I remember very little of the events leading up to the NDE/OBE, likely due to how young I was, how sick I was, and the fact that I was semi-conscious when I was taken into an operating room to have the spinal tap. I had not been given any anesthetic or painkillers, according to my mother. I had been given high doses of oral and IV antibiotics by my own doctor back in Stratford, before being taken by ambulance to hospital.
I remember being suddenly aware and lucid, after two days of being delirious and semi-conscious. I had no pain at all, which was a welcome change to the crushing head and neck pain associated with meningitis. I wasn't cold, stiff, or sore. My body felt very light, and I realized that I was moving upwards with no effort or intent on my part. I didn't feel scared, merely intensely curious as to where this was going. I remember feeling so good. So light. I felt euphoric and playful. I had energy that I hadn't ever had, but not in my normal, hyperactive way. Normally, excess energy made me feel antsy, anxious, irritated, silly, and out of control. I was totally in control, and this energy felt good and right. I wasn't feeling attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) energy. This was something else.
When I looked back down, I could see my own naked body on the hospital gurney, and the medical staff running around, working on me in what looked like a panic. One nurse called code, and within a few seconds, two more nurses ran into the room pushing a red toolbox on wheels. The crash cart.
The room was brightly lit, and had a high ceiling, but it looked to me like I was watching from far higher than the height of the ceiling, as if it had vanished completely or stretched far higher than it should be. The operating room's walls were painted yellow, and there were pipes running along the edges of the walls and ceiling, painted white. The ceiling was white too. There were yellow tiles on the walls, up to about shoulder level on an adult, and the floor was green linoleum. Large windows ran the length of one wall, and it was bright and sunny outside. There was a huge mirrored light on an adjustable metal arm mounted to the ceiling, and I remember looking at it and examining it. It was all chromed and reflective, but I could not see my own reflection in the chrome, even though I was right next to it. I remember thinking that was weird. There was dust on the tops of the pipes.
I looked back down, and watched the action below. There was a nurse with a scrub-cap printed with Tweety Bird up near my head, holding my shoulders and head, barking commands at the other nurses, working with the doctor, though I could not hear what she said. All sound was muted and distant, as if someone had turned the volume down on a TV set.
I saw another nurse wrench the crash cart's top-drawer open. She grabbed a mask with a bellows-like bag attached to it, which she handed to the Tweety Bird nurse. She had a plain blue scrub cap but her scrubs were green and she wore a white cardigan over them.
White Cardigan then opened another drawer and grabbed a little bottle out of one of the compartments inside. She stuck a needle into the lid and pulled liquid into the needle from the little bottle. She handed the needle to the doctor, who stuck it into my IV.
Tweety Bird attached a plastic tube to a green tank and opened the valve. She then put the mask part over my nose and mouth and began squeezing the bag. The doctor barked something at a nurse in a pink scrub cap and she began sticking things to my chest with bits of tape and clipping wires onto them. The wires led to a machine that printed out a long strip of paper, but I was too high to see what was on it. The doctor grabbed the end of this paper and studied it quickly, then barked another command to another nurse, who went to the red cart and filled another syringe with another little bottle. The contents of this went into my IV too.
The nurses and doctors were moving fast, but to me, they looked like they moved in slow motion. It was still hard to keep track of them because the room wasn't very big. There were now seven adults and me in there - the doctor, Tweety Bird Nurse, White Cardigan Nurse, a very short and tiny nurse with glasses, a heavyset nurse with Yogi and Boo-Boo Bear on her cap, an older nurse with glasses, in green scrubs, and the nurse that had come with me from the emergency room, in a standard white nurse uniform with a white skirt. They were all working together, but it looked chaotic to me.
Looking down at myself was strange. My skin looked grayish, and I wasn't moving. Given that I wasn't fond of being touched (I am autistic [though undiagnosed back then], and a few months before, I had been sexually assaulted by an uncle and was still processing the mental/emotional fall-out from that), it was odd that my body was not reacting. Had I been conscious, I would have been fighting them like a pint-sized tiger due to my dislike of touch. My body was being manhandled and I just didn't care. I didn't feel any of the normally irritating and painful sensations touch causes an autistic nervous system.
After watching the nurses and doctor work on me for a few minutes, I began to get a bit bored by that, and wanted to explore. I found that all I had to do was think about where I wanted to go, and there I went, with no effort. I moved toward the door to the hallway. I entered the hallway, and was looking around when I felt like I was pulled from behind. Everything went black.
