I am an Art Bell fan and listen to him while driving over the road every week. I enjoyed the show where you were a guest and it made me reflect on my experience. I did not have a scary experience, to the contrary, it made me realize that we are not human beings searching for a spiritual experience; we are powerful spiritual beings having a human experience...
In June of 1992 I had been married for 20 years. I had married my High School sweetheart and I truly loved her, but they say that love is blind. I do not know who "they" are, but it is true. I did not know at the time, but my wife was in the early stages of developing multiple personalities due to things that she experienced early in life and never dealt with.
I had found myself in an extremely abusive relationship, as a result, and was unknowingly truly miserable, but my love for her blinded me to what I was going through. I was going through a stressful time within the relationship, not being able to adjust to her multiple personalities and blamed myself for all that was going on and, thanks to her, thought she and my two daughters would be better off without me. I had all that I could take and started praying to God for him to take me from this hell on earth I had found myself in, and to allow the peace of death that Christ had promised within his teachings.
You have heard the old saying that "beware of what you pray for because your prayers may be answered?” In my case, it was the truth. It took him only three months of such prayers for him to answer them...
I came in from a trip one evening and, after eating supper, experienced tremendous heartburn. My oldest daughter, then fourteen, told me that my color was too pale and insisted that I go to the hospital! Then the next thing I knew, my wife jumped on the bandwagon. I had planned to go to bed that evening and have my wife wake me up at 7 am. The next morning, however, when she was going to get ready for work, I soon realized that I was not going to get any sleep at home, to be ready for a trip the next day, without allowing them to take me to the emergency room to be checked out.
Late that same evening I went through the emergency room and the doctor informed me that he was admitting me for tests to be run the next morning. I told him that I had to go on a run in the morning and really felt fine. Well, it was clear that I was outnumbered and gave in to his request.
I was taken to a private room around 1 am that morning. I was upset about the whole ordeal and just started watching TV. At 3am., the head nurse walked in and gave me hell for staying up and turned off my TV telling me that they would be in early morning to run tests and that I needed my rest. She also put a heart monitor on me saying that they were very busy and did not want to take the chance of overlooking anyone, then turned out the lights and told me to go to sleep. I just gave up and decided to go ahead and go to sleep. I knew I was headed for burnout, physically and emotionally, and it was even evident to others.
I have always been a Christian, being raised a Methodist, but I had not read anything that would have prepared me for my journey other than my spiritual beliefs.
During my sleep, I found myself engulfed in this tremendously bright light. First thought was that I needed to protect my eyes but quickly realized this was no ordinary light. There are no words in the human language to describe the feeling of warmth, belonging, peace, and especially love. Euphoria is a word that comes to mind, however, it still does no justice explaining the feeling. The word love does no justice either, for we think we know what love is, such as the love a mother has for a newborn child. Multiply that by thousands, and we might come close; if not, at least we would find ourselves headed in the right direction. Needless to say, I knew in an instant I was home and I did not want to leave! It saddened me being told that it was not my time for me to stay, that I still had a lot left to do, and that I would have to take care of my daughters. With him mentioning my daughters, I remembered the love I had for them and knew he was right. I was then told that when I opened my eyes, fear not, stay calm, do what the doctors want to do and you will be home in four days...
I awoke with the head nurse right in my face. Ordinarily, that would have really startled me knowing my background. But there was an overwhelming peace about me and I did not get excited even noticing that another nurse had been nailing me with lidocaine. Then all of a sudden a man came busting in the door with the electric paddle machine and they seemed to be experiencing an intense moment. I looked back at the head nurse and asked her if they were going to spank me with those paddles? She seemed shocked, then smiled and said no, you are being a good boy now...
At 6am., my heart went into arrhythmia and set off the alarm. By the time they had reached the door, I had already flat lined. The head nurse saved my life and even more amazing, especially to the doctors. I had no noticeable heart damage at all. Later the doctor said that in itself was somewhat of a miracle. He wrote it off to my having a strong heart and when I flat lined, the heart muscle must have cramped enough to pass blood through it for its protection. Of course, I had a strong suspicion as to what happened still remembering the dream, but was it a dream? I was trying to believe it was but things started happening to prove to me that I had experienced more than just a dream.
They rushed me into the Critical Care Unit to get me stable and did a catheterization to find two strange blockages. My front left artery was 85% blocked, my rear main artery was 95%blocked, but my right front was clear of any blockage. There was very little plaque in or around my heart and the arteries looked as if someone had tied them off with a very small string. The doctor stressed me to stay calm to keep me from going into another heart failure for he said that if I did survive another one, I would probably lose two thirds of my heart due to the blockages and would then have to undergo a heart transplant. To everyone's amazement, I stayed calm. As a matter of fact, I took it as a vacation and refused to do anything but find humor about the situation.
I feel that I could write a book on just my stay at the hospital for I was stabilized, then transferred to another hospital and underwent angioplasty. To make this long story short, I was released to go home four days after my dream. I have to say dream, for my wife became ballistic every time I referred to it as anything else. At the time, she was being unfaithful and starting to plan how she was going to divorce me and when I told her that I was told that I would have to take care of my girls, well, I guess she thought that God was on to her for, from then on, the hell intensified with me not knowing why.
Does the saga end there? No! A year later I had again got down almost in the same shape as before because my wife never let up. I was told that sometimes angioplasty takes a couple of times to fix the problem for it is normal for people to reblock in the affected area. Really quite common I have been told and I started feeling as before and knew I was blocking up again. I thought I only had to endure it for a while and I could go back to my spiritual home for I still felt I was in hell and knew no other way out. Well, almost a year to the day I had flat lined, we were at the lake and I was struck by lightening!
I was sitting in a folding chair next to the camper with my wife standing right behind me in the door of the camper when the lightening bolt hit the ground, branched out and struck me in my left hand, went through my chest and came out my right had and struck the picnic table. I lit up like a neon light but was only affected from above the waist to right below my jaw and blistered the tips of my fingers in the right hand. My wife almost had a nervous breakdown for she is deathly afraid of lightening and now, I must say that it definitely gets my attention.
But you would have thought that she was struck, not me, and I temporarily lost the use of my arms and was in great pain. After the third day recovering from the lightening, I felt like a million dollars and had to go back to the hospital for my heart doctor to do another catheterization to check the condition of my heart. He was amazed to find no plaque at all and saw very little scar tissue left from the previous operation. He could not explain the remarkable condition of my heart. My mother told me that the hand of God came down and cured me. I agreed, but from then on, I refused to let my wife get me down again for I love the outdoors and I do not want to displease Him again!
The so-called dream later made more sense. Two years later I was hit with a divorce at Christmas and my oldest daughter told me that it would be the best Christmas present I'll ever receive. You know, she was right!
She left with me and I finished raising her, now 21 and married, and I am still in the process of raising my youngest. By the way, three months after leaving because of the divorce, I was taken off of my stomach medicine and eight months later was taken off of my heart medicine with the doctor shaking his head saying that medication is no longer needed. Happy? Well, not completely, but I am satisfied with life now but still look forward to the day I am allowed to return home…
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.