On November 3rd, I underwent an arthroscopic day surgery to remove a bone spur in my right shoulder. I am a diabetic but because of incorrect information from the hospital, I had not taken a half dose of insulin in the morning. My surgery was at 1:30 pm. I remember receiving the local anesthetic at the right base of the neck. It tingled the ends of my fingers much like electricity and hurt. I told the doctors but they ignored it. Before the operation, all I remember was the mask being put over my face.
An hour and a half later, I began waking up in recovery. I remember the nurse introducing himself as, 'Bill'. I saw other patients being welcomed by their doctors. Suddenly, I heard two persons talking. I understood that something was happening to my blood pressure. I next felt myself being wheeled out of Recovery onto an elevator. One of the attendants wondered whether the nurse, she named 'Kill-Bill,' knew about my condition.
I was wheeled into the cardiology intensive care unit. I heard persons rushing to and fro. I heard anxious voices and faces. My blood pressure was falling. I later learned that it had fallen to 50/20. People spoke to me wanting to know my medications. I tried to rattle them off, but my recollection is that I was in and out of consciousness. I suddenly felt my wrists being pierced. Two women were inserting IV's into both wrists. One of them asked about doing this, and the other said not to worry about it. This was one of the most traumatic things about my NDE. For days afterwards, bruises and needle marks remained on my wrists. I remember feeling at the time that I had been crucified in the intensive care unit.
Little did I know that they were injecting the drug dopamine into my system in order to constrict the blood vessels to rebuild my blood pressure. I was in and out of consciousness. My physical feeling was one of coldness. I did not have to concentrate on this trouble because of the fluctuations between consciousness and a dreamy kind of sleep. Somehow, I knew that I was dying.
I knew about NDEs and remembered Bob Fossie's own NDE fantasies in 'All That Jazz.' Suddenly my consciousness rose above the intensive care unit. I remember having told myself that I had not had an out of body experience so this could not be happening. As I rose, I told myself, 'Well, here it is.' The experience choreographed the doctors and nurses into a dance from the sitting position in rows of chairs. They were grabbing things like tubes and throwing them or inserting them into my body.
Then I went through an almost indescribable experience. I was on a gurney being wheeled up to what looked like a round doorway in a medieval cathedral. Around the doorframe were purple flowers. I thought this was a game show. Somehow, I knew that I had a hand in making this happen. A man dressed in a tuxedo and tails spoke to me. He told me not to worry. Everything was going to be okay. 'Mark,' he said, 'soon your troubles, fears, and worry will be over. Just relax.' The gurney was moving toward the doorway. (Before the operation, I was slightly down due to my depression. I had prayed to God that I was ready to be taken.) Everything calmed down until I began to sense that the man was not a friendly character. Rather, he was a con man feeding me a line. Suddenly I put two and two together and realized that the man represented death. As I moved along in darkness, I cried out a couple times, 'No, I want to live with Cindy and Tim!!!' (My wife and son.) Then I fell asleep again and am living today
Date NDE Occurred: November 3, 2003
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related Life threatening event, but not clinical death See main narrative.
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 do not remember.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Coming out of gas and local anesthetic and being filled with dopamine.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning On the gurney, time slowed down.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes Went into the cathedral's doorway.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes A man dressed in a tuxedo and tails.
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I believe that God gave me a choice so that I would never pray again with a request for death according to His Will.
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? 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 I could make a choice to live and did.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate Protestant connected at this time to no church
What is your religion now? Moderate Protestant connected at this time to no church
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I have a Ph. D. in History but my faith has always conflicted with my rationality. Now I believe unequivocally in a personal God and that he has blessed me with a second life. I do not know why this is and for a while, it bothered me. I have come to accept this uncertainty.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Strong emotional content. Knew my life was in danger from looks on faces, tone of voice and things spoken.
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? Best part was how relaxed I felt when I started to accept the account of what was happening to me from Death. Worst part, other than the IV's and catheter up my penis, was realizing that the man in a tuxedo and tails was not a friend but was death.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Another person of faith liked my testimony that living with this experience was difficult. What could I do to thank God appropriately. Others believed my account.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? For weeks I was troubled by my memories of the entire trauma. My therapist walked me through my feelings and recollections. It is fading into the past, but I do note the third of every month as a kind of anniversary. I am thankful!! However, I still wonder why and hope that I shall fulfill the purpose of the reason for my rescue from Death's door.