I was aware that I was coming round from the operation. I began to hear the voices of the surgeon and staff first, and heard them say, 'Breathe Paul! Breathe!' I heard them saying that they would apply air via a tube but I was completely unable and unwilling to even try to breathe. My body was a dead weight, which seemed to have nothing to do with 'me'. What happened next seemed to me to last about an hour, although it was only seconds.
I felt that my mind was about four feet to the right of my head. I knew that I was still in the operating theatre, but I was no longer part of it. Suddenly, I felt as if someone was pushing me gently from behind. 'It's your turn,' said a voice and I was very surprised, as I'd had the impression that I was at the end of a long, long line of people (who I couldn't see but only sensed). The feeling was just like being sent to the front of the queue at a supermarket check in, I remember - pleasant surprise.
In front of me, I then saw a huge open rectangular doorway, completely black beyond. Around it, the operating theatre started to fade away and I approached the doorway. The feeling was one of utter peace. There was no pain, no worry. It was indescribable. The I saw the number forty-nine about three feet tall in front of me (my age then) and I said, 'Only forty-nine eh? I thought I'd have made it to at least to fifty!' and I laughed. I felt so happy, but then I remembered that my daughter was getting married the next summer, and that I was looking forward to receiving an award soon.
The voices of the theatre staff came back to me, and I was pulled violently back into my body, I started to feel pain in my throat as they pulled out the tube. I felt 'heavy' being back inside my body, and wanted to go back to where I'd been. I had a headache for two days afterwards and a feeling that I didn't really belong in this world, but that it was my duty to stay. The world seemed so grey, so heavy, almost 'dead' compared to my experience. It took me some days to get used to it all again! It was as if I'd been away for ages.
Date NDE Occurred: 10/10/02
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related Life threatening event, but not clinical death My throat closed up and I couldn't breathe.
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 was aware of my body lying there but didn't see it as I was looking elsewhere.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Explained above.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Everything was different, but the same. The 'here' and 'now' are one place. The same with time. It's all the same. There's no linear time. No space as we know it.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? The voices of the staff faded away, but there was no sound. I seemed to 'mind read' the words I heard and spoke.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Someone was behind me, guiding me, but I never saw them. They were neither male or female, it was just 'someone'. I cannot describe the voice, as it was not audible. I 'mind read' their words.
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see an unearthly light? No The opposite. I saw a blackness, but it was welcoming and not frightening. The way you like the dark if you have a migraine.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Described above.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Surprise then utter bliss. Complete indifference to what was happening to my body. Confusion and disappointment at coming back.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe There's a time for everything. A role for everyone. A reason for everything. The purpose of life is not just our own happiness.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I felt no power. Others had the power; I felt as if I was 'following orders' and was very happy to do so.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain Big open doorway, comforting soothing blackness beyond. No fear. I was going towards it, but came back.
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 didn't want to return to my body, but was forced.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The sudden change of feelings and the sense that time was dislocated. I was not dead but I was out of my body.
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 - bliss of being out of the body. Worst - being dragged back.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes The doctors said it's just a symptom of the anesthesia. Some friends were obviously nervous about it, didn't like to talk about death etc.! My daughter was scared too. No one seems to feel like I do about it all.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No Not since but BEFORE, when I was seven. During a tonsils operation, I could see the doctors and nurses working on my body as I hovered near the ceiling. I recalled that they wore green clothes (which they only wore in the theatre and which of course I'd never seen before).
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? If the person had had any similar experiences BEFORE the one they're relating.