A friend of mine from across the Atlantic went to the hospital last night for a suspected Transient Ischemic Event/Attack (TIA), sometimes called a “mini stroke”. She had just recently flown over from Ireland to the US for spinal fusion surgery because medical resources are grossly insufficient near her, and last night was no exception it seems. She’s home now and in constant contact with her specialty surgeon here in the states, finally in a real bed after a miserable and terrifying night.
I’d been thinking lately about writing up my TIA and Near Death Experience (NDE), so I’ve taken this as a sign. In honor and support of Ms, here it is.
It was two years ago. March of 2015, I had my hip surgery, spent about six weeks resting and recovering, and then started physical therapy (PT) around the first week of May. I had been in PT for a few weeks, and I think it very well could have been a clot from surgery that dislodged with PT which caused the TIA. It might’ve also been from the spinal injury I had just a week or so before the TIA in mid-July. (That’s another story to post another time. I’ll write that one up soon. I’d put it off to avoid the anger I still have about it, but it’s time.)
Hubby was away on military orders for the spine injury but came home a week or so after, toward the end of June. Just a few days after he returned home, right near the beginning of August, he got to help me through my mini stroke. We were veged out in front of the TV, and it was late at night – eleven or twelve, somewhere in there – him on the couch and me in the recliner. Nothing remarkable was going on. I had no warning signs that something might be up, but then I’d just recently dislocated and fractured my spine and had been having a whole shit storm of neurological issues. That particular night, though, wasn’t unlike every night since the injury. I was in immense pain and not moving very well at all, but still mentally mostly fine aside from immense anger over how poorly I’d been treated in the emergency room when I went for my spine. (I’d been written off as “anxious”, and they wouldn’t even examine my spine.)
Out of nowhere, I sit up from laying back and tell Hubby, “Call your mom. You need to call your mom. Just do it.” Over and over, I just kept telling him to call his mom, which made absolutely no sense. It was way past her bedtime, and there was nothing we needed to talk to her about. I’m pretty sure we’d just spoken to her within the last day or so, too. Of course, he questioned me, trying to figure out what the fuck I was talking about, and I had no answer. It was all I could say. Nothing else came out.
Soon enough, he noticed me clutching my chest, and it hit him.
Being a combat medic and certified EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), he’d had training in how to handle strokes and TIAs. I bet he never thought he’d use that training on his wife.
As I start to go fuzzy, he comes over and lays his head on my chest to listen to my heartbeat. It was extremely fast, he says. Then, as he steps back to the couch to grab his phone so he can access the clock for help checking my heart rate, I slipped out of my body.
I wasn’t dead because my heart never stopped (as far as Hubby could tell, anyway), but I know I was not in my body. I was hovering behind and above us, watching everything from behind the chair. My head had turned to the right for some reason, away from Hubby. I remember wanting to turn to look at him and couldn’t. I couldn’t respond to him, either. I couldn’t move anything. He lifted my arm, and it dropped, limp, right back down. I knew I was still connected to my body even though I wasn’t in it, but no thought I had got translated into activity.
Then, instantaneously, I was gone. I shot out to the cosmos and watched the future of our planet unfold on that timeline. A soul-deep understanding of many things hit me in that moment, and I knew that what was happening for me was a timeline jump. I stepped out of one reality and into a parallel one where I did not actually die right there in that chair and traumatize my husband.
Out there, floating, I could feel the energy of stars all around me, but I could also feel the nothingness of space. The darkness of it, the vacuum, the stillness. I was simultaneously intangible and stellar, unable to see any physical part of myself but undoubtedly producing energy and light to be witnessed by my celestial kindred. Everything was millions of miles away, yet I knew I could just reach out and touch anything I wanted to.
The emptiness out there was like an illusion. I could see that it was there, but the physical reality didn’t match my perceived reality in that distance, as a concept, did not exist. There was connection between everything, and perceived distance was purely a human parameter within my programming that absolutely did not fit. Like a professional ball player with a screwdriver, there’s just no applicable scenario that warrants them having that tool. Movement happened at the speed of thought, and spatial separation was merely individuation. There was no real separateness within which there was any measurable distance.
Time was also gone. I watched celestial bodies move with the same speed and agility as if I’d been watching people at a park going about their activities. I know it was just an instant I was “gone”, but it was half a lifetime I spent hovering within the fabric of space-time, watching my former timeline play out for our entire planet. There was no sound, but I could feel movement and energy from things around me. There was no breathing, but I could feel substance permeating my being, mixing within, and more substance leaving me – and this was an “all over” sensation. There was no part of me that felt different from any other part at any point in that experience.
And then ‘out of nowhere’, I was slammed back into my body. The first thing I noticed was the sensation of tears on my face. My head was still turned to the right. I felt dense and heavy. Like waking from a nice afternoon nap, I opened my eyes feeling calm and thankful. I took a deep breath as I turned my head to look at Hubby, knowing if I told him what just happened he might not believe me, and if he did, it’d freak him out. So, instead, I told him I was feeling better and didn’t want to go to the ER.
Apparently, my heart was beating over 200 beats per minute, I learned afterward. Normal for adults is 60-100 beats per minute.
I remember him with his head on my chest. I remember him holding my wrist and watching his phone. I remember afterward just wanting to wrap myself in him and hide there forever. I also remember knowing that everything was going to be okay and that this life has a lot more in store for me than the previous version of it did.
Within a couple weeks, I got a new set of MRIs, and they showed no noticeable brain damage beyond the yet unmentioned cerebellar slumping (Chiari was there but never diagnosed). That was August 2015, and May 2016 is when I finally got my EDS diagnosis. The horrible ER trips, the incompetent doctors, the doctors who wrote me off as crazy instead of investigating, the TIA NDE that was totally avoidable had I found better doctors – I had genuinely been pushed to my breaking point. I’ve always been tenacious, but that moment reminded me of what I’d forgotten about myself, and so here I am, viciously intolerant of doctors who let their egos trump their care for me.
#typicalarrogantdoctors #notolerance #awarenessmatters #ignoranceisdeadly
If you’ve had a Near Death Experience, I just found this great resource site for NDEers: http://www.nderf.org/