Experience Description

On June 29th of 2011 I had a cardiac arrest. My wife and I along with my step daughter and her boyfriend were returning home from a downtown lunch. I had been feeling tired and a bit confused all day, but I certainly didn't feel ill, and I had no pain. As we approached an intersection I had the feeling that I was fading away (that is the best I can describe it). I knew then that there was something very wrong. I arrived at the intersection just when the light turned red and heard a voice say that I was dying. I put the car into park, shut off the engine and collapsed in my wife's arms. The voice again said ‘you are dying, this is how it feels.’ It wasn't a threatening voice, it was kind of calming in a way. I felt no pain during the whole process. My wife had her arm around me and her hand on my chest. She apparently was telling me to ‘hold on.’ I could not hear her; I could only hear the other voice. I didn't feel I was in a tunnel, nor did I see a light, but I felt like I was going somewhere. Then my wife felt my heart stop and saw the light just instantly leave my eyes. Luckily, there just happened to be a nurse in a car behind us, who came to my assistance. Below is the nurse's account.

‘When I saw you, you were slumped over and a man (step-daughters boyfriend?) was about to pull you out of the car. We laid you on the yellow line on Duckworth (that scares me, thinking about it now) during lunch hour traffic. I checked for a pulse and could not feel one. Your lips look cyanotic (blue) and you were not breathing. I tried to resuscitate you. I did a few rounds of chest compressions before the fire dept. got there. They got the automatic emergency defibrillator, and we placed the pads on you and shocked you, after the shock was done, the firefighter did the next set of compressions and we were getting ready for another shock when the paramedic arrived. They took over. They whipped you on the stretcher and off you went in the ambulance. Your wife went with you, I believe, or I asked them if they could let her go with you. Then that was it. I remember standing on the sidewalk in wonder and shock I think, because it happened so fast.’

At the hospital, I was placed in a medical coma and wasn't expected to make it. And if I did, they expected moderate to severe brain damage. Well I made it, and I have no brain damage. I did undergo a quadruple bypass and have recovered remarkably. Another miracle was that through it all my actual heart muscle remained undamaged. I do have many questions, and I am having a bit of difficulty understanding all that happened. It's almost as if I was not meant to stay dead for some reason. The chances of me arriving at the intersection and having the lights turn red at that moment are difficult enough to comprehend, but the fact that there happened to also be a nurse a couple of cars behind as well is mind boggling. I do feel that I wasn't alone, beyond my family members. I still have a million questions that I don't know how to even ask or deal with. I’m hoping to hear from someone who can help shed some light.

I know I'm exceedingly lucky. By all rights, I really shouldn't be here. Just too many things just happened to occur at that precise moment in time. I do get the nagging feeling that there is something I'm missing though, something I need to be searching for, but I just don't know where to begin and it does have me confused and a bit frustrated. It's almost like I've got a gigantic puzzle in front of me that I must complete, but first I have to find the missing pieces before I even begin.


John M