit distant during the unfortunate experience, which I am to describe. From a uniquely medical point of view my heart is, since about a decade in atrial arrhythmia, despite medications, the five interventions: ablation of flutter, of fibrillation and an electroshock. These interventions are done in an operating room worthy of the control station of a power station, with a 'papa-mobile' for the intervening doctor, in order to protect him from the X rays. Few or no anesthetic, so that the doctors would know, according to my reactions, where the catheter with the incandescent end, which was introduced in my heart, is located. I can and have to talk to them. However, one should say that despite the very positive statistics of these interventions, (four deaths for 10,000 interventions, but none at the hospital center PRINCESS GRÃ‚CE of Monaco), I always underwent them with a little apprehension. A medication, which could have helped to regulate this arrhythmia, was prohibited by my cardiologist (hypothyroidism), whose result was another fibrillation, which could be handled only by a cardio-version with electric shock, in other words an electroshock, which was organized at the hospital and planned for the 19th of December in ambulatory.
II) Wednesday 19th December 2012 Coming in at around 9:00 am at the hospital St. Georges of Nice, with Patricia my wife, I am taken along around 10:10am. Undressing and preparation. The anesthetist doctor welcomes me...puts me to sleep... Around 11:00am, my spouse understands that an abnormal excitement is happening in the unit, the Dr. R. is coming to tell her that things are going very bad, that he had the SAMU (emergency medical service) transport me to the CARDIO THORACIC CENTER OF MONACO. He asked her to come and see me. She is finding me blue-violet, in a death rattle, I tell her that I have much pain in my heart (I have no memory of it). Understanding the catastrophic situation, she asks Dr. R. to bring me in a specialized unit, which was confirmed to her, but the Dr. R. is also telling her that I had a very low chance to get there. During the intervention, I have had several instances where the heart is closing in on itself, like an old TV that is imploding. My heart was only beating at 10%, which necessarily brings about death or serious cerebral problems. My chance had been that those episodes started while I was in the operation room, surrounded by cardiologists. They placed me an intra-aortic balloon of counter pulse and foresaw that I was placed on circulatory assistance upon arrival in Monaco. I remember asking Dr. R., while being in the ambulance of the SAMU, that he should come and visit me there 'where I will be sent', I believe that I saw the disintegrated face of my spouse. Through the shaking and the siren of the SAMU, I knew by reflex if I was in Nice or on the highway. I also remember that on the highway, the doctor asked them to stop, so he could treat me. I believe that I was vomiting. At the arrival in Monaco, I was accepted by the reanimation team, especially by the Dr. E. and F.! Dr. F especially 'humane and listening to patients', explained my arrival to me afterwards. She presented herself, I was smiling at her, and she said 'what a beautiful smile' and turned away. Lying on the gurney, one arm free, as I had been vomiting, I caught her by the only part at my height, her lower back to tell her: 'I don't feel good, I'm leaving again'. This sent the whole team smiling who meant to understand that I wanted to return to Nice. In fact, I felt that my heart was failing again; it was the beginning of the fourth episode of my heart closing in on itself. Except some very short moments of lucidity when I was conscious of what happened around me, I only really and totally woke up on Saturday 22nd of December in the afternoon. My memories are episodic but of an especially impressive intensity and precision. What's coming after is medical techniques. I was catheterized, perfusion in one arm and in the aorta, on artificial respiration, attached, drugged, eyes closed, a feeding tube pumping a blackish fluid in my stomachâ€¦.
III: HALLUCINATION I'm getting a bit more conscious on Friday and I can 'converse' through signs, with the nurse. Each nurse, being present 24/24 hours, is taking care with only one patient! I was immediately confident as soon as I understood everything what I asked through signs. Palm of the hand up 'what's happening or what am I doing here?' Closed fist, except the index finger that I'm turning clockwise: 'and next?' She answered all my questions and prepared me each time following the therapies. My cubicle being in front of the place where all nurses met and where telephones were; I heard the conversations and especially when my daughter Belinda called on Friday to check in on me, I lifted a thumb to signal 'I'm well'! The nurse was seeing it and told her. This particular Friday, Dr. L., cardiologist from Nice came to see me and explained my situation to me, which was confirmed by Dr. R., cardiologist who came the next morning. I noticed his tears when he explained to me that outside of a medical environment I couldn't have survived. It was this health chain and the cardiologists that saved me! My thanks to them, thanks to the SAMU, thanks to the doctors and the whole team of the Cardio thoracic Center of Monaco. Patricia, Belinda and Harry, have been present all the time, Philippe and his children came, also. When seeing them, Patricia emaciated and 'gray', Belinda livid, it was there that I 'decided' to appear positive. In case of a negative issue, I would have left them with a good memory. So from Friday on, I resumed consciousness with a phenomenon, that was, for me, incomprehensible. When I was able to open and close my eyes, with open eyes I saw what was surrounding me, with eyes closed, I saw special images appearing. As an example, it was a descent on New York. I was immaterial in an absolute silence, NY in complete blackness, without a living soul, except the streets, being a bit less black. Moving my look under my eyelids, I was moving from the right to the left, always flying above the city. When I froze my look, for a few instances, on a distinct point in this very dark picture, the center deformed and was appearing as the face of G. Depardieu (a French actor)! There was a lot of talking about him going on at this period. Other pictures were more bucolic: still seen from a height, Ireland, green and blue with millions of migratory birds invading my field of view. Or in a corner of an immense hall, a sculpture that was made of wet and dried leather, representing very finely, dozens of very beautiful caryatids or female busts, and there again I could open my eyes and as soon as I closed them again, these sculptures appeared again. Insisting on this vision, it deformed and G. Depardieu appeared just a few features of his face, a bit hidden in the folds of the clothes. On other times, it was a big draped fabric like a curtain at the side of an immense window. Another time in the corner of the previous hall, there were Christmas baubles and garlands of an ocher color.
