Ever thought you were going to die?

I was thinking how in my 46 years I’ve never had a moment where I was convinced I was dead and truly thought it was over for me.

Any moments where you thought you were about to buy the farm?

I went white water rafting on the Zambezi and fell overboard. I spent at least 30 seconds underwater while twice doing the roll into a ball in hopes of popping to the surface. I popped up the third time, having traveled at least 100 meters underwater. I had enough time to think,“So this is what it’s like to die”.

Roughly thirty years ago I received a pretty serious concussion while skiing.

That wasn’t the moment I knew I was about to die - I have no memory of the incident that generated the concussion, nor of most of the rest of the evening.

But about a week later, after everything seemed to have healed up, I suddenly got this unbelievable headache that felt like pressure was mounting in my brain to the point that it was going to explode. There was no questioning what was going to happen - my head was going to explode and I knew I was going to die. My only complaint was why did I have to be in so much pain while it happened and why couldn’t I just die peacefully?

My wife found me folded over in the bathroom and rushed me to the hospital, where they administered pain relief. They told my wife that his sort of reaction was common about a week after a major concussion and that I’d be just fine.

But damn…

I was in a commercial basement when the ’95 Northridge quake hit. I was convinced that the structure above me was going to collapse into the basement. In fact, my “last words” were “oh, SHIT—I’m DEAD!”

I know I’m going to die. Probably not any time soon, though.

Yep! Was in a hotel in Sea-Tac, where I was bunking with several ship-mates as we waited for our paychecks from the last trip to come in. Someone had brought in crack, and I had tried it a couple of times, been bored, wrote it off.

I was alone in the room, the next day, when I had a sip of Snapple and for some reason started choking on it so hard I couldn’t breathe. This went on for quite some time, and I remember thinking very clearly that there was NO way in HELL I was going to die in a fucking crack-hotel!!! I was SO pissed at that, much more than the idea of dying itself.

Obviously I lived, but haven’t had a Snapple since, I can tell you that. (Or crack, lol)

Yes. Several times. Twice by drowning. Once in auto accident. Once when a notably unstable fellow pulled a gun on me. Once when I was caught atop the framework of an overhead suspension bridge I was painting during a very violent summer thunderstorm. During the events themselves, I was clearheaded. Afterwards, I was shakey and scared.

Yes. A few times. Once due to a heart attack, the other due to ex-attacks.

I’m not sure this is what you asking for, but I had a “near death experience” when I was a teenager and perhaps it doesn’t hurt sharing it. I wasn’t in the best shape (didn’t take drugs etc, but was quite at odds with life and things didn’t work out), but it happened out of the blue and I have not experienced anything like it before or after.

I was quite depressed at the time and honestly (as far as that goes) thought death was a fairly good alternative to life. That was my mental state at the time, though I managed everyday life, had friends and so forth.

Anyways, we probably had had a few beers and was at a café around midnight when I got the impulse I need to go. So I said to my friend, hey let’s go, got up and started to walk towards the door. I misjudged the distance to the door and sort of fell into it. I wasn’t drunk, and was very surprised, but kept my cool, slightly embarrassed, and opened it. Outside it was cold, it was winter. A few guys hanged around here outside too. I lost my balance and took a few steps and sort of ran into a parked car, straightened up and went, what the fuck is going on? I had the sense something real bad is coming down and I should not draw attention to myself when that happens.

The most important thing to me at this point in my life was to keep my cool and not make a fool out of myself, so like nothing particular was going on I walked down the street and stopped at the corner to see if my buddy was with me. I was going to sleep at his place. I saw him stand by the café chatting so I called out for him. Pretty uncool. But I just had the feeling something was going on and I really needed to get away, and I needed to not be alone. So once again, even though I sounded a little bit desperate, I called out for him again. Then I started to walk because I couldn’t just stand here because something bad and spectacular is about to happen and I don’t everybody to see.

