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Near Death Experiences

There are many times where we do things and we are fortunate to still be alive afterwards.  I’ve had a few of those in my time; probably most were caused by my general clumsiness.  Other times we think we’re near the end but it is really just an overreaction.  Ask a hypocondriac about their new freckle and they’ll tell you about cancer.  Last week I had a little fake near-death experience of my own and this is what happened.

Symptoms

After my early morning workout, my stomach wasn’t feeling too good.  I headed to the kitchen to see if I could find something to munch on and help it settle down.  A box of cookies was on the counter so I helped myself to one and went back to my office.  As soon as I sat at my desk, I noticed that I couldn’t read the screen.  There were these flashing lights all over the place and they were obscuring my vision.  I could tell that I rubbed my eye recently, and rubbed it hard, because my eyelid felt a little scratched up (I have some awesome calluses from rock climbing).  After a quick google, my suspicion was correct.  Rubbing your eye does some stuff to your ocular nerve which causes flashes of lights when you rub your eye.  And since I rubbed it hard, the spots will just hang around for a little bit.  5 minutes…10 minutes…15 minutes…Man I must have really rubbed hard.  The flashing is still going on, but now it is time for a meeting.

The meeting was really difficult.  Everyone was talking but I was fascinated with my vision.  Towards the end I realized that if I looked as hard to my right as possible, the flashes would go away.  I figured that in this position, my eyeball and brain must be getting a better connection.  It seemed like a simple solution; I’d take a break and have a doctor reconnect those two organs and I’d be back in action.  No worries.

The meeting continued while I was distracted but eventually it was my turn to speak.  My area was completely unrelated to everyone else’s so it didn’t matter if I didn’t catch everything that was going on.  So here we go….uh….  I could get a few words out, but nothing really made sense.  I couldn’t formulate a complete sentence to describe where I was with my project.  My real limiting factor seemed to be vocabulary; I couldn’t think of any words!  I had no way to say what I had done or what I was going to do.  To top it off, I had trouble remembering anything about that project…anything from my status to what it was even supposed to do…it was a complete blank.  I think I forgot what my project was even called.  After stuttering a bit, they gave up on me and moved on.

Back at the Desk

With the meeting behind me, it was time to get back to work.  My vision was slightly improving but I was still having trouble focusing.  I’d immediately forget each line of code as soon as I read the next one.  If I learned anything through all of the sports I’ve played, when stuff is hard, that’s when you push harder.  So I kept working and I even managed to make a change or two.  After about 30 minutes of this laborious process, I noticed that my right hand went numb.  Well it was sitting on the desk funny so I’m sure I was just blocking the circulation.  I adjusted my position and went back to the task at hand.  5 minutes.. still numb. 10 minutes.. still numb.  Well, it’s is still numb but my stomach isn’t feeling too well, let’s take a bathroom break.

In the Water Closet

While in the bathroom, I made up my mind that I aught to tell my boss that something isn’t right.  Not only because my productivity was pretty lousy, but also because I might have to leave and this way he has a little heads up.  I’ll just walk into ____’s office.  Wait!  What is my boss’s name?  Come on Chris, you can do it.  He’s in the office right next to your buddy ____.  Dang!  I can’t remember his name either.  Can you remember anyone’s name?  Mike!  Ok, there’s a start.  Anyone else?  {plain emptiness}  I now knew that something serious was happening.  While washing my hands, I noticed something new.  My lower lip felt like I had been punched.  Well it felt numb, but also wet…which is the feeling I associate with having a busted lip.  With a numb lip, numb hand, no memory, upset stomach, and flashing lights everywhere, I made it to that guy’s office (whatever his name is).

Waiting out the Storm

I told him and a few other people who came into the office that I wasn’t right.  Someone offered to take me to the emergency room, but I declined.  My reasoning was that the emergency room can fix things when they’re broken.  If I was riding my bike and hit my head, then I’d say, let’s go to the doctor and fix my noggin.  But what is broken when I’ve got a numb hand from scratching my eye while eating a cookie?  I decided that I should just go back to work (since it’s about the only thing I like to do these days anyway).

While working I tried my darnedest to focus on my work.  I was able to change a few lines of code but it took all of my effort to keep everything in my brain.  On top of that my mind kept wandering.  I knew that this was it.  The only explanation was that I must have a tumor in my brain; that’s the only thing that could affect so many different parts of my body at the same time.  I started figuring out who I’d call and what I’d do.  I’d sell the houses, throw away all my stuff, and then go live with my parents for the 3 months until I checked out.  For once I was going to enjoy some family time and I was ok with that.

Eventually it hit me.  My dad once told me that when you have a migraine, it really sucks.  Not only does your head hurt, but it messes up your vision and makes you feel sick to your stomach.  I thought, could this really just be a migraine?  I used google and spend the next 15 minutes reading the first website (it was really short, it just takes that long to read when you can only see about 10% of what you’re looking at).  The 2nd paragraph laid it all out for me.  When you’re getting a migraine you will see light flashes, have memory problems, get a numb face and hands, have weak limbs, and get an upset stomach.  So everything I have is just the precursor to the ultimate headache; I’m going to die, but not today.  Wahoo!

The Touch

I just finished reading the article and had my revelation when my boss came in.  He wanted to make sure I was doing alright.  While I was showing him the wonderful website with the good information that says I was experiencing every single symptom of a migraine, he just placed his hand on my shoulder.  It felt like he was just saying, “you’ll be just fine son” and then he left my office.  As he walked away, I thought to myself that it was a very kind gesture and it actually made me feel a little better.

By the time we got back from lunch, I felt like a million bucks.  My head was clear and my body felt strong.  If it weren’t for the fact that it was 1pm and I still hadn’t accomplished anything, it was like nothing ever happened.

Two times during the day, my boss mentioned that he had prayed over me.  I wasn’t really sure what that meant or how to show gratitude, but I just assumed that he said a quick prayer in his office asking to make me feel better.  It wasn’t until I got home around 9pm that I finally put 2 and 2 together.  When he placed his hand on my shoulder, that was him asking God to help me.  Duh!  I’m dense sometimes.

My Christian friends who read this will say, “well it’s obvious what made Chris feel better” and my non-Christian friends will chalk it all up to coincidence.  Regardless of the cause, it had an effect.  When he walked out of my office, I did feel a touch better. And as far as headaches go, I barely had one.  Could it be that there was some subconscious change that reminded me of some time when I was much smaller and my father or grandfather would place their hand on my shoulder to give me strength?  Could it be that even though my primary love language isn’t physical touch, it becomes important when you’ve lived completely devoid from it?  While I find the quest to determine what really induced my physical change to be intellectually stimulating, I don’t find myself too particularly concerned.  For some reason a little voice told Dennis to put his hand on my shoulder, and for some reason it made me feel a little better.  While I don’t really care what it was, I’m certainly happy it was there.

Thanks Dennis.

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