NDE due to pulmonary embolus.">

Experience Description

I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. It was Christmas Day 1990 and I awoke and got up in the morning. I proceeded to the living room together with my wife and Jennifer. We opened our cards and gifts, enjoying the mood and feeling that Christmas Day has as that special holiday in remembrance of the symbolic celebration of the Birth of Christ, as well as the modern day Santa Claus mythology that makes Christmas magical to the children in our culture. After finishing opening our gifts, we telephoned our parents and extended family members and wished them all Merry Christmas. Later in the morning, we got ready to go to Jennifer’s sister’s place. We arrived there at about noon and greeted my sister-in-law Sharon, her husband John and their children, and some of John’s extended family members. We all sat down and enjoyed a cup of a coffee while Sharon was still cooking Christmas dinner, which she hoped to have ready to serve at about 3:00 pm. While waiting, John and l decided to go down the hallway into the store, which they both ran. The store was attached to the house and the business consisted of a small grocery store, a fresh meat counter and a pizza shop. We went there to play some of the video machines that were in the store and proceeded to try to outscore each other on them.

Suddenly I was struck with very sharp pains in my chest. They were excruciating. My body suddenly became dripping wet with sweat and, according to the others present; I was starting to turn a bluish color around my lips and around the fingernail areas of my extremities. John decided to help me through the hallway and through a doorway that separated the business from the house living room area. Just as I got into the living room, I collapsed to the floor. The way I like to describe the way I fell is ‘like dropping a bag of potatoes onto the floor’. It was quick. It was brisk and I was in medical distress. It was also at this time that Sharon called 911 and an ambulance was dispatched to the address. While it was en route my wife, Sharon and a couple other of her extended family members were trying to get me situated lying on the floor by propping my head and putting a pillow under my neck. The last thing that I remember is the excruciating pain and then, suddenly, I had the sensation of falling and falling, and this falling sensation seemed like it was lasting forever. My next realization was that my consciousness was no longer inside me, but my awareness or essence was outside of my body. The previous moment I was amidst this falling sensation and, like the pop of a cork, I found my consciousness or awareness from a point outside of the confines of my physical body. The excruciating pain that I had been suffering just seemed to evaporate and felt completely unnoticeable. I then recall my wife and Sharon yelling, and them shaking and saying to me, 'Paul, please do not go – you're slipping’. Their voices were fading, sounding very echoed. I could still consciously realize their presence and hear them, but their voices sounded like they were getting to be a long distance away. My next realization was the strangest one yet! All through this entire process, I became aware of being conscious outside of what I consider the boundaries of the physical body. My eye vision, if we can call it that, out of the sensation of 'seeing', I was probably about 12 feet away at a 45° angle from where my body was lying on the floor. I could clearly see my wife, her sister, and her sister’s sister-in-law. I remember too that I (my essence of conscious self) was floating above and away from where my physical body was laying on the living room floor, yet I clearly remember that my consciousness, which was not within the boundaries of my physical body. It was a lucid sensation of being able to see at a 360° all around from wherever situated, while my consciousness was situated next to the ceiling.

While I was aware of being out of body, I could not put an essence of time on it. Perhaps a couple of minutes had already lapsed, or even what might have been 30 seconds or variables of time in between but what actually seemed like a couple of minutes. The loss of sensation of the ability to tell time become immediately known, and I recall feeling the presence of a loving spiritual entity. I guess the best way to describe it was that it felt like somebody I knew, or perhaps someone who cared about me in a way like a grandfatherly or grandmotherly type person would. I could not see him or her, but I could certainly feel their presence. Also, I had the sensation of some invisible force trying to pull me further away from my physical body, and it seemed like I was trying to fight this sensation.

