Experience Description

I was in the hospital for outpatient surgery on my toe. I was (am) in good health and no problems were anticipated.

During my recovery, when the breathing tube was removed, I was not able to breathe. When I had woken up, the recovery nurse was very close to my ear, telling me to breathe. I tried to tell her that I couldn't breathe, but no sound came out. She kept telling me to breathe and I kept trying to tell her that breathing was not possible.

In my head, I started yelling at the nurse, telling her that if I COULD breathe, I WOULD and STOP telling me to breathe. Then it occurred to me that I was going to die, and I thought, 'This can't be happening. I'm not ready, and my daughter is waiting in recovery. I can't die over a silly little toe procedure.' It struck me as ironic, and at the same time aggravating, that this was happening to me, and that these people seemed like a bunch of idiots - especially the nurse who was getting on my nerves with her insistence that I breathe. Why couldn't she tell that I was struggling to breathe, but it just wasn't working?

Soon after, my legs started shaking and then my whole body. I wondered why my body was bouncing around, but it didn't hurt and it was a pleasant distraction. Suddenly I was aware that I was looking down on my body - but I could also feel. I saw it (my body) bouncing, and it felt like I was on a washing machine and that something else was bouncing me around. So, now I'm somewhere around the ceiling looking down at my body on the table. That was when I noticed all the people in the room. They were doing things quickly, crowding around the table and me. A guy went to the speaker on the wall and said, 'Code red!' and then called for my chest x-rays. From my place near the ceiling, I answered him. I told him that they didn't have my chest x-rays, because they hadn't taken any. But he did not appear to hear me. After that, everything went black. I woke up while being transferred to a hospital room, and I was back in my body again. I had a breathing tube in my nose, and a nurse gave me a breathing thing that I had to blow into every so-many minutes. They kept me there the remainder of the day and night, but released me once the machine said that my respiration was high enough.

I've told my story to my family and to anyone else who is interested. I've told them that if they are in a situation where they cannot breathe, the best thing to do is to try not to struggle and to just let go. Once you let go, it's easy. No pain or bad feelings. I used to fear drowning; always assuming it was the worst way to die. I know now that it is not. Death is not scary. It's not even painful at all. Everything feels good and right once you let it happen.

Background Information:

Gender: Female

Date NDE Occurred: 2004

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)

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 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? Normal consciousness and alertness When I floated to the ceiling and watched what was going on.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I floated to the ceiling and watched what was going on.

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

Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid

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? First I felt panic, then irritation, then giddiness, and then intense interest in what was happening to my body. Concern for my children was always there.

Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness

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

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No

What is your religion now? Liberal

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? No

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? The calmness I felt after I let go and let it happen.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes As soon as I woke up in my hospital room, I told my daughter what happened.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read about NDEs before, but had no firm beliefs either way.

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I viewed it as an opportunity to learn that death is not painful, and that drowning, or not being able to breathe, is not as bad as it sounds.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No