During my triple bypass I experienced several medical complications and the procedure went terribly awry. Emergency labs were drawn and my hemoglobin was 4. [Editor’s Note: Normal hemoglobin ranges for women = 12-16 gm/dl.] My surgeons stated my heart was ‘floppy’ and they had an extremely difficult time taking me off heart/lung machine. Ultimately, my vessels were hooked up to me and I coded. The team was unable to restart my heart for nearly 25 minutes. They were unable to remove me from the heart/lung machine for approximately 20 minutes or so. I was told that I was 5 minutes from them calling off resuscitative efforts. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe my medical record shows that the procedure was longer than usual: 7 hours. During my triple bypass I recall vividly that I was lying on my own operating room table: separate from the surgical procedure that was occurring in another part of the same operating room suite.
I had an atypical OBE. I did not float over my body. Rather, I was on the same plane, as the surgical procedure that was occurring in a distant part of the operating room and I could see if I turned my head. I was totally disinterested in it. What I recall seeing when I did look was a table with surgical personnel encircling the table. The personnel were wearing the familiar blue surgical gowns and there was an operating room light. I did not connect that surgery with me. There was busy activity but no sound related to the surgical procedure behind me.
Where I was lying on my own operating room gurney, the room was dark and there was light but I am not sure of its source. My grandfather was present and I do not know if he was sitting or standing but he was next to my operating room table where I was lying and he held my hand. He appeared to be much younger and healthier than the frail man he was when he passed in 2003 at the age of 86. He told me I would be OK and he would wait with me. I had no glasses on and I am blind as a bat but I could see him and the surgery going on the other distant part of the operating room.
I recall that I was cold and covered by a sheet to my chest. I had three more deceased relatives visit. Two uncles who I was very close to, who had passed several years earlier, came to tease and annoy me as they did in life. I could not see them but I knew they were there and I could hear them but not through words: I still cannot describe that. I have tried for five years to describe the ‘knowing-ness of the presence that was not visible and the hearing without words’. It sounds outrageous. My grandfather who was usually very jovial was uncharacteristically serious and made my teasing uncles leave.
Subsequently, my father, who had passed two years earlier, and I had been estranged from for 15 years ‘showed up’. I could sense his reticence and nervousness in requesting to take my grandfather's place to wait with me. He communicated that desire to my grandfather and not to me and my grandfather ‘Papa’ asked me. I was extremely angry with my father for most of my life but ironically, I felt bad for him and did not want to hurt his feelings but I did not want him to wait with me. My grandfather, who likewise was angry with my father for being a classic dead beat, apologized to my father but assured him he would make sure I was okay and wait with me. My father was gone. I could sense him and hear his conversation with my grandfather the same way I could with my uncles. My grandfather reassured me that I would be okay; he stated he would ‘wait’ with me.
I recall nothing else until I was being intubated and I was excitedly telling everyone in the Intensive Care suite that I had been visited by my grandfather. It was the most vivid and lucid experience of my life. I was told three days later the problems with my resuscitative efforts.
Date NDE Occurred: June 2007
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related. Heart attack. While under general anesthesia. CPR given Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) ''Triple Bypass procedure that went terribly awry and I was on the heart lung machine for a prolonged period of time with a hemoglobin of 4 and then prolonged difficulties restarting my heart and multiple and prolong shocking of my heart.'
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: 'I was told three days later about this event. The doctors were not very detailed. The Directors of the Surgical Department, Radiology, a Radiologist, the Director of the Lab and Director of Nursing and ICU relayed to me what happened and then I looked
Did you feel separated from your body? No
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Out of body experience
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
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
The experience included: Darkness
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
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? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated My mother did not raise us in the church. However, both sides of her family were deeply puritanical New England, ""fire and brim stone"" Northern Baptist (nothing like Southern). Her paternal grandfather was a very scary God Fearing and strict Reverend from New Brunswick and then Maine. His father before him as well. My mother grew up to fear the church. I prayed when I was frightened. I would say that I wanted to believe but I always believed there was a higher power of some sort just based on the study of the human body and organisms. Those are miracle, particularly the manner in which the body heals. Science is not the antithesis of a higher being it is because of a higher being. Nonetheless, I never quite found my ""niche"" and I studied world religions and still never found any church that met my needs to I did not attend.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated I am desperately trying to find a place to worship that meets my needs and values at this time. I feel extremely conflicted that I have not done so since my NDE.
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 My knowledge of NDEs is largely based on the lay person's understanding of brilliant lights, tunnels, floating out of your body. It caused me great distress as my experience did not model that and I began recently doubting myself and my cardiologist sent me to a psychiatrist who said I lack purpose in my life and my NDE was a dream due to stress and the fact that I had other stressors and missed my grandfather but was due to drugs. The consistency was I knew there had to be more just based on the miracle of how the human body and life is constructed and the stars, geology, body's healing practices etc. It would be consistent that the person to come to me was Papa.
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
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? Yes I am no longer a fence sitter about life after death or the existence of God. I am no longer a skeptic although I do believe that this type event will draw out non experiencers who are not valid. I have discovered this in another forum. They make me as
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes What other reason would I have this experience?
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain I believe life is a training ground for how we will be treated in the after life. Many do not believe this. You cannot believe in good without believing in evil. You cannot believe in your higher being without believing in the antithesis. I hate the
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I knew all of these relatives were deceased and I knew I should not be visiting with them. I knew it was not a dream. When my relatives came to me, I knew there was more. I recall that without hesitation. I had some level of awareness that I was havin
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? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are 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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Uncertain But my life has been hell since so I do not know.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes When you die, you take your love with you and you are more forgiving and more loving. I was so touched that my family and my wonderful grandfather came to help me.
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? Yes No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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 more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience My total NDE that has been typed for the past hour. Dark OR Room, OBE, communication with dead relatives, knowing that my surgery was not going well, knowing that I was dead, worried about my grandfather's concern, the type of sensory communication and visitation I had with my relatives.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No