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My Visit With God

After many failed attempts to begin this story, it suddenly dawned on me that I was missing an introduction for this account. Before I embark on my rendition of how these events occurred in my life, there are a few details I need to First and foremost what I am about to relay in this accounting is entirely accurate and true to the best of my recollection. Nothing has been embellished upon for the sake of added entertainment or I accept that many who read this story will continue to maintain that the following events occurred following an unusual dream sequence or are just pure fabrication on To these persons I hope that after reading the details of this account you will at least afford me the probability that this story did occur as it has been written.

Before my somewhat amazing experience I must admit to my own skepticism in regards to "Out Of Body Experience" stories that I had Like many other I too had read about the travel through a long dark tunnel with bright lights at I had half heartily listened to people talk about floating over their own prone and lifeless bodies as they entered into a I am afraid that if this is what you are expecting to hear from me I am going to have to disappoint you in While my story is somewhat similar it doesn't contain any of these fascinating events. The details of this story are just as I remember them following a surgery to repair my implanted Dorsal Column Stimulator.

This was about the third time that I had been admitted to
*Hospital to have my dorsal column While I impatientlywaited in the holding area for my room to be prepared for me I wondered if this might possibly be the last time that I would have to undergo this If I had known what was about to take place I feel that I might have lingered upon this thought for just a short while longer. While waiting I tried to prepare my mind and heart for the painful procedure that I was about to face once again this year.

After being admitted to my room I started to feel that things might just be begining to start looking up For once in a long while, I had finally managed to secure a room in the much coveted neurosurgery step down unit. I refer to this particular section of the hospital as being "much coveted" because in this wing of private rooms each 4 persons are assigned to one nurse' This might not sound like a very important thing but following this type of extremely painful surgery the one on one care you receive here is a The past few times that I had been here for the same procedure this section had been full and I had been assigned to the regular The post op care that I had received in the other area had However, there was no comparison to the care here on the step So began an experience that I would never forget until my dying day.

Although I was elated concerning my room assignment, things started to gradually decline from At home I had been using a portable morphine pump to administer my Upon admission to this hospital I was informed that I would be required to use their equipment instead of the one that I was currently using for This was the beginning of what was to become one of my worst nightmares as well as one of my best experiences here at Jefferson. The nurses were unable to properly connect my equipment to the hospital pump so all during that first night the morphine was constantly leaking and my pain level had abounded off the scale. I tried to explain to the nurses on duty that I was positive that I wasn't receiving the correct amount of medication. However, they claimed that the increased pain was just due to my being nervous about the upcoming procedure that was scheduled for the next day. Although I was sure that they were wrong about the medication I had no alternative measures at my disposal. So needless to say I spent a very painful and sleepless night prior to my surgery.

The surgery had been scheduled for 10:00 am the following morning. When Gary, my husband, left the night before he assured me that he would be here long before the scheduled time for the surgery. We had always spent the last few minutes prior to all my previous surgeries together in prayer. Upon being awakened around 5:00 am I discovered that the surgery time had been bumped up and was now scheduled for 8:00 am instead of the original time of 10:00 am. Immediately I tried to reach Gary at his motel room to make him aware of the time change. Each time that I called there was no answer.

As it was quite early in the morning I couldn't figure out where he could possibly be at that time. Shortly it dawned on me that he had probably gotten ready early and had gone for breakfast and was planning to surprise me with and early morning visit. From where I was lying I discovered that he most likely would be the recipient of that "surprise" once he arrived and found that I had already been taken to surgery. The nurses were so kind and caring since they knew just how much this last time together meant to the both of us that they did everything in their power to delay my departure. Finally, after they had exhausted all of their stalling tactics I had to leave for the surgery holding area without first seeing Gary and telling him our usual "Goodbye and I love you." As they rolled me down the corridor the tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. Of course the other nurses figured that my tears were due to fear of the impending surgery. They had no way to know of our usual pre- op ritual and how much that always meant to the both of us. The nurse promised that if Gary were to arrive while I was still in the holding area that she would bring him down so that we could at least say our usual prayers and good-byes. As you have probably already figured out that was not to take place this day.

As I lay alone and fearful in the holding area I deemed that there had already been two things that had gone wrong and I had yet to even enter the operating theater. First the morphine pump wasn't working correctly and now Gary hadn't managed to arrive before the scheduled surgery. For the first time since I had met Dr.
* and put my life in his and the Lord's hands I was sincerely scared. Dr.* arrived shortly thereafter and when he noticed the dried tears immediately started to soothe me. Dr.* is one of the best neurosurgeons on the East Coast and probably in the entire United States. The Dr.* that I know and deeply care for is a kind, loving and sweet individual whom I have come to love as well as respect. He is always at the side of his patient immediately before surgery and walks those last steps to the OR with them. After he gently helps me onto the table he then reaches down kisses my cheek and tells me that he loves me. When this man tells a patient that he loves them he means that he really cares about them and what happens to them. I have nothing but the deepest respect for this talented and wonderful person. He has seen me through many a difficult surgery as this one was about to become also.

