It began in February, 1988. I was taken to the hospital for chest pains. I was admitted to the intensive care unit under strict surveillance. Two days later, I suffered a heart attack. I was in intensive care for ten days, and then moved to a private room on the cardiology floor. I didn’t feel good. After consulting with my doctor, my wife and I decided that I should have open-heart surgery. We decided to move to Houston, Texas.
Two days later, we left for the United States, where the ambulance was waiting to transport me from the airport to the hospital. I arrived the night of Tuesday the 16th. On the 17th, preparations were made for cardiovascular open-heart surgery to restore the obstructed arteries. After dinner, at about eight in the evening of the 17th, I began to feel a sharp, penetrating pain in the left side. I was immediately rushed to the intensive care unit where about three doctors and three nurses injected me. Each moment I was asked, on a scale of one to ten, to describe the intensity of the pain. To this I responded, ‘nine.’
On February 18, under anesthesia, I saw everything, but I could not move. Soon after, I began to notice that my body rose slowly. I didn't move, but continued ascending, crossing the floors of the hospital, as if they opened the floors in my ascent, leaving a hole sufficiently big to look down.
I remember that after crossing several floors, I could lift my head and turn it on my right shoulder to see down. It didn't scare me what I saw. There below, I saw doctors and nurses trying to work on me. I closed my eyes and then I felt that I began to descend quickly and entered to my body. I saw the agitation around me again. This experience was repeated five or six times. And I continued answering the intensity of the pain. This agony went on until I was rushed into the operation room.
I want to tell you of a strange experience that I had in the moments when I left my body. In one of those instants, I felt that I floated toward a dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, there was a man next to the entrance of a cave, equally dark. He was dressed in white with characters on his jacket. It disturbed me when I saw him lift his right arm to make hand gestures beckoning me nearer. Before that image so dark, I felt a lot fear. I felt strongly that he was a demon who was calling me. I made an effort to retrace the road journey, and I again found myself in the intensive care ward.
I think that I conserved my mental clarity for several hours during the time I was dead. I believe that I was prepared to die. On the way to the operating room, I vividly remember that my wife was on my left holding my hand, while my daughter held my right hand, until we entered the intensive care room.
There they said goodbye with a kiss. Already in the living room, I observed the three doctors toil in assisting me and the three nurses accepting the medical orders. As I already referred to, while they applied the oxygen mask they asked me to describe the intensity of the pain.
In the cardiology room, I received several pills of nitroglycerine, but I don't know what medications they applied me in intensive care. I remained conscious to respond to those questions that were asked.
It was in those moments in that I felt the first of the experiences. My emotional state stayed remained calm. I was without fears or anguish even though I know I had died! I continued thinking and felt it when I crossed the floors of different rooms. I didn't see anything around me. Everything was dark.
Only when I arrived at a certain height could I look around. I saw in the bottom the image of what I had abandoned when my body ascended. It was a round hole with irregular borders. I observed the number of floors crossed, as well as the edges around the floors. It was a sufficiently large hole that I could see the bed and the stretcher.
When looking down, I could only see the light of the lower floor where the medical personnel were assisting my body. It was too dark to see other objects or people.
In those fleeting moments, I didn't have any fear. I was completely calm, without sensation or uneasiness. When I returned to my body through the head, I felt my descent and was drawn back into the body they were still operating on.
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event?
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I didn't feel that my consciousness was separated from my body. I always reasoned that my mind remained with my body.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No Time and space didn’t feel altered. The experience just felt like the normal time when I happened to leave.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? I didn't hear any sounds.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Only when I had the second experience. I consider that one a type of hallucination from medications. I felt I was in a dark, tight space. Floating. In the distance, I saw an open area, and there someone called to me. It was standing on the edge of a cave at the illuminated border. In the moment, I reasoned that it was a demon. I got scared and wanted to return.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No I didn’t see any beautiful places or dimensions outside of our customary reality.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No I didn't have the sensation of ending up knowing any special knowledge, order, or universal purpose.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control At any moment I was able to make a revision in the events of my last life.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No I don't believe I have glimpsed future events.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No I didn't make the decision of return to my body. It was something that doesn't take voluntary participation.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes There have been a lot of changes. I thought that perhaps I could have some psychic gift after having this experience, but it hasn’t been so. After the experience, I look at life from a more spiritual perspective. I believe I can see the big picture of what people are, why we are here, and the road to peace. My seeking out God and having my religious beliefs reinforced has taken care of many of those things that caused suffering in my life.
After the NDE:
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I think that the worst part in my experience was when I saw myself floating toward that dark cave where a strange fellow waited for me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes This experience was shared with very few people, not for fear of being rejected, but for the zeal of keeping something that is intimately mine.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No After the experience, I haven’t had anything cause anything that resembled it. Not even the effects of medications.
Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Uncertain