Sept 22, 2017, my birthday, we went to the casino to get free lunch and free $25 to gamble. No luck. We went across the street to shop, and on my way out I trip and fall. Loma Linda hospital emergency room confirms an avulsion fracture of the right ankle--great! No dancing for me tonight. Oh well, go home and rest. C’est la vie.
Oct 4, 2017, massive pulmonary emboli (embolism) ……, deadly. Started to stroke out at work around 3 pm, when I was getting ready to leave. Symptoms in order: heavy feeling in the chest, sweating profusely, dizzy, couldn’t catch my breath, left side of body went numb head to toe, panic set in. EMTs arrived and kept telling me to catch my breath, but I couldn’t. I kept saying I couldn’t feel my left side--they kept thinking it was anxiety or asthma--assholes!
I was parked in the hallway at the hospital -- no rooms available. Finally rushed into a CT scan machine. I was told by doctor my oxygen was at 60% and dropping fast. They wanted to intubate me, but I said no and presented my DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) papers. “No tubes” I wrote on paper and said in between breaths--I was adamant! No tubes!!!
The three doctors looked worried and conferred. They told my sisters without intubation I was doomed, but they had one more alternative, a sleep apnea mask at full force--blowing air into my mouth and lungs. Meanwhile they would add TPA to my IV--a clot-buster that would break up the clot in my chest--with one vital side-effect possible: brain hemorrhage. I said OK and signed the papers.
I passed out and woke up hours later in ICU. I tore the mask off because my throat was so dry and I took a breath on my own. Good. The nurse came and said you must put that mask back on. I said, "No! Can I get a regular oxygen tube for my nose?" She complied, then called the doctor. I said, “Hey, look, I can breathe. Can I go home now and back to work tomorrow??” He said, “Well, wait a minute. How do you feel overall?” I said, “Well, I can breathe, but, oh wait!” I grabbed the back of my head and said, “I have a terrible headache!” “CT scan stat,” he ordered. Sure enough, a brain bleed in the back of my brain. Ok, so I wasn’t going home. Over the next 3 days I had a series of strokes, a total of 2 brain bleeds, 2 surgeries, one to insert an IVC filter because it was found I has hundreds of clots in my body and another to remove clots from the left side of my body that not even the TPA could break up and they were stuck in my limbs and I was still feeling numb.
NDE/OBE occurred during the 3rd stroke/2nd brain bleed. I was being wheeled to another emergency CT scan when I felt my body arch and all time suspended. I knew my body was below me, but I was entranced by the brightest sky-filled light I had ever seen, and at this point, due to the strokes and bleeds, I was having my room as dark as possible due to pain. But this light was beautiful and I also noticed I felt no pain for the first time in 3 days, and what a relief that was. I knew my body below had a tear falling from my right eye-in utter bliss-pure joy-and I felt calm and peaceful. I knew I was the form of an energy mass and I could sense murmuring from the light and shifting energy within it.
Then I began to panic and beg, please, “Yes I am ready,” I telepathically exclaimed. I am ready. I have earned my wings (a figure of speech). But I remained hovering below the light and I did not enter it like I wanted to, so badly. But just then I felt my energy zoom at the speed of light and reenter my body with an insulting jolt and I found myself being wheeled into the CT scan machine where it was confirmed another hemorrhage.
I was angered, to say the least. Why? I was ready. Why am I in excruciating pain again? Why is the light here so bright it hurts my eyes? I pulled the blanket over my head. Remembering that feeling, so sublime, beautiful, intense…then feeling rejected, mad, why not me? I deserved it! I longed for it. Unfair. Not right.
The doctor came in and I’m muttering I saw the light, and he smiled and said, “You have had 3 strokes and it is confirmed 2 brain hemorrhages. Just relax, your blood pressure has dropped. But you’re going to be OK.” OK? No, I’m not OK. I want the light. I want that place--that feeling. Not here. Please not here anymore.
But there was nothing I could do. The next day I noticed my arm was black and blue from where the BP cuff was and that combined with the blood thinners was taking its toll on my arm, so I ripped it off and showed the nurse. She placed it on my wrist after much complaining but couldn’t get a good reading. I could care less. I was still stuck here. On this place called earth.
I laid back and tried to conjure up that feeling again. Nothing else mattered but remembering that place, that experience. I will go back. I will find a way to recreate that feeling or I will just have to go back. But nothing here on earth comes even close. Not the greatest feeling or drug or drink or food or anything. Nothing even comes close. What was that place? For the next 2 years I would research and read everything I could find.
How funny that I was DNR and I was hooked to no machine. Saw no flat line. But I experienced the same thing that many people who have a recorded flat line did. Was it the lack of oxygen from the stroke? The hemorrhage? I don’t care! I want it and I want it now. Most days I’m patient and some days I’m anxious. I know there are ways to deprive oxygen to my brain. But I’m smart and wouldn’t want any lingering damage.
I was lucky. I have no noticeable damage. I do have some memory loss, aphasia, dyslexia, and mild hallucinations. But people say to look at me you can’t tell what I went through. But they didn’t know me before. I used to walk fast. Talk and think fast. Smart as a whip. Now I feel slow and the words don’t come to me as fast and I can’t always remember things. But people who knew me don’t all talk or see me anymore. And new people have no idea.
I talked about it a lot the first year and the second year I started keeping it to myself. No one seemed interested and maybe no one ever was. I’ve changed in that I don’t care much about anything but my son and new grandson. Who are my brightest lights here on earth. And anything else that goes wrong is like, I’ve had worse days. So, I just go along and live each day that I happen to wake up.
I’m on 18 medications. I eat what I want. I do what I want, which is not much since I developed CRPS out of the strokes and my damn ankle never healed properly and now never will. Oh well, I’m just waiting my turn. Meanwhile I will be as nice as I can and love my boys. Not take anything too seriously. It’s mostly all a joke--a bad joke at best.
I’m on facebook support groups and it bores me now all the God questions and religious ones. The light--it’s all about the light. No god, no religion. Lack of pain is what I still seek. Have sought my whole life. And it will come to me in due time. Meanwhile holding my grandson eases the pain and also seeing my son be a father. Those are my greatest joys now. I’ve been depressed my whole life but even that is a waste of time.
So, I look for the beauty in all the ugliness. The lotus flower in the mud if you will. And that is my life now. I used to live in a broken mind; now I live in a broken body and I disregard the dark things my mind conjures and I replace it with visions and memories of the light. Of rhythm and of love.