I am an ICU (intensive care unit) nurse. I was working the night shift 3 weeks ago in the ICU as an emergency responder nurse and CPR nurse. I had been having chest 'twinges' for months, but was not really concerned. Our ICU is large, and I was walking down a deserted hallway toward our break room when I had severe chest pain. I really couldn't breathe. My thought was that if I could make it to the break room and lie down on the couch, maybe I could catch my breath. I opened the break room door with my badge, took a couple steps, and collapsed.
I was lying on the floor, completely aware, and realized that I was gurgling with the old death gurgle for those in the medical profession. I was so sad, thinking of my husband and children. Still aware, I then realized that I had stopped breathing, and just laid there for quite some time staring at the floor and grieving for my family. I knew I was dying and that I was the only one in the break room. I did not have a patient assignment, and knew nobody was likely to find me to render help. After some time, I was aware of nothing.
A coworker who happened to pop into the break room found me. These next events were told to me and I don't recall them. Coworkers found me not breathing and in cardiac arrest. I am white, but my skin color was purple and black from lack of oxygen. They gave me chest compressions while an ICU doctor intubated me by having to lie down on his stomach on the floor. Apparently, they placed me on a backboard and ran with me to an ICU room.
That's when I popped out of my body and watched EVERY single CPR and medical procedure done to me. I heard and saw it ALL. It was a distinctive 'pop' that I felt when I left my body. I was on the ceiling watching it all. I didn't really feel disturbed to see my body on the bed. I just thought that I looked terrible and 'no way am I going back into that!' I watched coworkers do chest compressions and cut off my clothes and thought, 'Dammit, that was my best Victoria's Secret bra.' I heard staff members calling out my labs, and thinking, 'Hmmm, that's not good, she's not gonna make it.' I watched blood being drawn and a central line being inserted into my groin. I saw my blood splash all over the doctor, which I did feel badly about. I saw coworkers checking my pupils, saying they were fixed and dilated. I could see from the ceiling that they were correct. I watched the whole CPR medication protocol followed, and so much more. I have a VERY expensive 5-carat diamond ring from my husband, which a nurse removed for safekeeping. I remember thinking, 'The only way that's coming off is off of my cold dead hand.' Then realizing, 'Oh yeah, I am dead, so...'
I had two emergency beepers in my nursing scrub pocket. One was the CPR beeper. I remember hearing it going off as my CPR was being called overhead. As they were cutting off my scrub top, I remember thinking, 'Well I'm not responding to this one.'
At that point, I saw my two dead sisters and mother. I also saw a lady I did not immediately recognize. Now, I was very close to these family members in life, and we all enjoyed a good sense of humor. All four ladies appeared to be in their 30s, even though they were older when they died.
My sister Sandy was a very beautiful, slender woman in life. My sister Cindy was short, like me, but about a size 18. My sisters immediately started joking with me about the dress in which Sandy was buried. They reminded me of a Vegas trip that we sisters had taken. Cindy borrowed a dress from Sandy without permission. She was stuffed in that dress like a sausage, and Sandy was shocked our sister was wearing it. Well, guess what, that dress is what Sandy's son chose to bury her in, and they were laughing like crazy about it. I remember Sandy laughing, saying, 'Really, it had to be THAT dress?' Cindy was saying 'I made that dress look good.' The lady I didn't know addressed me, and I realized from her voice that it was my husband's grandmother, who I adored in life, but only knew her when she was in her 70s. She now appeared in her 30s, and was beautiful. She started telling me my husband needed me, and was shaking her finger at me to go back. I'm sad to say I argued, because no way was I going back into that mess of a body.
I could see the IV pumps, I am familiar with the medications, and I was on 20 micrograms of levophed, with a blood pressure of 50. No way was I going to chance going back to a probable anoxic brain-injured body. My husband's grandma was a tough lady and was getting aggressive with me. The next thing I knew, I was back in my body. It didn't feel good let me tell you. Out of my body were pure peace, no pain, and no worries.
From my medical records, I had 10 minutes of no heartbeat or spontaneous respirations after I was found. Who knows how long I was down on the floor before CPR was started? By the next morning, I was awake and alert enough, on the ventilator, to write notes to anyone who would listen about my NDE. I have complete and total recall of it all. The things coworkers said while I was dead, I repeated it back to them word for word. I was diagnosed with sudden cardiac death from Takotsobos cardiomyopathy. (Basically, stress induced cardiomyopathy that led to my death.) I am now having severe anxiety, panic attacks, and nightmares about it all. I did not see the tunnel, lights, or feel a godly presence, but I did have the sense that I would be going to heaven.
Date NDE Occurred: 7-29-2016
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack CPR given Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
My heart and breathing stopped, I was clinically dead at least 10 minutes, but probably around 15 minutes.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes See the whole description above.
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? Normal consciousness and alertness It was normal.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the CPR and stabilization
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could see the whole room without turning my head.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Excellent hearing
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I saw my two deceased sisters, deceased mother, and my husband's deceased grandmother. I later found out that, one of my sons was praying with the chaplain and that these four family members came to protect me.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
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? Peace
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
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? No
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 barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
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
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Slightly important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know
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
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? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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 exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
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? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Uncertain Seeing my deceased relatives
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared 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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly 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? Moderate changes in my life I now have beliefs, but I'm not sure what to make of it all yet.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I'm no longer such a control driven, type A personality. I think I'm much more relaxed.
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 more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience. I have absolute total recall of everything. My doctor says I have changed his life. All of my coworkers believe me also because there is no way I could have the knowledge I do.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain The past week, electrical appliances keep turning on around me for no good reason. There were five different events, which I cannot explain.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I particularly remember the dress and hat that my husband's deceased grandmother was wearing. My husband brought out old photo albums from the 1940s that I had never seen. I saw a picture of her in the outfit, I told everyone about it.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Before I was even off the ventilator, I wrote all of my friends/coworkers notes as well as my doctor, telling everyone.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I have read books before, but I don't think it influenced me. I did not see a light or tunnel.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I know what I saw, I did not imagine it, and I was clinically dead during the procedures.
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