Do each of us have a spiritual guide who watches over us, who never leaves us, who guards us and guides us during our time spent here on earth? My near death experience had me believing so.
It was supposed to be a same day surgery. To my misfortune, something went wrong and this simple half hour surgery left me 2 weeks in a hospital bed and closer to death than I had ever come.
Who was it that saved me? Was it an angel? Was it God? Was it my spiritual guide? Was it all three? Whoever it was, they came to my rescue.
It was January of 1997, and I was 32 years old. I was going in for a simple procedure on my right knee. It may have been the bacteria in the air, unsterilized medical equipment, I don’t know. I only know that I developed a staff infection after the operation and my knee had swollen up like a softball. The pain was excruciating.
I was taken back to the operating room to have the doctors open me up again to try and clean out the infection. Days later my knee was still not improving and I now lay on a hospital bed receiving morphine for the pain.
A third surgery was now scheduled. This would be another attempt to clean out the infection.
They were sure that this one would, “do the trick.”
With three surgeries now under my belt, I was sent home a few days later with a pick line. This is a tube that was inserted through one of my veins to deliver antibiotics directly over my heart so my body could receive them quickly and effectively.
After having three surgeries and being in the hospital for a week I couldn’t wait to go home. I had had just about enough from what was supposed to be a simple half hour same day surgery.
I remember that I was sent home on a Tuesday around 10:00 a.m. My mother had picked me up from the hospital and had taken me to my house. She very much wanted to stay with me for the day but she was due at work and I insisted that she go. After all, I was a grown man. I was 32 years old, I was a father to a precious 2 year old boy and I had my own home. And after everything that I had just been through, I just wanted to be alone.
“Mom, please go.” I pleaded. “I’ll be okay.”
She respected my wishes and prayed for the angels to watch over me. She then left me alone for the day and I was grateful for that. Finally I could have some peace and quiet and a chance to reflect on what had just happened to me over these last 2 weeks.
Two hours later, around 12:30 p.m., the phone rang. It was a nurse from some sort of agency. She asked me if I was familiar on how to administer my medications through the pick line. She asked if she could come to the house to watch me and to make sure I was doing it correctly.
I explained to her on the phone that I was very familiar with the entire procedure of giving myself the intravenous antibiotics and insisted that she not come, that there was no reason for her to come and that I would be okay in doing it myself, alone.
She adamantly tried to convince me that it was a safety precaution and that she really should be there to observe how I do it. All the time, I just so much wanted to tell her, “I just don’t want you here. I just want to be left alone for the day.” But I didn’t. And after realizing that she was not going to take no for an answer, I finally gave in and said, “Okay.”
“What time will you be coming?” I asked unenthusiastically.
“How about 2:00?” She responded with an upbeat voice.
“Okay then, 2:00," I said.
At 1:20 the doorbell rang. I peaked through the bay window to see who was there, and to my dismay it was the nurse from the agency.
“What?” I thought to myself. “What is she doing here? It’s only 1:20. I’m not even ready. I’m still in a dirty t-shirt. I though we agreed on 2:00.”
“Hi.” I said as I slowly opened the door.
“Hi!” she said. “Are you Greg? I was in the neighborhood so I thought I would stop by a little early,” she explained.
“Oh, alright,” I said without a smile.
“Will you show me your medicines?” She asked.
“Yes, they are in the back room,” I responded.
She was a friendly woman dressed like a nurse with what seemed to be a white lab coat. I would have guessed her age to be in the mid to upper 50s.
I led the way to the back room feeling embarrassed about my messy hair and my dirty t-shirt but she followed me not commenting on any of it.
I then sat down on the open sofa bed. I pointed to the medication and the last thing I remember saying was, “The medication is right here in this box.”
Suddenly, an terrible overwhelming dizziness came upon me. This was nothing that I had ever experienced before. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had suddenly passed out right in front of her. For I had fallen back on the sofa bed and was out cold.
I woke up to paramedics around me. I was in a cold sweat and was shaking uncontrollably. I was put on a stretcher and was put in the ambulance that was out front waiting for me.
I was delivered to the emergency room and was immediately examined by the emergency room doctor. The diagnosis was pulmonary embolism. My three knee surgeries had send blood clots to my lungs, which has a high fatality rate.
I was told by one doctor in particular that I was lucky to be alive and that this sort of thing kills a lot of people instantly.
I then spend another week in the hospital and was then finally released with a knee that was healing and improving.
When I think about it now, if that visiting nurse from the agency didn’t come to my house when she came, I don’t know if I would be alive today to tell this story. She saved me.
Not only did I not want her to come at all, but she came 40 minutes early and she was only in my house for 90 seconds before I passed out. She was there to call 911 for emergency.
I now believe that a greater power got her to my house when she did. There were angels watching over me.
She would not take no for an answer in coming to the house, and once she arrived it was then that I went unconscious. It was okay for me to pass out. The angel was sent, rescue had arrived.
The fact is that this woman was in my life for only a total of 10 minutes and then never did I see or hear from her again.
Months later, after that horrific ordeal was over, I began to ask myself, for what purpose did all of this happen? What is the reason? Why did I have to go through all of that? What was I supposed to learn. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to die at that time, but then why did I go through it? Was there a reason?
The answer? Yes, there was a reason for it all.
I came out of this experience with more love, tolerance, patience and understanding for myself and for other people. I became more loving and more caring about simple things, even some material things, simple objects around the house that I now cherish even more because I was able to see them again. They became more important to me and my life.
I also made the important decision that I only wanted to be around people that were supportive of me. I no longer wanted to be friends with people that were going to bring me down, crush my spirit, who were not trust worthy, or who kept me from doing what I really wanted to do or who I really wanted to be. I no longer wanted to be around that in my life. I wanted to surround myself with people who would let me find my own way, to live how I wanted to live and who would support me with it.
I came out of this experience with great appreciation for people offering their kindness in my time of need, and I was much more appreciative of the gift of laughter.
I was thankful and grateful that I came out of this experience with both legs instead of only one. I can now enjoy and appreciate each day when I am able to go for a walk or play baseball with my son.
I believe out of every experience comes either more love or more fear. This experience for me brought me much more love. A love for life, a love for who I am, and a love and appreciation for the people and things close to me.
My life had certainly changed from the events of January and February of 1997, and I thank my spiritual guide, and the angels watching over me for that. I was a much better person for it.
The pain was only temporary but the wisdom will last a lifetime.