So I walked through the park and seemingly for no particular reason I fell, slowly, like a feather. I lay there, watched the street lights, black sky, white snow, didn’t feel a thing, ears going beeeeep, except that I was going. I saw silhouttes approaching, both “grown” and “childlike”; they approached in a “wait a minute” way, is this supposed to happen? I couldn’t move because I was sort of outside of myself.

Suddendly my friend out of nowhere pulled me up. I hung on his shoulders as we walked. I felt a terrible sorrow. I said: “I was about to die.” He said: “I know, you said, 'Grab my hand, or I’ll die.” I had no memory of doing that.

At his place I was so cold, I lay by the heater with all the blankets, clothes, everything I could reach over me. I felt like I was the loneliest person on earth, I felt like I was on the moon, just shaking with cold and feeling this profound sorrow. I thought: “Has it come to this, just… death…?”

Then I realised I didn’t want to die. I want to be among the living; death scared me. The experience turned out to be a turning point in You Melodramatic Wakinyan’s life.

What I’m really curious about because ive never experienced it is what does it feel like the day after your were convinced you were dead.

When I was 15 I went snorkeling in the Red Sea. We were given a pre-swim lecture about the dangers, one of which was being stung by a Stonefish. We were told that the sting is incredibly painful, and that you could die in a matter of minutes. We were also told that if there was a problem in the water and you needed to be rescued, you should just be calm and not fight the rescuer.

Shortly after we started snorkeling, we were bashed by a huge wave that washed us into the rocks. I was stung by something incredibly painful. Of course at that moment, I was convinced that it was a stonefish and and that I was going to die. I immediately forgot the whole part about being calm, and had to be rescued in a state of absolute flailing panic, fighting my rescuer all the way. As it turned out, a group of us had been stung by fire coral, which is painful but not dangerous.

The only real epiphany or lesson that I learned from this incident was that as much as I’d like to believe that I would be calm and clearheaded in a moment of crisis, I probably will completely panic, forget everything I was told, and behave like an idiot. In my defense, I was only 15 then, and maybe I’ve matured since.

About six years or so ago, I woke up with what I thought was intestional gas. I made a quick stop by the grocery store on the way to work to pick up some GasX; however, over the course of the morning, the pain in my lower abdomen got progressively worse, until I called my doctor for an appointment at his office. A good friend of mine drove me to the doctor’s, where he said, “I don’t think it’s appendicitis, but let’s get some bloodwork and a CT scan to make sure.” Off I went to the hospital for a CT scan and bloodwork. CT scan didn’t show anything, least of all appendicitis, so (still in pain), I was sent home.

Immediately upon walking through my front door, my phone rang. It was my doctor telling me that my white blood count (from the bloodwork done earlier) was through the roof, that there was obviously an infection somewhere, that I should go to the ER and he would call to instruct them to start me on antibiodics. By then, my friend had gone, so I drove myself to the ER.

Once there, they did an ultrasound and discovered that I had a huge tumor in my abdomen as a result of (unknown until then) endrometrosis that had ruptured (which was causing the pain) and I was slowly bleeding internally, my belly filling with blood. They got me into surgery very quickly for a complete hysterectomy. I discovered later that I’d lost a LOT of blood and they actually had started a second IV line when I was in surgery.

Throughout all this, I was pretty calm. I remember laying on the gurney, waiting for the Hallkids to get to the hospital and thinking, “Okay, I’m going to die, but everyone will be fine. They’ll be sad, but they’ll be fine.” Very weirdly calm.

When I was in the pre-op, there was a guy in the bed across from me, waiting to go into surgery, who was talking with his surgeon (not my surgeon). The surgeon said to his patient, “I’ll see you on the other side.” :eek: My mom and I just looked at each other in surprise.