It was also during this same period of time when I recall that the front door to the living room (main entrance to the house area) opened, and through the door came Sharon’s two next-door neighbors. One of them was an employee who worked at the store part time and the other her husband, who was a school bus driver. They came to try to offer assistance, while Jennifer, Sharon and extended family members were tending to me while awaiting the arrival of paramedics. Very soon after that, I remember seeing an ambulance attendant come inside the front door with a life-support kit box and another attendant (paramedic) come through with a stretcher, being assisted on the other end by one of the next-door neighbors. This was all taking place while I was viewing the entire ordeal from a position of looking downward, sort of like being from the ceiling level. Also, it was at this time I recall the sensation of the air being a glow, or the atmosphere was filled with all these little speckles of white light. In fact, everything was luminous or illuminating with speckles of light, something like the mirror ball lights used at dances. Even the people in the room glowed slightly. They had this translucent like glow to them. You couldn’t actually see through them, but instead of being like a solid object they seemed to have a hue of light coming from them. I remember saying to myself that it was like being in a state of confusion in my mind’s eye, yet I was well aware that my conscious self was outside of the confines of my physical body, as my body was on the floor and there were people gathered around my physical body who were very distressed and upset. It was at this time when the paramedics took over from my family members attending to me. I remember that they started taking my vitals and them putting an oxygen mask to my face. What happened in the next few moments I have no conscious memory of.

My next recollection of awareness or conscious memory happened when I awoke inside the ambulance as it was getting near to the Emergency Department of the hospital. This was probably around 2:30 pm in the afternoon, if memory serves me correct. I remember coming to, with excruciating chest pain once again and struggling to get my breath. The paramedics were trying to coach me to breathe slowly and try to stay as calm as I could. I remember the bouncy bump the ambulance rode over as they backed up into the receiving area at the Emergency Department entrance. The ambulance stopped, and the paramedics wheeled my stretcher through aluminum and glass doors to the Triage area, where a charge nurse took over. After doing a rapid assessment, they wheeled me into the Cardiac Resuscitation Room.

A short time later, interns started taking blood out of the undersides of my wrist to get an arterial blood gases sample, and inserted an I.V. in my other arm. They transferred the oxygen from the small portable tank to the in-hospital supply of oxygen through a mask that was placed over my face. The staff were telling me to keep calm, and I remember them asking Jennifer questions about my age, medical history, symptoms, the medications that I was presently on and other related things while they were working on me. The staff now had my medical chart, and they noted that it was about one year and two months since I had major thoracic surgery to my esophagus, which was also done at the same hospital about 14 months prior to this day. The doctor was talking to my wife, and asking me questions at the same time, while I was still groggy and suffering excruciating chest pain, although it had eased up compared to when I had earlier regained consciousness in the ambulance.

A short time later, a doctor come in with the results of my blood gases, and ordered the nurses to set up a heparin drip stat. I was still groggy while all this was going on; however remember hearing the doctor tell the nurses and my wife that my blood level of oxygen was at about 63% saturation, which was far below the normal 97 to 99% figure they like to see. The staff started springing into action, running off EKG strips. They had me sign a consent form and were preparing to give me a bolus of an anti-clotting medication. They felt this was necessary, but I could have risked death if I had internal bleeding anywhere in my body. Still, they advised that the benefits of this clot busting drug outweighed the risk, so I consented to the injection through I.V. I remember the doctor saying to my wife and staff that with my O² (oxygen level) at 63% and blood gases so low that I probably shouldn’t even be conscious or awake, and because I had a history of pulmonary embolism I was probably was having a recurrence of them. They diagnosed me, on this Christmas Day, as having blood clots in my lungs (by the way the symptoms presented themselves and by how my vitals and symptoms had transpired over the last hour) more or less in time. The symptoms started with rapid onset. I was laying on the stretcher with the reality facing me that I could die if any more clots were to go into my lungs at this time (the staff had no idea just how close I was to death, as I did not tell them about my out of body experience that I had about 30 minutes +/- earlier).

