In 1971 during second grade, my older brother chased me through a field with a long stick. I raced up a water tower to avoid his attack. After some time he threw the stick over a barbed wire fence and told me to come down. As I started to come down, I slipped falling about 10 feet. I landed on my feet still facing the water tower. My brother ran over to me and said, "Come on let's go." I stood there looking at him, but he was behind me. I watched him reach out and shake my shoulder. There was a scared look in his eyes. I was still facing the tower and he was still behind me. He bent around my body over some piping and saw something that startled him, blood. I saw his shocked look then looked over his should to see what he was seeing. He lifted up my shirt and we were both shocked to see that I had landed on a pipe and it was stuck into my left side just below my rid cage. Years later my brother told me that I was non-responsive and my eyes were staring straight ahead the whole time this was all happening. He tried to pull me off. No good. He reached around me, lifted me off the pipe, and sat me down on another large pipe. He ran off to get help. He had to run through a grassy field, down a creek bed, through a grassier field, and across a street to get my mother.

I stood and began to walk. In the middle of the first grassy field I looked up and saw one puffy cloud and for some strange reason said out loud, "Please God, don't let me die, give me another chance." Just then another of my older brothers appeared out of the creek bed, picked me up, and raced me to my mother who was waiting in the station wagon. I always look back on that moment, and as an adult realized two things. One, I had an out- of-body experience. Two, I didn't go to any church back then, nor were we religious as a family that I can recall. My mother was a divorced alcoholic with six kids, me being the youngest. So why did I ask a God who I did not know for another chance at such a young age?

Fast-forward to 1993 at age 29, married with no children and church going. I was ill and did not go to work this particular morning, which was unheard of for me. My wife called me throughout the day and came home early to find me in the same crunched position from that morning. She wanted me to go to the emergency room, but I was not going to help some physician go on vacation for telling me I have the flu. But, by the afternoon I was ready.

They checked for problems and my incompetent emergency room doctor ordered some Pepto Bismol for me, told me to drink it, and go home. My wife and I both got upset. I screamed at the nurse: "I have had heartburn for many years and this is not heartburn." They ordered more tests and gave me some drugs to kill the pain, as I demanded. It was getting more intense into the evening. They kept me overnight for observation, which I do not even recall.

The next morning I was awakened to tubes being shoved down my throat and the same incompetent doctor yelling at me to swallow the tube or it'll be worse for me. I thought I was drowning as I began swallowing the water and the tube. My wife was there by my side watching and in tears. The incompetent doctor then stated idiotically, "Oh, well, I expected to find an ulcer or something." Then yanked the damn tube from my throat. My wife started yelling at him that we could have spared everyone that little episode because there is no ulcer; this was different. He said, literally, "I have a plane to catch" and left.

There were no other doctors available as my wife sat by my side watching me go in and out of consciousness. She prayed, "Lord God, please don't let him die, he doesn't even have kids yet." Just at that very moment I apparently popped my head up off the pillow and said in a non-drugged out voice, "Hey buddy how ya doing?" laid my head back down and back into unconsciousness. My stomach began growing and my wife got a nurse to look at the fact. She agreed and attempted to find a doctor to come look. She finally ran out of the E.R. and into the hall and came across a doctor that had just come to the hospital to make his rounds with his patients. I was awake when he saw me and asked my blood pressure. He ordered the nurse to sit me up and watch my blood pressure, which dropped immediately as they raised me. He began yelling code blue, code blue and rushed me to the emergency operating table upstairs.

My gurney got stuck in the space between the elevator and the hallway until some more people nearby lifted it out. The doctor to do the surgery was in the process of closing up another patient when he heard the code blue. He hurried and prepped for my arrival. They explained to me that they did not know why I was bleeding internally and that I needed to sign a release form. Anything, to stop the pain I replied and signed the form. Then came the mask.

I was now floating in a dark black tunnel. I tried to see the sides but they were as though they were not. I looked at my hands by my side and noticed that I was a golden transparent color. I had feet, toes, and fingers--the whole nine yards--all this golden transparent color. I looked ahead of me and saw a distant light, a dot of light very far a way and blurry. I squinted to try to focus, but I was suddenly outside the tube in a vast flat, black darkness of space. I looked for stars but saw only the dark rubbery looking tube stretching ahead of me into forever. Not in a straight line either. That confused me because when you look into a hose you need to stretch it out in order to see the light at the other end. Now, here's something that is hard to explain. I was watching myself inside the tunnel at the same time I was looking at myself outside the tunnel, all seeing and all questions happening at the same time. How could I be down in that tunnel seeing a light at the end of it when I'm floating out here seeing a tunnel that is not in a straight line?

Suddenly, I was thrust at a high rate of speed through the tunnel toward the light. It was magnificent. Years later I dove into a warm swimming pool and was brought back to that moment as I floated underwater. It was the water splitting across my face. That was the feeling in the tunnel. As quickly as I has started my journey through the vast length of the tunnel, I was suddenly in the light. It swirled around me as clouds. Different shades of white, all swirling fast. I describe the feeling as this. "Imagine the most wonderful feeling you have ever had and multiply that times millions." I recall saying, "Wow." It was so perfect; I never wanted to leave this place.

Suddenly I was in darkness and yelling "no!!!!" I woke up and saw my wife next to me. I was in the recovery room and I grabbed her arm and said, "I think I almost died!" She was crying and said, "You did."

It turns out that I was born with two full functioning spleens. The pain the previous morning was due to the auxiliary spleen twisting and pinching. It burst while in the emergency room, and that is when my wife noticed my stomach growing. The doctor that saved my life said it was his training in Vietnam that helped him. He had seen plenty of guys my size in the same condition and knew right away that I was bleeding internally. I had lost three quarters of my blood supply into my abdomen by the time they had cut me open from my sternum to just below my belly button. They had just acquired a machine that takes one's blood during surgery, cleans it and puts it back into one's own body thus avoiding blood transfusions. But, the only person that knew how to run it was on vacation. However, a person that trains people how to use it just happened to be in the building from Boise Idaho, 50 miles away.

So here I am, 44 years old and here is how I live my life. Rather than cry, "Why is this happening to me," I take the experience and wait for a chance to meet someone in my travels that I can help. You see if I had not gone through any of my experiences then how could I truly understand what someone is going through. I had a lady say to me once, "You don't understand, you don't have kids." True. Now I have kids and I understand her thoughts back then. I used to be pretty strong in my religious beliefs and judgmental toward other religions. Now I accept all. I don't believe in them, I just let them be.

I still don't know why I asked God for a second chance. I know I still blow it a lot in life. I gave up on the belief that every time I sin it's another chink in my armor and lowers my chances to get to heaven. I have asked many preachers and scientists to explain to me what actually happened and no one knows. They explain it away or whatever. The fact remains, they can't take away my experience. I live with it daily, recall it nightly and desire it 24/7.

What is my purpose on this earth? I have not found out that part yet. But, I am under the belief now that we are some kind of energy being afterwards and that we have limbs, senses, sight, and understanding in that form. I run a very successful restaurant now and married 17 years with two great kids--a ballerina and a future fighter pilot. I have been in many auto accidents; I broke my arm, fractured my spine, and had multiple concussions, some I can't remember. I was recently diagnosed with arthritis in my hips and I have dreams that come true from time to time.

I am happy but know life will move on once I'm gone. I look forward to leaving but I won't try to get there any faster. I stopped going to church, stopped criticizing others beliefs, and encourage people in all walks of life. Life is good because I was given a second chance, more than a second. I hope if there is a God that I have lived up to my potential.