Katie V.

I had awoken from laprascopic surgery and was in recovery. I was told I was stable and when the room was ready that I would be moved. Suddenly, I started to crash. My blood pressure lowered, and I began to feel faint although I was still lying down. My husband came into the recovery room to comfort me. He knew something was wrong, but kept telling me that he loved me and trying to keep me calm. He told me later that he saw my heart rate increase and the doctors were trying to calm me. The doctors huddled around me quickly and tried to figure out what was wrong. They lowered my head even further on the table. My left side felt like it was on fire and my right side was freezing. I was told by the nurse that I would probably be spending the night in the intensive care unit. I was later told I was rapidly bleeding internally into my abdominal cavity. My husband later told me that my lips were clear and my skin was a grayish color, the color of a corpse.

At this point I was getting tunnel vision. The doctors called for the surgeon and hustled me back into the operating room for a second emergency surgery. As I was crossing the threshold into the operating room, I was very faint and everything was very far away. I didn’t have my contacts in my eyes my vision was blurry. To the left of my bed, I noticed a figure wearing white who had neck-length hair and a beard. I assumed he was wearing scrubs. I pointed to the person and asked if that was the surgeon. The nurses and doctors in the operating room told me that person was not the surgeon. That is the last thing I remember. My surgery lasted almost 2 hours after that, while doctors tried to stop the rapid bleeding.

During my experience, I felt the sensation of timelessness. I was pain free, which was the entire reason for my surgery in the first place. I felt calm, comforted, and at peace. I was not in pain. I was not alone and was not scared. I knew that I was leaving my husband and my two young children behind, but kept pressing onward. I was surrounded by darkness, but I wasn’t afraid. I did not see anyone who had died before me, but I did feel a presence that made me feel that I was not alone. I continued to press forward, but my thoughts kept coming back to my husband and children. I knew I had to fight for them. The next thing I knew, I awoke with a jolt.

I was hooked up to a ventilator in the intensive care unit. I have had five surgeries prior to this one, and never had anything like this under anesthesia. I have always woken up with a realization and knowing about what has happened to me. In this experience, I felt like I was ‘jolted’ back into my body and awoke having no idea what happened. I was then informed that I had 5 units of blood transfused into my body in the operating room, and continued to receive two addition units after that. I had nearly bled to death. It has taken me almost a year to process what happened to me.