On 12/31/1983 while living in a high rise in Davie, Florida, and having felt abdominal pain that night, I quietly enjoyed the night at my girlfriend's apartment several floors above where I also lived. On the morning of 1/1/1984 I went downstairs to my apartment to call my parents and to wish them Happy New Year and while I was urinating my stomach distended and with severe pain I called my friend to take me to the hospital emergency room. Upon entering the emergency room, no other patients were there and the emergency room doctor ordered a blood count. I dressed into hospital clothes and lay on a gurney in the emergency room with portable curtains surrounding me. I was left on the gurney an extended period of time. The pain continued and I curled into a fetal position to help relieve the pain but it continued until I became nauseous. At that time, the emergency room doctor ran over to my gurney and I recall that she called immediately for help as if I had been forgotten. I recall the she was very concerned as she read the blood count report and screamed to someone that my blood count was fifteen million to one.
All I recall from that point is that the pain grew worse and worse. I was still curled into a fetal position with my eyes closed, that the pain ceased immediately as I felt a sensation of a warm wave of heat or energy, starting in my abdomen, and expanding outward from the center of my body to my head and feet. Then I saw a fog in the near distance illuminated from the rear with an incredibly bright light and a stick like figure silhouette with legs, hands and head standing in the fog.
There was no pain, total bliss. Then I heard a sound in the distance and started to feel a sensation of, not discomfort, but more like annoyance. The next thing I saw were bare legs of someone in gray sweat shorts. When I looked closer, I saw that the person was wearing a gray T-shirt that was dark with sweat and he was cursing at me saying that I had better not die on him. It was a surgeon who was beating me on my chest and who was called by the emergency room doctor. The surgeon told me that he knew what I had, that he did not think he could save me. He also said that he was not going to miss the university. Miami game that was on TV that night (the college national championship I later learned).
As I recall the surgeon held a paper in one hand with a pen and said that I needed to make a mark on the paper that indicated I knew that I was not probably going to survive. He also said that he needed to touch an area on my body. When he touched the right side of my abdomen, I lurched off the gurney and grabbed his upper shirt as I screamed in pain. The last question he asked me was what I had last eaten. I told him that because I had not felt good for a day I had only had canned pears.
Immediately after that, I was doused with an orange liquid on my entire upper body, rushed into another room on the gurney and a doctor said that he was going to help me relax and asked me to count backwards to from one hundred. The next thing I recall is waking up in a very cold room (intensive care unit). After being in intensive care unit for I don't know how long, and then remaining on IV antibiotics for days, I was moved to another room for recovery where I was told that the staff did not know how I survived. The surgeon later told me that I would be billed for two surgeons, since the second surgeon had to empty all of my abdominal organs into a large tube and soak them to remove the poison, while the other surgeon operated on the burst appendix. The head nurse said that the first surgeon was upset because his partner, just the week before, had operated on a patient who had the same symptoms and who had been rushed to the emergency room from the Florida Everglades while fishing, had not survived the surgery.
I am grateful to God to be alive and even though the incident did not have an immediate impact on me until several years later after I met my now ex-wife and had a daughter who is now twenty-one.
Date NDE Occurred: 'January 1, 1984'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Peritonitis Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I had died on a gurney in the emergency room of a hospital after being admitted for severe abdominal pain on New Year's Day morning.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? Normal consciousness and alertness As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Immediately after I felt the warm sensation and began to see the bright light behind the fog with the stick like figure.
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
Time stood still. There was no motion but I sensed that the fog and the entire vision was alive even though it was not moving. It was not like a photo or picture. It was more like real feeling actually being there.
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. Even though I did not feel my body, the only thing I saw in my field of vision and senses was the fog with the most incredible light behind it and the stick figure standing in the fog. It was so incredibly clear and bright shining from behind the fog.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain It felt as though I was in an enclosure of some type looking into the near distance where the bright light behind the fog with the stick figure was.
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 The stick human like figure was standing in the fog and I just looked at it with a pleasant feeling as if I did recognize who or what it was and I was not afraid at all. I was more interested in looking at the figure and felt very peaceful in its presence.
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes This was the most incredible BRIGHT light shining behind the fog with the stick human like figure. Think of the highest intensity high beams on a car shining the lights from behind the fog and the stick figure in it, and then increase the brightness a million times, but you do not lose vision of the fog at the same time. That's what I saw.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Yes, a level of bliss that I have never experienced before or since.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Total bliss, calmness and a keen interest to keep looking at the stick figure in the fog with the bright light shining into it from behind the fog.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
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 the universe
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? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain I felt as if I was being drawn to the bright light, fog and the stick figure, not physically but emotionally as if I wanted to know who or what it was.
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 was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No The interesting part of this response is that my life habits did not change for about two years after the experience, but once my family started and I became more connected to a spiritual meaning in life, that things started to make more sense to me about life. I believe and know in my soul that there is a God and God is great in so many miraculous ways. My doctoral dissertation was even titled 'The Touch of a Leader's Soul' and I believe that the NDE had an impact on my choice of topics.
What is your religion now? Liberal 'I strongly believe in God now, but at the time of my NDE was not involved in any spiritual or religious beliefs.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No The interesting part of this response is that my life habits did not change for about two years after the experience, but once my family started and I became more connected to a spiritual meaning in life, that things started to make more sense to me about life. I believe and know in my soul that there is a God and God is great in so many miraculous ways. My doctoral dissertation was even titled 'The Touch of a Leader's Soul' and I believe that the NDE had an impact on my choice of topics.
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
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Uncertain I had a sense of curiosity and of wanting to continue to look into the fog at the figure in the blissful state I was in.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes At first, no, but several years later and after starting a family, I believe that the experience has helped me unite on a spiritual path that has been a foundation for my earthly experience. It's like a seventh sense of some kind that is difficult to explain but that I can almost sense things in people or events sometimes. I always loved nature and now enjoy it much more as I meditate daily and read spiritual works and even do spiritual artwork as pleasure.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The best way to describe the experience is being in a totally dark space, looking in the close distance at a fog that is incredibly illuminated from the rear of the fog and a stick like figure with legs, arms and head silhouette in the fog.
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? Yes, the total Bliss, the fog, the high intensity light behind it and the stick human like figure that I will always recall.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was about a month after the experience as I recall. I can't recall their reactions or if they were influenced by my experience.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I might have heard about the concept but if I had it did not affect my experience. I actually lived my life after the experience as if nothing happened and later in life, after having a family and being introduced to spiritual values later in life did I become more aware of the experience and have for over twenty years been involved in a higher level of spiritual awareness and awakenings.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I could not explain it shortly after, but could only describe it. I even drew the rendition of the experience afterwards on paper.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I am not sure how to view the experience, except that it was real and happened when I died on the gurney in the emergency room. What I do feel is that I have a sense of what it feels like after clinical death and like being back in the womb. It was very warm and blissful.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No Not that I am aware of.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Not at this time.