When I was nine years old, I was hit by a car while riding my bike. I was thrown 75 feet and landed on my head, injury which crushed part of my skull (it was about a pear-sized hole over my right parietal lobe). A surgeon and his wife were packing their car for a weekend trip and witnessed the accident. The surgeon immediately responded and gave me CPR and mouth- to-mouth while his wife called 911. In the three minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive, I lost a third of my blood on the pavement. I was rushed to the hospital where I was given a blood transfusion. My ruptured spleen was removed and over the course of the next eight hours shards of bone were removed meticulously from my brain by two neurosurgeons. My vital signs dropped and I fell into a coma.
My prognosis for survival was very poor. According to my mom, at one point during surgery the doctor informed my parents that my vital signs had dropped dangerously low and they feared losing me. He asked my parents if they had any religious affiliation for which he could call clergy. My mom said she looked at me through the window of the operating room and said, “Isn’t he beautiful.” She told me that it was following this moment that my vital signs began to climb steadily, which could not be explained medically.
Meanwhile, I vividly recall the experience of seeing myself from above the operating table and looking down. There was a bright light near me, which I believe may have been the operating room light. As I looked down I saw only silhouettes, but I knew that was me lying on the table with all kinds of activity and movement going on around me. Then I was removed from the scene and surrounded by darkness, nothingness, but fully enveloped in the peace and love of God’s presence. I recall the feeling of wanting to stay with him. But, then I had no ability to think, or make any decisions whatsoever. The last thing I remember, which I believe to be the most memorable of this whole experience, is the conviction I had from God, "Regardless of what happens, it’s going to be okay."
The next thing I remember is waking from my coma four days later in the intensive care room and seeing sunlight from the window illuminate the lime green wall of my room. According to my mom, I answered the doctor correctly when he asked how many fingers he was holding up.
My recovery was slow. A double polymer plate was wired into my skull with titanium. I had physical therapy for about six months until I regained my fine motor coordination skills on the left side of my body. Some smells and flavors seemed different (particularly chicken and green beans), but these returned in about a year or so. Nevertheless, I have since made a full recovery from this accident with no residual effects, despite all prognoses, odds, and phenomena unexplained by medical science. I have no spleen, take no medication, and am healthy.
The most significant thing I take from this experience is the conviction that God exists, loves me and has a purpose and plan for my life. Neither of my parents were believers nor did I have any spiritual upbringing. Regardless, I knew without a doubt at the time that I was in God’s presence surrounded by his incomprehensible peace and love, and I wanted to be with him but it wasn’t my time. This experience planted a seed in my life, a foundation of spirituality and faith, which did not come to fruition until many years later.