I woke up a few hours later in an isolation room. My parents were wearing paper masks, paper gowns, and gloves, and were sitting beside my bed. The bed was a standard hospital bed, not a gurney, and I was dressed in red-striped hospital pajamas. There was a TV mounted to the wall in one corner. My favorite toy, a much loved plush frog named Hoppy, sat on the bedside table, beside a lamp.
I was very confused for a while. My body hurt like hell. My head throbbed, and my neck was stiff and sore to the point where I had to remain still. I must have gone back to sleep at that point, because I don't remember anything else from that day or the next few days. My memories pick up when one of the nurses brought in a tiny Christmas tree and set it on the table. I remember playing with my Matchbox cars on the bed, pretending the wrinkles in the blankets were roads, valleys, and hills.
A few days later, I had my first ghost experience. I was alone in my room and wanted to change the channel on the TV. The remote was a small box that was mounted to the wall under the TV, connected by a cord. I was too short to reach it and was getting upset.
A girl of about ten or eleven appeared in my room and asked me what I needed. I told her I wanted Scooby Doo. She changed the channel for me, and I got back into bed.
She was wearing a pale pink nightgown with lace at the collar and a darker pink fleece bathrobe open over it. She had sandy-brown hair worn in long braids at each side of her head. Pink ribbons were tied in them and one of them was undone and dangling. She smiled at me and then was gone. The odd part of that is that my room was an isolation room, and people had to punch in a combination in order to open my door. Only the doctors and nurses knew it. She was obviously another patient, who would not have had the combination, and I never saw her use the door. She was just there, and just gone.
I told my parents about her the next day. They told me I was dreaming because there was no girl who matched that description on my ward. I know I wasn't dreaming. I'd been awake, watching cartoons and playing with my cars, for hours.
Date NDE Occurred: ~ Nov-Dec 1980
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Other 'Crashed during a spinal tap, verified as bacterial spinal meningitis. No pulse, no respirations. Had been sick with it for two days by that point.'
I had bacterial spinal meningitis. I'd been having heavy febrile seizures, had stopped breathing once in my local hospital, once in the ambulance on the way to the hospital I was going to, and once in the emergency room at the destination hospital. At the time of the NDE, I had a spinal tap to verify whether it was meningitis and whether it was bacterial or viral. I crashed during the spinal tap.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? My level of awareness was the same from the moment I left my body to the moment I was hauled back into it.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time felt normal to me, but the people I was watching all moved in slow-motion.
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. I was much more aware of details than usual. I could see better, too - I'd been born with vision problems that had already caused me to have two eye surgeries before the age of four, and I wore glasses from the age of two onward. I was able to see clearly without my glasses, something I could not do normally.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It was like someone had turned the volume down. Sounds were muted, slow, and lower in pitch.
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? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
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? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Euphoria, playfulness, intense curiosity, happiness, feeling of 'rightness' and 'completeness', 'wholeness'. I wasn't feeling any of the nausea, dizziness, pain, stiffness, achiness, chills, or discomfort that I'd been feeling as part of the meningitis. I felt really good.
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
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
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? Liberal None. I was 4.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Liberal None. Atheist.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The scope of it - there just aren't words that fit the things I felt. Language is just not adequate, and the words we have for amazing things have all been weakened and washed out by overuse.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes A few days after, the ghost girl entered my isolation room and changed the channels on the TV for me, since I could not reach to do it myself. My room was an isolation room with a punch-code door that opened only with the right combination. The doctor and nurses were the only ones with the combination. My parents didn't have the combination either. I never saw the girl use the door. She just appeared in the room and then vanished from it. I didn't think that strange at the time. She was about ten or eleven, wore a pale pink nightie with lace at the collar, and a darker pink fleece bathrobe. She had sandy hair in braids. One of the ribbons in her braids was undone.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The whole event was so different and strange compared to my normal daily life that it all became quite significant to me. I find myself thinking back to that euphoric, light, intense sensation and wishing I could have it again. I find myself impatient with being stuck in a body sometimes - I have chronic back pain now, and it limits my physicality. I often wish for that free, light, unencumbered feeling.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes A few days after, once the antibiotics had killed the meningitis and I was mostly better. I told Mom. She didn't want to believe it and wrote it off as a dream until much, much later. Mom accepts that it happened now. I think it gives her some comfort, especially now that dad has passed away.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I was four, so I didn't think a great deal about it, other than knowing that it was more real than anything else I'd ever experienced before. More so even than my normal daily life.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I just know - I can't express it any better than that.
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? I have had more ghost encounters in my life. I often wonder if that experience caused me to become aware of them. I hadn't been before.