The medical staff advised my wife and family members that some people actually do not survive when that blood gases are that low, and they were amazed that I was even conscious. The Coronary Care Unit was full to capacity so they had to admit and transfer me to another hospital. Within the hour, another two ambulance attendants came and did this. When I arrived, I was taken to the Intensive Care Unit on the third floor. It too was full to capacity, so they had another room next door to the ICU prepared and placed me in a room with three other patients, who also had serious cardiac problems. The hospital had a nurse assigned right in the room with us 24/7. Another doctor came in later that night. There was also an intern and two other doctors who tended to me at that time. Since it was Christmas Day, they were unable to take me down to Nuclear Medicine to get my lungs scanned. However, due to the arterial blood gas numbers, my medical history of having blood clots recurring since 1984, and based on my vitals that day, they were certain that pulmonary embolism caused the cause of this medical crisis.

They put me on an I.V. drip of Heparin (anticoagulant) and bed rest. I was not allowed out of bed for the next seven days. Gradually my vitals improved, and it was on January 3, 1991 when they sent me down to Nuclear Medicine to have my lungs scanned again.

The anticoagulants were doing their job and I was starting to recover from the clots. However, this hospital stay was long and I was there until about January 21, just under four weeks in duration.

This event on Christmas Day was to change me forever. It was a very spiritual awakening experience, having a conscious memory of being outside of my body. I felt a total bliss, and felt part of the universe. It can only be one thing, a blessing! As a result, life changes began on this day which have evolved me spiritually to where I am today.

Background Information:

Gender: Male

Date NDE Occurred: 'December 25, 1990'

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism and spent close to month in hospital.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant

The experience included: Out of body experience

Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I watched neighbors and ambulance attendants (paramedics) come through the door - both from outside and inside at the same time is the best way I can describe it. 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? More consciousness and alertness than normal It seemed like I had 360 degree vision.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was hovering (consciousness or lucidity speaking) about 12 feet away and at a 45 degree angle above where my physical body was lying. There were speckles of light filling the atmosphere.

Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual

Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual I lost sensation of time and have no idea if my OBE lasted seconds, minutes, or longer. I’m just unable to answer that.

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. It seemed like I had 360 degree vision.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear as well as I can hear with my physical ears, but there seemed to be a 'hum' sound in the atmosphere as I recall.

Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No

Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I did not see or notice anything that I would construe as a tunnel, but I could feel something from afar pulling me, wanting to pull me away further from my body - almost like a vacuum feeling perhaps?

The experience included: Presence of deceased persons

Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain

The experience included: Unearthly light

Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No

Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Speckles of light all through the atmosphere (like millions of fireflies) and the people present seemed to take on this luminescence; sort of like how wax in a candle glows.

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No

What emotions did you feel during the experience? It was so unforeseen I did not even think about emotional aspects at the time it happened, but I do sense there was a 'loving presence' close by. There also seemed to be no sensation of gravity to keep me anchored to the floor level. I was floating amidst the atmosphere and, if anything, could feel something trying to pull me further away perhaps is the best way I can explain it.

Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness

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? Everything about the universe Since my NDE back in 1990 I have been looking for spiritual advancement. Love seems to be the most important thing in life, being in harmony and having compassion toward others. Material things are not important, and love, harmony, compassion and gracefulness are the most important to me now - a far shift from where I was prior to the NDE. I have been searching for more answers since that day, being drawn to books about spirituality etc.

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? No

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? Christian- Protestant At the time of my event, I had attended a United Methodist Church as a child; but at the time when this experience took place, I considered myself leaning more toward an athiest point of view.

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I am definitely more spiritual, belong to a local spiritual group and like to take part in things like holistic health, spiritual workshops etc. At that point in my life, I was pretty close to being an atheist, so having an awareness or consciousness that seemed to be outside of the boundary of the physical body immediately gave me indication that there is more to who we are than just a physical body with a name. We definitely have a SOUL that seems to exist beyond the physical boundaries of a body. Where that part of us resides is something I am now searching for answers. The only answer I have at this point in time is that love is the predominant force of nature, and we should live our life in trying to be as close to that principle as possible. Any fear of death that I had prior to that OBE I no longer hold. Even though I grew up in a United Methodist household I was not what one would call religious, but since Christmas Day 1990, I consider myself much more spiritual in nature.