Since I had undergone this same procedure about four times previously I knew the routine as well as the staff. I knew that upon waking I would feel a bone chilling cold and experience great pain but that the nurses would be by my side to administer pain killing drugs as I needed them. However, this time would be quite different from the previous surgeries.

Although I was unable to open my eyes, I was aware that I was indeed in the recovery room. I also realized that the endotracheal tube was still in place so that was the reason I was unable to communicate verbally to the nurses. As I lay there awaiting the onset of that awful bone chilling cold and excruciating pain to start I became aware that somewhere in the room alarms were ringing. Even though I still was unable to see I could distinguish a flurry of activity somewhere near my bed. I assumed that the problem with the alarms was the reason that the tube was still attached and that no one seemed to be near my bed. As the alarms became fainter I became aware of something that I had never experienced in a recovery room or anywhere else before that time. Instead of the awful cold and pain I was only aware of a delightful warmth that penetrated my entire being. As this glowing warmth increased, I became aware of a magnificent loving presence that to this day I find impossible to describe. Having had the chance to contemplate this experience I have come upon the only description to explain what happened next.

Imagine that you awaken one cold, cold morning next to the person you love more than life itself and find that it is a cold snowy day outside. Remember we are just imaging this scenario since this is the only way I have to offer an explanation for what happened here. Now we are back with that person we love and it is cold outside but there between us is a warmth and love far beyond words. Now magnify that feeling by about ten million and that was how this glowing love felt throughout this entire experience. I am sure that someone else could come up with a better use of our language to describe this but I was the one who was experiencing it and that was how it felt to me. Next, without hearing a sound but only through the feeling of thought waves being transferred I was made aware that I could bask forever in this place of deep, wonderful love. At this time I realized that I was being offered the chance to remain here and never return to the world of pain again. Unlike a dream where you can discern the exchange of words this encounter was o f a total different nature altogether.

On the fringes I was able to discern the smiling, loving faces of my long deceased parents. I don't have words to say how they looked because what I experienced was a "feeling" that was quite unlike sight as we know it. So I will change that and say I was aware of the feeling of my parents love for me at that time and place. Since there was no exchange of words such as happens during a dream this next event was relayed through the same transference of thought waves as I described earlier in this passage. My one and only thought was that I would dearly love to spend the rest of eternity in the loving arms of whoever and wherever I was at the present time. However, my mind kept returning to the fact that I had been unable to say my usual goodbye and proclaim my eternal love for Gary before the surgery had begun. When the thought waves returned with a final decree for my answer I relayed via those same waves to be allowed a few minutes to try and make my decision. The warmth and love were so overpowering it is impossible to describe in words but I kept feeling as if something were pulling at me to return and I didn't want to go. However, I was immediately aware when the time for my decision had arrived. Upon making the decision to return I immediately saw and felt the glowing warmth and love receding in the distance.

Again I was thrust back into the world of alarms but this time I was aware of voices. I heard the words "temperature is starting to rise as well as the blood pressure." It was at this time that I felt the endotrachel tube being removed from my throat. As I gradually became aware of my surroundings it was at this time I realized that I was the person who was in trouble and it was my alarms I had heard in the beginning. Immediately upon my return from wherever I had been the pain and cold hit me like a ton of bricks. When that pain hit it just about knocked the air right out of me. I was barely able to grasp a nurse and plead for pain relief. I don't remember having experienced this great degree of pain following prior surgeries. Now that I go back and think about it I feel assured that the pain and cold were no worse then previous times but I just felt it worse this time. From that point onwards things progressed in the usual post operative way. When I approached my doctor and questioned him about my experience in the recovery room he just told me that things had not progressed as he had hoped but that everything was all right and for me not to worry about anything. I accepted this without seeking further explanation.

Whenever I return to that time and experience I become even more firmly entrenched in the feeling that God was offering me a chance to escape the everlasting pain that I endure each and every day of my life. I truthfully feel that if my pre operative procedures had occurred as planned and Gary and I had been able to spend our usual time together that I might have not returned here to face years and years of unrelenting pain. However, my deep, deep love for Gary and my children are constant reminders that I did make the correct decision for myself. I will admit that at times of great pain I sometimes wish that my decision had been otherwise but those times are only short lived.

As I live daily with the burning, agonizing pain I know that one day I will be relieved from that pain and I know that what awaits me on the other side will have been worth all the pain and frustration here on earth. I thank God for showing me a very small sample of what His love has to offer those who believe in Him and keep His word.

As a fellow chronic pain sufferer how many times have you cried out in pain and frustration for the Lord to take you away from all of this pain. Well, my friend be careful what you wish or pray for because some day you too just might be called upon to make the choice of a lifetime.

[ CGoble © January,1998. ]

*Note: The names of the surgeon and hospital have been omitted at Carolyn's request.

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