Back From Beyond
The Life-Changing Event
At The Pearly Gates for the fourth time, I was nervous as the reservations book was checked for my name. The gatekeeper again said, “Your name’s not in here yet. You’re early again and too much entertainment, go back to Planet Ocean.”
Starting my trip back down the Gossamer Path, shoulders slumped, disappointment in my heart, I heard the gatekeeper say again to the attending souls, “Find some more shit, and shovel more on, he hasn’t learned his lesson yet.”
“That’s it!” I said, spinning around to face the gatekeeper, straitening up and squaring my shoulders, “I’ve been doing my best to do my duty to God, my country, my family, and my employers, and all you do is shovel on more shit. This time down, I’m taking care of myself!” Doing an about-face, I started marching back to Planet Ocean.
In the background I heard the gatekeeper say, “Hold up on the shit, let’s see if he really has learned his lesson.”
The lesson – Fix me, the way I want me to be – it’s all about me.
Helen Keller summarized my life. “Life is a Grand Adventure, or nothing.”
This Grand Adventure began at the highlight of my Marine Diving Technician career. As Dive Director of the Puerto Rico International Undersea Laboratory, La Chalupa, the largest and most sophisticated under-water habitat in the world, I was in charge of operations. It was December 31st, 1972, the four marine scientists and one technician had just completed a two-week scientific mission in 75 feet of water, outside the barrier reef, seven miles off the west coast of Puerto Rico, south of Mayaguez.
The 600’, heavy-nylon towline had been laid out on the 50 foot long, 20-foot-wide deck, so the barge/habitat could be maneuvered from just outside the harbor entrance, down the narrow channel between the breakwater and coral reef, then into the harbor. Once tied to the dock, the five aquanauts would finish their 24-hour decompression.
After placing two wraps of the line around a bollard, I yelled to the crew, “Let’s go.”
La Chalupa began to move. By alternately slacking and holding the line tight, I lined the barge up in the center of the channel. With the barge just off the end of the breakwater, the line hung-up on deck, couldn’t be slack any more and had to be stopped off. I yelled for the deck technician, “Bud, line’s tangled, clear it.”
Bud raced around the cluttered deck following the line. As momentum propelled the 270,000 pound barge forward, the line began to slip around the bollard. “Hurry up Bud, I can’t hold it.”
Just before my left hand was about to be pulled into the wraps on the bollard, Bud yelled, “Got it.”
I yelled back, “Get clear!” and released the line.
The sound, like a rifle going off near my face, caused an eye reflex.
The recoil of the line under tension made the two wraps around the bollard jump up. The wraps caught my left hand, and launched me into the air.
Opening my eyes, I saw the forearm with two bones sticking out and the hand dangling from some skin and tendons. 15 feet above the water and over 20 feet out from La Chalupa, I gathered up the hand and forearm, pointed my toes and made a perfect dive.
I was now on a journey of discovery which continues. Why I was here on earth, all my beliefs and relationships with family, friends and strangers were about to under go radical changes.
Eight days after the accident, as a result of a medical mis-adventure (the first medical malpractice); a mid-upper arm amputation was performed.
In the between drug induced unconsciousness and full awareness, the hand moved, That’s weird, I wonder if they removed the cast in the operating room? Darkness.
Pain, like hitting the crazy-bone, jolted me and the whole elbow and hand tingled. I tried to open my eyes, but a stabbing pain in the upper arm closed them tighter. Through the anesthetic fog, I could smell hospital antiseptic and the retched gas gangrene. Then darkness again.
Whoa, the hand’s moving towards the wall, now under the bed, what’s going on? I forced my eyes open, the arm was missing. How can it be gone and still be moving? In the dim light from the bathroom, my eyes followed the hand’s room-wide path of discovery, but the hand wasn’t visible. My brain was trying to process the amputation and hand movement when it felt like a hot knife sliced through the flesh of the upper arm, I gasped.
Judy, my wife, in the chair next to the bed, woke and asked, “Are you OK?”
“Well, I guess that’s all relative. From a broken forearm to an upper-arm amputation in eight days doesn’t make sense. ”
“Do you need a pain shot? The doctor left orders to give you a shot, but only if you asked for it, as you demanded.”
“I could use some, now! This is a little more than I can shut off with my brain.”
“OK, just push the nurse call button by your shoulder.”
The door to my room opened almost before I got my thumb off the button. The voice from the doorway asked, “Senor, listo para injection?”
“Si.” I answered.
She hurried from the room.
The room light turned on and a petite, young, nurse approached the bed, hypodermic syringe in her right hand and an alcohol swab in her left. Her black eyes widened as they darted from the IV in my right hand to the IV bottle guarding my right shoulder to the swollen stump. I smiled and pointed to my right thigh, and kicked the sheet back too far, exposing my self. She stopped mid step, gasped and blushed.
“Pardon, Chica.” I said, reaching down and tucking the sheet between my legs.
Before she had finished emptying the syringe, a warm wave of pain relief began to spread out from the thigh to infuse the whole body. No wonder addicts get hooked on this stuff. I thought.