What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me

What is your religion now? Other faiths- New age ECKANKAR

Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience At that point in my life, I was pretty close to being an athiest, so having an awareness or consciousness that seemed to be outside of the boundary of the physical body; immediately gave me indication that there is more to who we are than just a physical body with a name. We definitely have a SOUL that seems to exist beyond the physical boundaries of a body; and where that part of us resides, is something I am now searching for answers.... and the only answer I have at this point in time, is that love is the predominant force of nature, and we should live our life in trying to be as close to that principal as possible. Any fear of death that I had prior to that OBE; I no longer hold that fear. Even though I grew up in a United Methodist household, I was not what one would call religious, but since Christmas Day 1990, I consider myself much more spiritual in nature now.

Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I have become more spiritual, and have changed my scope of living to searching for spiritual answers to many questions that I have about things.

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify Instead of hear a voice I could FEEL a presence, a loving presence, but could not see anybody other than the human people who were present in that living room, yet I could feel this presence emanating a love. I did not see any bright body of light, like others have talked about in their NDEs, but for me there were thousands, perhaps millions, of these little speckles of light all around me.

Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence

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? Uncertain Just that undeniable feeling of universal love seems to thread through the universe.... it was like momentarily, I was part of that.... is the best way I can think of to explain that sensation.

Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists

During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain Not so much of a supreme being, but of a loving presence, could feel it, but not see it.

Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists

Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:

During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Uncertain That LOVE is the predominant force.

Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant

During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain I became certain our true essence is SOUL if we want to label it that; and our true essence is spiritual in nature; and that the physical body perhaps is a vessel or vehicle to house SOUL on the earth. Love seems to be the permeating all things, and whil

Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife does not exist

Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I became aware that consciousness is far stranger than one could even imagine; I seemed like I could see, hear and think outside of the boundary of the physical body.

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? Slightly 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 possibly 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? Uncertain Since Christmas Day 1990, I no longer have any fear of death..... perhaps fear in the way I may die, but do have no fear of death, and now strongly believe we do not die, but only shed the physical body and our consciousness will live on and on.

During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No

Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Not compassionate toward others

During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes See my answer to question 36.

Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others

What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life

Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Uncertain I am probably more drawn to making friendships with people who are spiritual than I was before.

After the NDE:

Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I had sensations and bliss that I had never ever experienced before.

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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I recall those few moments of my life as clear today as the moments it all took place. IT was so profound, I remember it more clearly than many other moments that took place in my lifetime.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I seem to be more intuitive than ever before. That is what my wife and friends often tell me. I now also seem to have lucid dreams.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The speckles of light and the feeling of a loving presence. I would love to find out more about what all this means.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared with my wife in the weeks after it happened, to some close friends in the months and first couple of years after it happened, and am more apt to share my experiences with both friends and strangers now. I feared negative consequences toward me if I was to tell people about it right after it happened, more so for just the simple fear that some may reject me because of telling them about this type of experience. But I have found out since that when telling people about it some have told me about their very own type experience, or they know of others who have had a similar experience.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I had heard the term NDE prior to my experience, but did not pay a whole lot of attention to it. I always considered my experience more of an out of body consciousness than a NDE, but since telling others they have told me what I have had was likely a NDE.

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 experienced was as real as sitting here typing this response!

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real What I experienced was definitely experienced by others to some or some varying degree, so there must be something to all this. We often view the world by our five senses, and consciousness is often reflective to stimuli from our five senses in how we view the world around us; so this 'other world' we experience is at least real to us who experience it. When this first happened to me, my biggest fear was how others may view me when I told them. That fear clung to me for quite some time. Now I no longer have that fear, as I have had the chance to meet others who also had NDE type experiences. I know I am not alone, and now that it is being studied and documented by an organization such as yours, I believe is a real good thing.

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? It was likely the most life changing event that ever happened to me. It changed my view of the world, that material wealth has less importance or relevance. Living life with love, compassion and spirituality is now the most important thing to me. Prior to my experience, I felt the value of a person was more by his works and wealth, and since that experience love is the most important aspect of human interaction with each other. If you do deeds or works with love, then one is aligned to the direction of their spiritual purpose.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think your organization is doing a wonderful job. Please keep up the good work.