During my triple bypass I experienced several medical complications and
the procedure went terribly awry. Emergency labs were drawn and my hemoglobin
was 4. 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 for
approximately 20 minutes or so. I was told 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 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 was 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 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 and 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 me and my grandfather "Papa" asked me. I was extremely angry at 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 so my grandfather (who likewise was angry with my father for being a classic dead beat) he apologized to my father but assured him he would make sure I was OK 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 OK and he stated he would "wait" with me. I recall nothing else until I was being intubated and I was excitedly telling everyone in the ICU 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.