Toni O's ADC

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Experience description:

I was working in the ICU unit of Deaconess on the night shift.  I was relatively new in ICU (my first year). Unfortunately, I was the most experienced nurse on duty!  I received a patient from our sister unit (SICU) who was in V-Tach and though she was defibrillated, she was unable to keep a normal rhythm for very long.  The cardiologist had decided to put in a pacemaker to override the fast ventricular rhythm. There were many complications, the patient was intubated, but was very alert throughout.  After all that could be done was done, the Dr. left.

I defibrillated this patient multiple times. After the 17th defibrillation in the 25 minutes since the Dr. had left, the patient ask me to please stop.  We did not have a DNR order and I told her I needed to call the Dr. to get the order and I needed to go and get her sister and brother-in-law from the waiting room. I told her she needed to keep her heart in a normal rhythm long enough for me to leave the bedside and accomplish these tasks and could she do that. She nodded that she understood and that she could do it.  I called the Dr., explained what had transpired since he left and the patient's. expressed wishes to stop all medical intervention.  I got the "Do Not Resuscitate" order and proceeded to the waiting area to inform the patient's family.  The family and I returned to the patient's bedside, she had stayed in a normal heart rhythm the entire time. Longer than any time since arriving in our unit.  She motioned me to the left side of her bed, her family to the right side of her bed, held our hands, smiled, let her family know she loved them but was done with this and went into V-Tach, then a systole (no heart beat).  Her family was satisfied with her decision but tearful. I was the same way. 

I was certainly moved by the experience and trying to sort out my feelings.  I returned to work the following night still feeling a little sad and unsettled. I went home and went to bed as always.  I began to dream that 2 surgeons had removed her legs so her heart wouldn't have to work so hard.  I was terribly upset by this.  The patient was lying legless on a gurney.  She ask me to carry her to the unit and place her on the heart monitor.  I did so. Instead of the usual heart rhythm on the monitor she showed me stars and planets whirling around that were unrecognizable to me.  I saw beings (I just knew they were souls) that just were an almost opaque light, gauzy, floating through space. All colors, all pastel.  I understood that she was making the point that we leave here for a continued existence in a beautiful space without the troubles of this planet and our bodies, that letting her go was more than just right, it was a gift.  I don't know how long this went on, but as soon as she left, the monitor went blank and I sat straight up in bed fully awake and aware and awed by the experience.

Was this experience difficult to express in words?          Yes


The experience was not of anything we have concepts for and not within the realm of normal daily life.

Did you ONLY sense an awareness of presence of the deceased without actually seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling them?          No

Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased?          Yes

            Describe what you heard, how clearly you heard it and what was communicated:   I picked up her physical albeit altered body off the gurney.  I knew from the beginning that I was with her

            Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally or outside of you, inside you, or did you not hear a voice or sound, but had a sense of knowing what was communicated?  I had a knowing what she was communicating, no words, and not exactly inside me either. In a way, it was external but not exactly

            Is there any possibility what you heard was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?           No.

            Was there any possible impairment to your hearing at the time of the experience?   No

Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased?            Uncertain, I did pick her up but don't recall any particular sensation except even without legs she was a little heavy

            Was the touch familiar or unfamiliar?   Familiar in a nursing context, not a personal one/

            Was anything communicated by the touch?  Not really

            Is there any possibility what you felt was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?  No

Did you see the deceased?         Yes

No difference from the way she had appeared except, no legs!

            How clearly did the deceased appear?            Solid

            How much of the deceased did you see?       All that was left!

            Did the deceased appear or not appear to be the age at which they died?       Same appearance.

            How healthy did the deceased appear to be?            No distress noted.

            Is there any possibility what you saw was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?           No

Did you smell a distinct smell, scent, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased?      No

How long did the experience last?        I really don't have a clue

Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden?         It started abruptly and ended abruptly

Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased?           Yes

She was at peace and wanting to communicate that.  There was much more than that though as it was so profound. I really can't do a better job at the description

Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know?  She showed me someplace I had never seen before. A different universe even.

How do you currently view the reality of your experience?           Experience was probably real

            Please explain why you view the reality of your experience as real or not real:          It was incredibly powerful, and the memory hasn't faded in all these years

            Was the experience dream like in any way?   Yes

It certainly started out dreamlike in that these surgeons had cut off her legs. I knew that that hadn't really happened.

Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience:           I was wonder struck

Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience?           Yes

I had glimpsed where she was and felt very pleased that I was able to facilitate and be present for her transition

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      The best part was seeing and sensing the beauty and wonder of it all.  The worst part was having the experience minimized to emotional discharge.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         No

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   Uncertain

I had a basic belief that life is not limited to the small amount of years we call life. All that work for so little time didn't make sense to me.

Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.?            Uncertain

I have been present for many descriptions of places and things that are not explainable, provable.

Death Compacts are when two or more living people promise among themselves that whoever dies first will try to contact the other(s).  Have you ever made such a compact?        Yes

Yes, I had a Hospice patient that said she would try to contact me after she died.  I ask her how I would know it was her.  She said she didn't know but she would think of something

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          No

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            Joy, elation, wonder

Was the experience witnessed or experienced by others?           No

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   Yes

I had no sense of time.  I have no idea how long the experience was.

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    Uncertain

I had a definite knowing that this is her experience of the state we call death.

Did you meet or see any other beings other than the deceased?            Yes

I saw lights floating that I knew to be others.

Did you see a light?           Yes, Only as related above

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes

I initially told my roommate.  She was open and affirming.  I then told a Dr. at work and he said it was the result of an extremely emotional experience.

Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site?   No

 Is there anything else you would like to add regarding your experience?       No

Were there any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?            No

I had just worked from 7PM-7AM

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No 

Did you ever in your life have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual event?           No 

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes, I had all the room I needed to tell the story.

Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire.    Great questionnaire. Thank you.