IV) COMING OUT OF REANIMATION As of Sunday, I was thus treated in a room where every morning around 11:00am there was the visit of the doctors and nurses. When asking during one of those visits to explain to me, without any bafflegab, my real situation, one of the doctors who had accepted me in the emergency room, the Dr. E. happened to be pedagogically correct, as I had been hoping. Here is what he said: 'First of all, Sir, you have to understand that you have been dead and that you are a miracle man, resuscitated, with no cerebral or cardiac after effect'. You are the only such case since our opening, 30 years ago. Followed some more technical explanations, but to finish with a little humor he asked me: 'Up there, you who have seen HIM, how is he? As we are also interested in HIM!' I answered in the same tone: 'I only perceived Him very little. HE found me too kind and sent me back! On the other hand I promise you that next time I will write down everything I see and will bring it back to you!' So I'm part of those who died and came back.
V. THE 'TUNNEL' EXPERIENCE
You were able to read accounts about a dark tunnel with at its end an intense light, for me no tunnel. I saw myself heading upwards, face turned towards the 'bluish sky'. I know that I left behind, rather below, something dark what seemed to be my past, and I felt good. Like in the hallucinations, I had no body, no intelligence, no noise, nobody around me and I was advancing in this 'cotton wool void', with farther away a space of bluish cotton wool. This cotton wool space opened partially, something or somebody, rather a beautiful old man with a white beard, clothed in this cotton wool, very quickly said to me: 'YOU, YOU ARE TOO KIND! GO BACK'. There my out of body experience ends.
V) CONCLUSION More than a year after what is remaining? Have I changed? I'm left with questions without answer, many questions: What did I 'see' or imagined? Hallucinations, normal syndromes bound to medical treatments, or reminiscence of what impressed on me in the preceding days or months, or consequently of this inexplicable passage towards elsewhere? If I changed? Yes, more detachment in relation to the people surrounding me. First there are those, Family or friends who actually came to see me, and thus those who didn't come. Then there are the doctors, all the doctors and their teams who have been making the good decisions, who treated and healed me, I admire them. There is also this almost UNAVOWABLE impression of being more intelligent? A doctor interested in this phenomenon, which he knew about, gave me one explanation. He explains it by comparing the brain to a mega computer that during this experience is freaking out like a bug. The computer specialist restarts the computer and reformats it, thus the installed useless programs are eliminated. There's his comparison, the brain 'turned off' and restarted, cleaning up the useless connections. The computer is becoming more performing, the brain also?
Date NDE Occurred: 19 /12/2012
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes While under general anesthesia Lors d'une cardioversion (choc électrique) Other 4 sidérations (symptôme de takatsubo)
Recalcitrant arrhythmia and/or fibrillation that had been treated through ablation 5 times by surgical intervention. (Symptom of Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy [Editor's notation: Also known as Broken Heart Syndrome])
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? Less consciousness and alertness than normal I remained in intensive care for 4 days (one nurse for one patient). I only understood where I was at the end of those four days.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When this ethereal Being told me: 'You are too kind, go back.
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
No notion of speed, maybe a bit slowed down in the presence of the figure.
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. In the first part, the one where I was 'gliding' above New York, I felt like a bird of prey with a sharp vision.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. At the end of the four days in intensive care, I was very sensitive and in total complicity with the nurse, while only being able to 'talk' with signs on my part and with words for her.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I was rising towards a cotton wool and very light blue sky, leaving behind and below the 'dark'.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes I was rising towards a very light bluish and cotton wool 'sky'.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm A bluish sky, like cotton wool, but I was in a void and was rising.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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 myself or others Getting back my sensitivity and the view of those surrounding me: my spouse and my children; I immediately understood that what I experienced was very serious and fatal for me. It's the view of my family that gave me back the will, to act positively, for them.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life The 'Being' who told me to return, made me return.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Atheist Simplement je n'arrive pas à croire en un être supérieur malgré cette expérience qui me l'aurait fait le rencontrer
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Not important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Atheist
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I always considered autistic people of the Asperger type as extraordinary people, and I experienced this in this experience as being capable to do the same thing.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes The value of each member of a family, that has to be taken as being unique.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 In the 'sky' between this bluish cotton wool, appeared someone in human shape, of whom I only saw the upper part of the body. He was dressed like a representation of a God and pointed to me his index finger.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes During my rising and leaving the 'dark', the Being who appeared could be assimilated to the pictures of a God. However, I'm not staying a believer in spite of this experience.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? I am uncertain if God exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes A faster analysis and synthesis.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife probably does not exist Yes My sense of analyzing what surrounds me became more powerful.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes I have the impression of being more intelligent, to be able to analyze and do a synthesis of a given problem much quicker, this could seem pretentious. Was it a reformat of the brain after a bug, what would have been eliminating all the useless 'folders'?
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life Few changes, except compassion that I feel towards others, especially towards children who are suffering. I became much more sensitive.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes With my family, each moment is intense and I hope, of quality.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes This experience had been difficult to make it accepted by those surrounding me: Refusal by one person, and doubt from my spouse. On the other hand, doctors are often very ready to listen, while knowing about what I'm talking.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Some information in documentation on TV
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was probably real Simply because in intensive care service of the Cardiovascular Center of Monaco, and during the daily visit of doctors, the cardiologist who accepted me upon my arrival after the cardioversion, and whom I had asked to talk frankly, told me that I was dead on arrival and that this is the first such experience known in this hospital.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? During this experience, you are not asking about the situation, actions, (crying, hugging, words) or the reactions of family or friends. Maybe these, by their words or gestures, had an influence upon the NDE of people.