Oh, I never went back to the original doctor. His very casual advice “go ahead home, since nothing showed up on the CT scan, and we’ll try to get you in to seen an internist” when I was in a fair amount of pain and there was such a serious problem caused me to lose faith in his medical abilities. To top it off, his office called me TWO WEEKS later to schedule an appointment with an internist. I told them that the surgeon in the ER had taken care of my internal bleeding and that I was no longer in need of an appointment with an internist.

Whitewater kayaking, I got pushed against a huge undercut boulder, flipped upstream and then washed way back into the undercut where it was dark and cold. My last thought as I went under was “Wow, so this is how it ends then, eh?” I think I kept my cool pretty well, I decided to stay in the boat as long as it kept moving. Then it abruptly stopped and I bailed and pushed off the rock to get back into the strong current. Took about three pushes but suddenly I was back in the light and air! Somehow my boat got free and actually came out before I did.
My companions saw it happen and were pretty sure I was a goner. Total time under water was maybe (I’m guessing) 30-45 seconds but seemed like an 30-45 minutes while it was happening.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I was kind of embarrassed.

Yes. My stomach perforated and I was convinced I would not live through the ordeal. And indeed, according the surgeon, he wasn’t sure either. Even after I was off the operating table, I was convinced for weeks that I would not leave the hospital.

When I was about 20 years old, I was driving across Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state. It’s a mountain pass, but this was in May, so I wasn’t concerned that my car had crappy tires. But a freak snowstorm came out of nowhere, and as I rounded a curve at about 60 MPH, I realized that the tires had completely lost their grip, and the car was moving sideways toward the flimsy, rusty guardrail, and that those thin green things that I saw on the other side of the guardrail were the tops of very tall trees that were growing at the bottom of the sheer cliff just off the edge of the highway.

It wasn’t exactly like they say, where your whole life flashes before your eyes, but it did seem like an incredibly long time passed over an interval of what couldn’t have been more than a second or so. I definitely had time to realize that even if I survived, it might be days before I was found.

And then I slammed sideways into a concrete barrier and stopped right there. The barrier ended no more than six feet from where I hit, and then the rusty guardrail began. I got out and looked over the edge, and yup, it was a long way down, and my green car would have been very difficult to see in the lush forest below.

The side of the car was bashed in, but there was no damage to anything mechanical, so I was able to start it back up and drive off, proceeding very, very carefully. I seem to recall it had a profound effect on my attitude toward life, which lasted for a couple of weeks, but I can’t remember what it was now.

But I can see that guard rail coming at me like it was yesterday.

Mortar attack, 1968, Vietnam. Shrapnel flying everywhere, ground bouncing, everybody yelling. Scariest moments of my life.

Before that, in a small boat that hit a sweep on a small river in Alaska when I was about 15. As I literally hung on to the deadfall log with my fingertips, I really thought I was going to be swept away and drowned. My friend saved my life that day.

I’ve had close class. Not necessarily on death’s door, but VERY serious illness.

Interesting about how many people felt that in near-drowns which makes my story redundant.

A non-fisherperson and I were in Nova Scotia in a large pond. In a canoe. I’m like for fuck’s sake yeah it’s pretty but I just want to throw my line already goddamn you.

Ahem. I stood up to cast.

Ahem. I was wearing a foam cervical collar. (Think big fat fast-acting sponge around my neck.)

Ahem. The boat turned over. I’m saying the obvious for people who may not know this–that it is is not wise to stand up in a canoe.

I’m being sucked under. I’m drowning. The collar becomes an 80 lb. weight around my neck. This is it. I can’t swim to surface. I’m trying to rip the collar off which I did.

I got to the surface. And then stood up in what was about 3’ feet of water…

I was fading in and out in the emergency room and the doctor shook me awake and said, “Were you trying to kill yourself?”


“Well, you might have succeeded. Do you understand that?”

“Uh huh.” I was so totally okay with that. I was glad it was out of my hands.

Fade to black and woke up 2 days later clawing at the ventilator tubing.