"The story of my Near Death Experience and the Birth of my Spirit Awakening"
September 16th 1989 is a day that I will never forget. I never dreamed that when I awoke that morning, it was going to change the course of my life forever.
I had been ill leading up to this day. Nothing very serious, but I just didn''t seem to be recovering as well as I thought I should.
My father and step-mother called in to see me after attending an Opera, as they knew that I was not doing very well. They both became concerned and called the Doctor who then in turn rang an ambulance immediately. I couldn''t see what all the fuss was, and really didn''t want to go, as I was worried about leaving my nine year old dog named "Bundy" alone in the house. We had not spent very much time away from one another, so as the ambulance sped to hospital my only real concern was for him.
Once I arrived at the hospital I spent a long time in Emergency, having many tests, those around me looking very concerned. Finally in the early hours of the morning I went up onto the Ward and spent a reasonable rest of what was left of the early morning. It was not until a few hours later, when the last thing I remember was my step-mother trying to encourage me to eat something. I declined and told her that all I wanted to do was to go to sleep. She bid me farewell and said that she and my father would return to see me soon. I drifted off to sleep.
If it had not been for a kind women in the bed opposite mine calling for help I would not be sitting in front of my computer now sharing my story with you.
I had suffered a respiratory arrest, I had totally stopped breathing on two occasions and had been resuscitated. It was during one of these episodes that I experienced my NDE (A Near Death Experience).
I vividly recall being held and drawn down a black tunnel very quickly going towards the beautiful sound of a choir of voices, not singing, but chanting in a melodic fashion over and over again, my name. I remember thinking and saying to myself and to the voices. "I am coming, I am coming". I still cannot find the words to describe the complete calmness and joy I felt. I knew my Mother and my beloved Grandfather were waiting for me at the end of that tunnel, they had died quite some years before. I was also aware of a very powerful force that was also making His presence felt. I was so happy, probably the happiest feeling I have experienced in my lifetime. Then suddenly without warning I was thrown back, hurtling away from where I wanted to go so very desperately.
It was then that I became aware of the medical staff around me shouting at me to swallow as they inserted the intubating tube down my throat, and the naso-gastro tube up my nose. I was thinking what are these people doing to me, they must have the wrong person. I could not find any physical way of communicating with these strange people. I did not know where I was or what was happening to me. I know now that at the point of death, or returning from the brink of death that the first sense to leave and return to you, is your sense of hearing.
My next awareness was waking up in Intensive Care attached to a life support machine which was breathing for me. Every part of my body had wires attached, tubes and intravenous lines were coming out of every conceivable orifice.
My prognosis was not promising. If I did survive the illness I was now being told at the tender age of thirty-four that the likelihood of my coming off life support was thought impossible.
During those first four weeks I tried so desperately to prove them wrong, that it was possible, that I would breathe again unaided, but my time was running out. One cannot be intubated for more than three weeks, so something had to be done and soon.
A very well known specialist was called in from a major Hospital in Melbourne which had a programme that specialized in ventilated dependent people. He came to see me and asked me what I wanted ton and what I wanted for my life. I remember writing down, as I was unable to speak because of the tube down my throat that I was only thirty-four years young and I wanted to live, that I still had a lot more living to do and that I wanted my life back.
He thought that I had a slim chance to come off the ventilator but thank God he agreed to accept me into his rehabilitation programme at the Respiratory Ward. However, before the move I had to agree to allow them to perform a tracheotomy. This is an operation to make an opening into the trachea through the skin and tissue of the neck just below the Adams apple. A small tube is then inserted through the incision to allow air to reach the lungs without passing through the mouth and upper air-ways, this in turn would be attached to a ventilator, which is like a pumping machine that forces the air via the tube into the lungs.
I was taken into theatre and the operation was performed, this procedure was not without its own drama. Unfortunately for me when they were performing the procedure not enough anesthetic was given, and I remember clearly them slitting my throat. I tried to move some part of my body to let them know that I was still awake. Thankfully I did pass out a couple of times. After I awoke in recovery I told them via writing on paper that I had felt all that had happened, and was told that I could not possibly have done so. The anesthetist came down to see me, and I wrote down on the paper all that they had said over me whilst they were performing the tracheotomy. He was totally shocked and apologized, but of course nothing could be done. Had I known then that the tracheotomy was going to be the easiest part of my recovery, and what an enormous struggle was awaiting me I may never have agreed to sign the consenting papers.
The next day I was subsequently transferred by Mica Ambulance (Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance). I will never forget the sound of the screaming siren as we made the trip to the Intensive Care Unit of the new Hospital. I had two ambulance officers, two intensive care nurses in the back with me, bagging me the entire way. Bagging is where they place a portable pump on the tracheotomy site and pump the air manually into my lungs.
I spent the next three months in ICU learning how to breathe again. For a very long time, when I became fully aware of my situation, I prayed that I would not survive and felt extremely angry that from my perspective I seemed to have no way out of this horrendous nightmare. It was too difficult. I could not see any hope. "Why did God send me back, why? Hadn''t God already given me enough to deal with, why this too?" I wanted to die. I thought about it constantly. Somehow, somewhere from deep within my spirit came a voice that told me, I had to keep fighting, I had to try.
Very very slowly minute at a time I began to fill my lungs with air on my own. One minute turned to two, two to five, five to ten and so on and so on. Only short bursts, but nevertheless I was breathing on my own. It was another couple of months before I could breathe unaided (still via the tracheotomy tube) for a couple of hours at a time. I describe the feeling of learning how to breathe again with what I perceive it would feel like to place a plastic bag over your head and being told to breathe, and to keep on breathing even though the oxygen is almost gone. Your whole body screams out for air. You almost thrash about trying to fill your lungs with that life sustaining air. So simple it is until you can''t!
I left ICU after four months, and breathing five hours at a time over the course of a day. I then entered the next phase of my recovery. I was admitted into the Rehabilitation Ward and was told that if I increased my breathing to between twelve and fourteen hours per day for no less than a week, that they would take out my tracheotomy tube and I then would be fitted for a French Nose Mask, a mask that would be made from silicon and would snuggly