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A Call of Life

In January of 1950 I was a fifteen and a half year old boy. Somehow I contracted pneumonia, which in those early days was virtually a death sentence. However, I was treated with the new wonder drug, Penicillin. But some days into my treatment in a large hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, one morning I felt a tingling in my knees that proceeded up my legs. It was a comfortable, warm sensation. Then I noticed a strange thing--the bright sunny day I could see through the large windows had turned a beautiful deep purple. There were little golden lights twinkling in that sky. I felt really warm and comfortable looking at that scene. Next I remember feeling myself floating up toward the ceiling.

Looking down, I saw myself still in bed asleep and very far away; it was as though I was much higher up. There was no sound at all and it was a bit cool, although it was a mid-summer’s day, which in Cape Town, means quite hot. Through the door in the ward I saw my parents come running in, led by a white-coated doctor, and nurses began to bring the mobile screens around my bed. My mother took hold of my hand and held it to her face. She appeared to be crying, and my father was standing next to her. They stayed there for a long time, eventually leaving very slowly and stooped over. It is a scene that I can never forget; I’m 74 years of age now. It’s as fresh as if it were yesterday. It was also very windy up where I was.

Apparently I woke up normally, and nothing was said to me about anything at all. In fact, I didn’t remember anything either, at that time. It was only a few months later when I was cured and back home when my mother told me that they had received a telephone call from the hospital asking them to come immediately as I was nearing death. When they arrived I had already passed on. By the time they had arrived back home, another telephone call from the hospital told them the amazing good news. That’s all she told me, but then it all came back to me in a rush. I told her what had happened to me. I described what I saw...them coming into the ward, the mobile screens, and her holding my hand. She confirmed it all. But, the story doesn’t end there.

In 1968, I was married. My wife had a miscarriage and was hemorrhaging badly. I took her to the hospital and left her there for a dilation and curettage. That evening after the procedure, I went to visit her. After a few minutes she told me that she had a warm, pins and needles feeling in her legs. I told her that it’s probably a crampy feeling after the procedure. Then she remarked on the lovely sunset with golden stars. (It was in fact, evening). I couldn’t see anything like she was describing, and was a bit puzzled about it. But then, she asked, “What are you doing down there?” All of a sudden the horrible realization hit me. She was describing everything that I had experienced 18 years earlier! Was she about to die? I rushed for the doctor who pulled back the blankets. I was absolutely horrified to see that she was lying in a blood bath. She had no pulse. After a bit of a struggle the doctor managed to insert an I.V. needle with saline drip into an already ‘flat’ vein in her hand. Remarkably, she regained consciousness very quickly. Needless to say she recovered perfectly well and was back home in a day or two. I knew perfectly well that if I hadn’t gone to visit her that evening she would surely have died.


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