A Second Chance

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
There is more to life than we could ever know hidden just on the other side. Sometimes we are given a glimpse.

Submitted: August 26, 2016

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Submitted: August 26, 2016

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A Second Chance

July 4th 2000

At 53 years old, I thought I was still on top of my game. I had just completed tearing down and rebuilding 40 feet of wooden decking in the back yard. Sharon and I would ride our bicycles for miles on the American River Bike Path, we even went to the gym frequently. I felt strong, life was good. We had just finished putting together an 8' x 10' metal shed for our gardening equipment and moving it into position on one of the sections of decking when I decided I was tired and had enough for the day. It was the 4th of July 2000 and it was hot, in the mid 90's. I told my wife, that I was going in the house to sit for a while.

My shoulders across the top were aching. It felt as though I had overused the muscle or pinched a nerve in my neck. More of a nuisance than a real pain. So I sat in the recliner and watched through the large glass patio door as my wife cleaned her tools and straightened up before coming into the house. The tightening or this tense sensation began to creep from my neck and shoulders to my arms, feeling as though I was getting mild shocks in my arms. The feeling was much like when your arm goes to sleep and is coming back to life. A numb tingling that continued no matter which way I turned my head or how I shook and flexed my arms. Something was happening! Something was wrong! This was a very new sensation, one I had not felt before. I didn't want to admit it or even say it out loud, but somehow I knew...I was having a heart attack!

I called out to Sharon, saying that I thought she should call 911. That I didn't feel right, something was wrong. I quickly related my symptoms to her. Sharon had the sense enough to give me an aspirin to chew as she called 911. It felt as though my consciousness was drifting away. I almost immediately heard the sirens from the fire station just a few blocks away. My senses were becoming dull. It was like being in a waking dream state. Sound was becoming muted like a conversation from another room. I was retreating into my own head, my own thoughts, feeling every sensation to diagnose what the problem was. It just couldn't be what I feared, could it?

The Fire Department was the first on the scene and after they assessed me as I sat half-reclined in my chair the EMT’s arrived. I was loaded onto a stretcher and whisked out the front door and into the ambulance. It was surreal. I was aware of things going on around me but, it was as though it was happening to someone else and I was the bystander watching. I was being transported to the hospital! I gazed through the back door of the ambulance as our neighbors stood on the sidewalk, watching with concern as the ambulance pulled away from my home, my wife, my life.

An EMT was with me in the back of the ambulance hooking me up to devices and asking me questions. I have no idea whether or not I answered him appropriately, everything seemed dull and far away. The EMT ask me to open my mouth as he sprayed a shot of what he said was nitroglycerin under my tongue. THEN BLACKNESS! There was no concept of time and I have no idea how long I was in that state. But...

Suddenly, like coming back from a daydream, I found myself in the cockpit of a WWII British Spitfire fighter. I could plainly see the instrument panel and the fluffy cotton ball clouds scattered in the blue sky around me. The smell of a hot engine, with a slight smell of fuel and hot oil. It was reminiscent of opening the hood of my old '57 Chevy after a long drive. I could feel and smell the rubber oxygen mask pressed against my face, the vibration from the engine through the seat and control yoke. Looking to my right, I saw several other groups of planes in formation with me just as a voice crackled tinny over the radio, "Bandits two o'clock high. Let's get 'em boys!" I looked in that direction and saw many dark specks like pepper thrown into the sky. Enemy aircraft I presumed. Just as I pulled back on the yoke and began my climbing turn into them I was slammed back into the ambulance, fighting for breath and, I thought, my life.

Unknown to me, the EMT had shocked me with a defibrillator and I was trying to sit up but the he wouldn't let me. He was holding me down and trying to calm me as I was fighting hard to sit up. My legs and arms flailing. I pleaded with him to let me sit up or else I would die, I couldn't breath lying down. Finally, I used all my strength to pull the restraining strap holding me down over my head and started to sit up. The EMT told me to lie back that he was helping me and everything would be alright. He kneeled across my lower legs and held me down. The pain in my legs was terrible from his weight. It felt as though my bones would just snap. After struggling for a short while I gave up and just lay back thinking that I was going to die and there was nothing I could do to help myself. Finally, I gave in to the idea that, this was it, I may as well stop fighting and take my last ride.

I don't remember hearing the siren blaring or much else about the journey. The next thing I remember was the hospital Emergency Ward and being hurriedly attended to by several white coats. By then I had probably been given “something to calm me”, because it was still a dream but I was more calm and was not in distress.

Sharon was allowed into the room to see me and ask what I had been eating. She said it looked like I had chocolate on my lips and face. Of course I was oblivious to that fact and we were told by the nurse that it was blood. I had bitten my tongue when I was shocked back from the skies over England.

I have never had an out of body experience before or since. It was as real as life itself with all my senses involved. I will carry that experience with me forever. Perhaps, I should consider myself the lucky one that day. I never had to find out what fate lay ahead, sixty odd years in the past.


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