Beanery Online Literary Magazine

October 19, 2010

On Dying and Returning to Life



A Near-Death Experience

Bob Sanzi

This piece was written to be read with keyboard accompaniment. The plan was to have the music quietly remain in the background during the reading.  At each break it was planned to have it rise in volume and tempo.  This proved to complex for the keyboard, but the breaks were still respected. Rather than reading continuously, varying breaks were accomplished as the keyboardist continued to play.  The music was impromptu and did fit the mood of the reading. This is a long passed process often practiced in the sixties coffee shops.   Bob



October eighth last year I died.


I know that seems silly because I’m here now.  But clinically I was defined as having no life signs and that means I was dead, died, gone, and passed on.  Not here anymore.


It was a Thursday, student night at the Laurel Highlands Model Airplane Club’s airfield at Mammoth Park (PA).  It was beginning to get dark and most of us had started packing up our radio-controlled airplanes.


Ziggy wanted to get in one more flight but his plane wouldn’t start.  His instructor called for a new glow plug.  I walked out to my truck and brought the group gathered around his plane a new one.


I knelt down gave them one and stood back up and fell over backward.


They thought I had tripped over the filed box and hit my head when I fell.  But when I started to turn blue and my lips were gray they knew something was really wrong.


Don had been certified for CPR by the job he retired from and he started pumping my chest.  The guys took turns until the EMS arrived.  They kept it up for 45 minutes.


The EMS guys shocked me four times before they got life signs and took me to Frick Hospital.  I was again gone by the time I got there but they managed to get a heartbeat and put me on a helicopter to Greensburg.


I never saw a bright light or a tunnel.  There weren’t any angels, demons, or a figure in a white robe standing before me.  I didn’t feel a sensation of rising up or falling down.  It wasn’t cold or hot.  I didn’t see flames or clouds.  No music was playing and I didn’t see or hear wailing virgins.


Looking back on the whole experience I would have to say it was rather anti-climatic.  It was a rather disappointing experience.  Not even any red guys with tails and horns or golden streets, no deceased friends, it was more like my switch was just turned off.


As I began to come back my memory was like watching a movie.  I was told I said and did things that sound like me but there is no real memory of these things.  I just remember waking and seeing people looking down at me with sad eyes.  I was trapped, tied down and it smelled like a hospital.


When relatives and the guys from the club saw me early the next morning I was in a tub of ice, tubes, wires, sticking out of me plugged into many big scary humming and beeping machines.  They had the room closed off with every fan they could find blowing on me.  My body temp was beyond accepted science and they had my head wrapped in a tent pumping in pure oxygen.


Everyone was told I might make it for another night but not to hold much hope for me.  The next day they were told if I lasted another 24 hours not to expect much from me because there had been so much time with no blood to my brain.


A week later one of the guys from the airfield told me I had to get better because I was very close to qualifying to fly.  He said I smiled but I couldn’t talk.  A day or so later Buddy said he told me I needed to get out of there to go to Riverland for a glass of ale and a bucket of mussels.  He said I whispered no a black and tan and mussels.  He knew Bob was in there but the shades were just all pulled.  The lights were on though.


About two weeks later I was walking the halls of the hospital.  My voice didn’t work right but everything else did.  I was reading, doing the email thing, and learning to eat baby food.


Two days before Thanksgiving I walked out of the home they took me to in Ligonier.  I went to the family Thanksgiving dinner gathering.


Doctors, nurses, all will tell you I had a heart attack.  But if you question them further they will tell you they really don’t know what or why this all happened.  Even stranger is the fact that I show no ill effects from it all.


I asked one of the many shrinks that visited me in the home what he thought my brain would be like now.  He said if they tested me before this happened and again afterward I probably lost ten or 15 points of IQ.  I guess if I was stupid before I’m a real dumb ass now.


 There is no physical indication of why I did it but I think it was because of all the stress going on then.  My body just said to heck with this.  So know I just don’t worry about anything.  Simply put I don’t care and won’t.  No commitments, no responsibilities, I do only what is pleasant.  Now I really must appear to be something to those that know me.


If I was a pain before I’m really going to be disgusting now.  And you know what, I really don’t care.




That’s Music to My Ears

For Josh: In Memory of LCpl. Joshua T. Twigg








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1 Comment »

  1. Bob,
    So, what’s the point of all this? You already told most of us this, in Carolyn’s writing group! I belive, you did, anyway!
    Carolyn, What’s with all the music in between the paragraphs? Was that a typo, or Not?

    Comment by Julia — October 19, 2010 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

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