As she stood by the bed watching my body relax, I read the name Lupe, taped to a name tag on her starched, white uniform. I thought, Name tag, young, embarrassed, gorgeous, night shift – she’s brand new.
“Como Esta, Senor?”
“Muy bien, Muy bien, gracias Lupe.”
“De nada.” She said
“Es possible comeda?”
“Si, si, una momento.” Lupe replaced the sheet, careful not to peek, and went for food.
While Judy cranked the bed up, I asked, “Well, how’s it feel to be married to an amputee?”
“OK . . ., at least you’re still alive.”
“Yea, but doing push-ups is out. You’ll have to get on top . . ., but not yet.”
“That’s OK, I don’t mind being on top.” She smiled. “Welcome back. The doctor said you only had three hours to live if he didn’t remove the arm.”
“I know. It had rotted to above the elbow, just forget it.”
The three AM meal came cold, half a small baked chicken, mixed vegetables with rice and beans. For desert, flan with caramel sauce, white cake with chocolate frosting, and lime Jell-O with mixed fruit. For fluids I had, two milks and two cans of guanabana juice.
When I could slow down eating, I asked Judy, “How long since I last ate?”
“It’s been about 18 hours.”
“No wonder I was hungry. That was the best tasting meal I’ve had in the last eight days, maybe for a long time and that’s no reflection on your cooking. It’s like all my smell and taste senses are cranked-up.”
“Go back to sleep now, the crew will be here in a few hours for your next chamber run before they go to work.”
“Wakeup!” Judy’s voice echoed in my head, “You have visitors.”
My eyes opened much easier this time, and I said, “Bring’m on, and see if you can get me some coffee con leche y asucar.”
Judy left and a parade of masked, green-clad people filed into the semi-dark room. I thought, Oh, no, not more prodding of my sore spots. Then someone hit a light switch and I recognized my crew from the habitat.
“Hey, guys, I really like your new uniforms. What’s that all about?”
“They wouldn’t let us in without them,” Ian said, “You’re in isolation because the gas gangrene is still contagious.”
“How you guys doing, and what’s going on with the lab.” I asked.
“We’re fine and the lab’ll be ready for the next mission,” Joe said, “The question is how are you do’n?”
“Had my shot, a great meal and I’m ready for the chamber, after I get a cup of coffee.”
“We’re really sorry about the amputation,” Bud said, “None of us had any idea that was coming.”
“Don’t worry, I must have intuitively known, because it’s no big deal for me, I just can’t wait to get out of the hospital and back to work. I feel a lot better now. As one of the doctors told me, ‘Sometimes you have to trim the branch to save the tree’.”
Mike stepped forward and held up a Playboy, “Got something for you.”
“Oh, you wait till I’m missing an arm to give me one-handed reading material. How cruel is that? At least you didn’t bring in flowers.”
We all laughed. Mike turned to a cartoon. The cartoon showed a “floozy” looking woman lying in bed with a “pirate” looking man. The floozy was lying on the pirate’s arm. The pirate’s hook was around the woman’s boob. At the bottom of the bed was a chest designated “Captain Hook.” The caption at the bottom said, “You should see all the attachments it came with!”
I laughed hard enough to hurt my broken collarbone and ribs. When I could talk again, I said, “I’ve got to learn to sing ‘Just a Gigolo.’ I can carry all the tools in my briefcase. There’ll be no complaints, they pay their money, pick out their preferred dildo, it doesn’t get tired or soft, and has adjustable stroke and rhythm. I can’t wait.”
We all laughed and again I had to control myself because of the pain. “Take that with you. If I get a hard-on after all the blood I lost, I’ll pass-out.”
Judy brought me the coffee, and we went through the normal, “I’m sorry,” “How you feeling?” “Do you need anything?” comments.
“You need to get well quick,” Ian said, “you’re the only one who knows how to operate the lab.”
“I’m working on that.” I said. “Hey, where’s my brother?”
“He took the amputation real hard.” Joe said, “Last time I saw him he had a fifth of Don Q rum in his hand.”
“Damn, he’s getting drunk over ME losing an arm and I can’t have a drink until I’m through with the antibiotics.”
The medical technicians arrived with a gurney and the second trip to the hyperbaric chamber began.
While being jostled onto the cot in the hyperbaric chamber, used to treat the gas gangrene, I felt a sudden warm sensation along my left side and just before my vision closed down, I exclaimed, “OH, NO!” and darkness. The suture had come off the main artery and I bled down. (The second medical malpractice.)
Leaning against the wall in the operating room and watching doctors and nurses busy working on a body, I felt strange, detached. The medicos were tying up an artery on a stump, and doing a cut-in at the right ankle (the veins had collapsed) to get an IV started.
Just as they started milking blood into the body, the breathing stopped, then the heart monitor stopped ticking, flat-lined and a buzzer sounded. The medical personal began shouting and rushing about.
Curious, about what was happening; I floated up and looked down from above the operating table. I was startled to recognize it was my body they were working on, then a thought, Let it go, It’s better over here.
Right then, they jump started the body and whoosh, I slammed back into me.
I woke up some time later, in my room, with the doctor milking the fifth bag of blood into my leg. As the cool fluid flowed up my thigh, my blood pressure increased and I became more and more awake. He took my blood pressure and told the nurse, “Get another pint of blood.”
