Nothingness Near Death Experience

In 2008, I was 55 years old and had suddenly developed severe, progressive muscle weakness starting in my legs and moving up to my arms. I could not stand more than a minute or take more than five steps unaided. I had every known blood test, x-ray, spinal tap and muscle biopsies. Many of the tests came back abnormal, but did not point to one particular disease. It even began to weaken my breathing and swallowing.

What came next turned a mystery into a nightmare when the pain started. My legs, knees, ankles and hips were excruciating, as was my back. I had always been a very physically fit person, even hiking long stretches of the Appalachian Trail and back packing into the back woods of Yellowstone just the summer before. I had gone to bed one night in 2/08 and woke up with the worst pain I can ever imagine having. My left foot looked totally normal, but the pain was nerve pain that felt as if I were being tortured by crushing and mangling my foot, coupled with electric shocks felt throughout my whole body.

I was not sure that I wanted to continue living, but stayed at my medical treatment until they found a drug that seemed to bring the pain down from a ten down to about a three. I didn't expect to be pain free, just functional. The weakness continued, as it does today, with no real improvement or explanation. The wonder drug they started me on, Lyrica, was a miracle. Then, about 16 weeks later I took my medications as always. The last thing I can remember was sitting on my bed to make a phone call.

My husband, by serendipity, had taken his first and only CPR course just three days earlier. He came home that evening and found me blue, barely breathing with no pulse that he could find. He dialed 911, and started CPR until the paramedics came and scooped me into the ambulance. They continued CPR the next 20 minutes until I got to the hospital. I had no spontaneous respiration or cardiac activity. This continued for another five minutes, while the doctors and my husband were debating whether they should discontinue trying to revive me. Right before they decided to call it quits, my heart rhythm steadied, but I did not start breathing on my own. My husband was devastated and knew I would not want to be on machines, but my daughter lived 2000 miles away and my family would want to say good-bye. My brother had passed away suddenly the year before, and he wanted my mother to be with me one more time.

I was taken to ICU and kept "comfortable" for the next four days where my husband, Dick, stayed, hoping that everyone would get there in time as my heart, kidneys and liver were failing. He finally went home for a few hours sleep and to take care of some arrangements. After he left, in six hours my vital signs strengthened. I began breathing on my own, and I "woke up" slowly. My first thought after opening my eyes was that I had been abducted by aliens. I had tubes in every orifice and was laying on a hard bed with windows all around me. They had put a gel in my eyes to keep them moist, so my vision was hazy. Also, unfortunately for me, I could not understand a word that came out of this small, odd-looking man's mouth. It wasn't until about an hour later, when the night hospital supervisor came in and told me where I was. The small, odd man, it turns out, was my nurse. A Japanese man with glasses, who spoke with a very heavy-accented English. The saddest part, of all this, is no one had bothered to call my husband and let him know I was awake and improving. He came in several hours later after seeing the funeral home about my cremation. His shock and joy at seeing me awake and alert was heart breaking.

All in all, I was dead for almost four minutes the first time and a total of ten minutes during the first two hours. Except for some short term memory problems and some left-sided weakness that is resolving, I am almost back to my weak, painful self. The pain when I woke and for the next five weeks almost made me wish no one had revived me. It turned out that the wonder drug that had lowered the pain had interacted with several of the other drugs I was on, having slowed, then stopped my breathing. I should have never been put on this drug. All my doctors and my pharmacist knew every one of my medications, and never caught it. As a matter of fact, I was sent home from the hospital four days later, still on all the same medications. I saved my own life by going on-line and researching it myself.

Now, I know you have been waiting for the near death experience, but the truth is I remember nothing. I saw no tunnel, or family members. There was no sense of time passing. I never heard anyone talking to me. I was as dead as anyone who died and lived to talk about it. Why didn't I get the magic, carpet ride some people talk about? I believe mostly, because there was no drama about it. I fell asleep, and didn't wake up.

I have no fear, or apprehension of death. I was somewhere before I was here, and I will be somewhere after, or not at all. It's OK for me to have skipped the reassurance of a next life. I think somehow I just didn't need it, so I didn't get it. Also, seeing as I saw nothing fearful, I do not fear. It would have been an interesting experience, I guess. Something to tell my family. Maybe, next time. - SLS