Sheila B.

Prior to this surgery my anxiety level was very high. I have had surgery in the past and had no fear of surgery. I continued with this surgery even though I was fearful. After surgery, I awoke in the recovery room. My blood pressure was 40/14. I am an ICU Registered Nurse (RN), so I knew I was in trouble. I heard my surgeon ordering a CT scan. I remember thinking that if I go for a CT scan that I will die. My thoughts were echoed aloud by the nurse on duty. He said that a CT scan would kill me. There were multiple anesthesia doctors around my stretcher. One doctor was palpating my abdomen and when he pushed on my lower right abdomen, I almost blacked out from the pain. This was where the blood was collecting. They placed a central line in my left chest, whereupon I felt the pressure but not the pain. Shortly after this, I heard a female say, ‘I don’t have a pulse.’ I moved my arm to let them know I was awake. I did not want CPR to be done while I was sort of awake.

I went unconscious, floated temporarily above my body, and saw the anesthesiologist rushing and calling for a surgeon. Then my vision was gone. Next, I was floating or swimming in soft, beautiful clouds and felt no pain. I was light with no gravity weighing me down. I’m not sure how to describe this but when I came to my destination, the music or sound was calming and wonderful and was not harsh noise. Upon arrival, I was escorted by my sister and we talked. Most of the conversation was that my sister was reminding me that my children needed me and that it was not my time to come here. My grandma and grandpa were there, along with all people I would expect. Then I saw a patient I had cared for on earth and held his hand as he passed over. My patient told me that I have much more to do and that I was to return and continue to touch people like I did for him. This for some reason made me believe in the reality of the experience. Then I was dropped back into my body.

When I reentered my body, I felt like I had fallen from the top of a high-rise building and landed on a concrete floor. I lost my breath. I was cognizant of the difference in the noise. I came from a place where the noise was not harsh to a place where everything, including the electrical sounds, was deafening. The lights were too bright, even with my eyes closed it was bright.

Later, the anesthesia doctor came by and ask if I wanted to talk. At the time, I was still processing the experience. I found out that while I had no pulse and was out of my body, it was screaming loudly enough that the surgery doctor in the operating room heard me as he was finishing the procedure. He was not only a doctor but also a friend. He did my surgery and I received 60 units of blood and multiple units of blood products. The doctor told me that if he had not known me, he would have quit after 20 minutes. But he kept going. He found the area of bleeding and grafted it. I have some minor lingering issues, but none that I can complain about.