As I sat up in bed, wet from sweat, shaking, and scared I realized I had that dream again, that unsettling feeling that something was very wrong.  I got up and made a hot cup of tea and sat on the couch in the dark reconciling the events that terrorized my dreams, remembering the day I died.

I don’t remember much about my hospital stay in the fall of 2000, but I can tell you it still haunts me.  I went in for a routine hysterectomy, which ended up far from routine.  There were complications and I died for almost 5 minutes, and to this day I’m not sure what happened.

A few days later the OR nurse that was in the operating room came in to see me, she proceeded to tell me that there were some complications and I had died.  She sat down next to my mom and began to tell me what happened.  A couple minutes into her story she paused noticing the confused look on my face and asked what’s wrong?  I told her I was confused and where was I, this was the first time in 3 days I was coherent enough for anyone to talk to me.

During the surgery, my heart freaked out for whatever reason, and the surgeon had given me 25 milligrams of morphine, before noticing allergy signs.  The doctor then had to immediately start life-saving protocol.  Once I was resuscitated the surgeon quickly finished up, I spent 10 minutes in recovery and was admitted.  As they were wheeling me to the room my mom and husband were brought back, later I find out the surgeon never spoke with my family, my family was in the outpatient waiting room, when the nurse told them there were some complications, that I had died on the table for almost 5 minutes, and I was being admitted.

I have no memory of dying like some people do, but I did go somewhere and something happened to me.  I started hiding in the daylight, I started to withdraw from those around me.  I started using stronger medication, in search of the place in my nightmares.  I’ve never been afraid to die, but I do fear to forget.

It was the morning after my first chemo treatment and I woke up screaming, sweating, and my stomach turns, it doesn’t just turn, it feels like that first step off the platform of a bungee jump, at first a little exciting until you find out what chemo has in store for you.  For a few moments I can remember the place I went, I remember feeling at ease to be awake, to be away from this place.  In an instant, I had jumped from the bed and spent the next several weeks in and out of the hospital in treatment.

I visit this place from time to time, terror-ridden I wake up happy to be back in my own bed but, I know I will go back one day and I not return.  Until that day I will share what I have learned.  I can’t say there’s a better place out there, or that there is really anything after we die, or even if there is a higher power and I really can’t say if anyone one person out there can truly say there is a heaven or hell.

I believe the brain is a very mysterious and powerful organ, to which we have no full comprehension of nor will we for quite some time.  I found my creativity, my love for words and writing, my imagination.  As I look around today, I see the beauty in the mundane, the music in the silence, the family in the friend, and the love through the pain.

The first day of my life was that day, 17 years ago, on an operating table, the day I died.  My demons still chase me in my nightmares, and I still run for one day they will catch me and I to will know the next place.


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