Jack D.

When I was four years old, I climbed up the olive tree in my neighbor’s yard. The branch I was on broke and another branch that had been pruned at a sharp angle skewered my neck and ripped it open. If the tear had been three millimeters over, it would have ripped open a main vein in my neck. The neighbor, who was busy pruning the tree, saw the whole thing, picked me up, ran to my parents’ house, dropped me onto the front step and rang the bell. My father just happened to be standing next to the front door. He opened the door and asked what happened. The woman said, ‘I don’t know. I just found him on the ground like that.’ My mother also came to the door and screamed. My father picked me up and told my mother to drive because we were too far away for an ambulance because there was no clinic near enough at the time. I remember my mother swerving around cars and us coming to a HUGE intersection with the light being red. My father told my mother to drive through the red light. We went through and made it out safely on the other side with LOTS of honking. When we got to the hospital, my father ran inside with me. I can still remember the look of horror on the admitting nurse’s face and she directed us to an operating room. The doctor rushed in the room in his mask and scrubs. A few seconds after, my father put me onto the operating table. He brought the light up close to my neck and he must have stuck a needle in my neck or something sharp because I felt something stabbing me.

I was all of a sudden out. The next thing I know, I am traveling upwards in a tunnel-like on a road with lights opposite of each other at regular intervals. There was another light that I was traveling towards and I wanted to keep going. The lights that I saw at regular intervals came at me slowly, but for a long period of time. I say ‘period’ because time has no meaning there. I can’t explain what ‘time’ is like there. After a while, I slowed down and stopped traveling upwards. Then I started to fall backwards until I awoke. I was in a dark hospital ward in a straight- jacket in a crib. There was a huge plastic bubble over it to keep me from climbing out.

I also had 75 stitches in my four-year-old neck. The nurse came in and yelled at me to go back to sleep but I just kept crying.

Finally, I did fall back to sleep and I had another experience that I was climbing up through the hospital from floor to floor but instead of using the stairs I was climbing up ladder’s until I got to the last floor. I was not able to open the door because there was a padlock on it. I knew that that floor was my goal. I know this sounds somewhat hokey but a huge teddy bear next to the ladder told me that I couldn’t go through that door yet but that I would someday.