When I was 16 years old, in 1969, I was having an asthma attack.

There were several doctors in a small room "working on me" and I could see and hear them from the corner of the room. I can still see it today. The room itself seemed very bright; perhaps it was. I don't recall if I told anyone of this experience.

Then, when I was in an undergraduate class in 1976 we were assigned to read a book by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. It was then that I realized what I had experienced as a teenager was an "out-of-body experience."

I had a similar experience in 1980 while having a 5-hour surgery on my knee. Prior to the surgery, I explained to the anestesiologist that my insulin sensitivity was quite low and provided him with a sliding scale for insulin administration if my blood glucose was to rise over an acceptable level. During the surgery, I felt my blood glucose dropping and heard the voice of the surgeon questioning why my heart rate was rising and my BP dropping and, in my mind, I wanted to scream that my blood glucose was low. Finally, after feeling like I would die if no one realized what was happening, I heard the anesthesiologist say, "Damn, she was right; I gave her too much insulin." When he came to the recovery room to ask how I was, I asked him how low my blood glucose went and he turned white and left the room quickly.

I am an liscensed mental health counselor and a diabetes educator. I live with three chronic illnesses which I try to self-manage as well as possible. I remain gravely concerned when I need to place my care in anyone else's hands.