Death was now added to my “life experiences.” I had a chance to meet “God” or whatever you call the “overseeing spirit.” The death thing was a real blow. All my life I felt bullet proof, and never thought about my mortality. There was no concept I could be killed. The soul was surprised when it found out the vehicle it was operating, the body, could be destroyed.
A death/out-of-body experience will tend to change you. Maybe not right away, but with time to process the event, you look at “Life, Liberty, and the Happiness of Pursuit” from a different perspective.
You say I got part of the saying backwards? I don’t think so. I got it right, because if you pursue happiness and get happy, then what? Drugs? Suicide? If you’re always pursuing something, and pursuit is your happiness then you’re always happy – much better.
You may want to go sit in a corner for awhile and think about that – it’s a very important life lesson.
A real good exercise is to ask, “What would I do if money was not a consideration and I knew I was only going to live for one more year?”
What would you change?
Talk to people who’ve had close calls, heart attacks, or strokes and you’ll find facing up to your own mortality is a real life changing experience.
Actually dying and getting/having to come back is even more intense, especially if repeated multiple times.
NOTE: 25+% of the population will admit to having out-of-body experiences (OBEs) before they leave this plane. It’s OK to be out of your body and it’s OK to be out of your head (brain).
OBEs will change how you view life and death. If your body is dead and you have an OBE, you know your Soul’s going to live beyond the body. When OBEs are repeated while the body is unconscious (under anesthesia) and while the body is actively functioning (during conversations and sex) the concept of Body/Brain and Soul/Mind will develop. This changes every belief you hold about who and what you are. An OBE begs the question, “Who’s in charge of this life and what’s it all about?”
Epiphanies, out-of-body trips, visions, past-life-regression, spiritual awareness, addressing new problems, controlling emotions, dealing with ego, taking responsibility, and learning to pay attention to life have made this one incident invaluable in helping me to become a better person. The belief I’m a better person is, of course, my opinion.
I wouldn’t trade the experiences losing an arm and dying provided me for anything. I wouldn’t care to do it again, but it’s been a wonderful journey through life. The life lessons learned have provided me with the answer to the question we all have, “Why me, here, now?” Which was going to be the title of this book, but it was way too serious for a humorist.
Life-altering situations happen to everyone. They may be the result of an interpersonal relationship, natural disaster, accident, personal injury or illness, death of someone or something, heart attack, stroke, giving birth, unconsciousness, drugs or any number of other life events.
The interplay of my family members after the amputation, my reaction to the amputation and the process of rebuilding my ego all fed into the life-altering, learning opportunities I’m privileged to experience.
This is not a book about a traumatic accident, physiological and psychological problems or parapsychology. It’s a story book with a lot of insights gleaned from some interesting life experiences.
I was a sailor, so some of the words have “flavor” (and maybe smell – like shit!) I tried other Politically Correct words, but they didn’t “sound” right – not like I talk.
I don’t believe in “accidents” so it’s no accident you’re reading this, it’s meant to be – enjoy.
This book is about US, because we’re all connected. We’re all having similar but different situations and circumstances during our lives. We have questions unanswered. We’re supposed to be learning from each other, because life’s too short to go through everything ourselves. That’s why the printing press, movies and TV were invented.
Remember The lesson – Fix you, the way you want you to be – it’s all about you.
Out of Body Experience
Of all the things I’ve talked to people about, Out-of-Body Experiences have elicited the most responses. When analyzing why people were interested in OBEs, there were several common threads in the responses:
Disbelief OBEs could happen due to a lack of any data Disbelief in the spiritual aspects of life – duality of Body/Soul Disbelief due to educational background – not scientific Belief in OBEs due to personally having had the experience Belief because OBEs prove the Body-Soul connection Belief because OBEs prove life after death OBEs can be experienced by anyone who wants the experience. In fact, everyone has OBEs during sleep and unconsciousness. You simply have to believe it’s possible, gather knowledge and seek help if needed to guide you through the experience.
OBEs prove to those who experience them the duality of their nature and that the Soul will live beyond the body. They also prove the fact of reincarnation. After an OBE, the soul reincarnates into the same body in the same stream of time.
OBEs are Spiritual events. They provide opportunities for counseling and travel outside the body to gather data and solve problems. OBE counseling comes in the form of objective “third party” evaluation of an event. Multiple events can be reviewed during a given OBE. The review comes in the form of “awareness” of the lessons to be learned and the behavioral changes to be made. An OBE session may contain answers to questions or solutions to problems. Some OBE sessions may show the reactions resulting from a given action and how the “ripple effect” travels through the people involved, the environment and the universe.
Dreams are OBE “movies” being “played” as additional data and awareness of changes to be made. Dream meanings can be reviewed during OBEs.
OBEs may also provide you with “Intuition” and set you up for déjà vu opportunities.
During OBEs, you may find yourself visiting other dimensions, planets, or traveling to locations around the Planet Ocean. During these traveling sessions, it is possible, to gather information. Is this where the Sci Fi which predicts our future comes from?
So, are OBEs important life events?Return to Overview