I was your 9 to 5 average Joe. Living an average life.
The only thing was back when I was young, my dentist had taken a tooth out — I had basically a triangle of teeth, that was crowding my mouth — and in doing so my dentist had cracked another tooth.
We didn’t know for a long while the damage was even there. It happened when I was under 10 and only when I was a teenager drinking losts of fizzy drinks and eating all the crap you do as a teen did it come to light.
I got an infection one day, I say infection it became an abscess overnight, we went to the dentist — the same one, I still trusted them as we didn’t know any different.
They saw the crack and told us about it — the dentist reported I need a few teeth taking out but first I needed some tablets to get rid of the infection! (thats a whole other story).
After 3 weeks, the infection has cleared enough to have my teeth removed. I’m rather needle phobic, so my mum has to sit on my legs as unfortunately there is no offer of sedation.
For about 10 years this was everything, problem solved.
However, it turned out they hadn’t quite done the job and the cracked tooth remained — or another tooth had sheered and then the tooth in half fell out.
Almost overnight I had half a tooth and again an abscess.
Unable to get an urgent dental appt quickly, I visited my doctor and got tablets to reduce the infection — eventually getting an appt for a few days later.
Several times on the way home from work I had to jump off trains being sick and seemingly throwing up what looked like blood — though my doctor had informed me it wasn’t this.
The morning of my emergency dental appointment, about to get a shower, I collapsed with my sick bucket beside me.
Unable to rouse me, my then partner dialed the emergency services who sent an ambulance and doctor.
I don’t remember anything of what happened in the next momements, from the dialling of the emergency services, to getting to the ambulance to arriving at the hospital or what then happened really.
Actually the next few days are all a bit of a blur.
What I do know, is that defib pads were found and we are told I was defibbed at least twice — saving my life.
I do know, I was (probably) dead at that point.
I recall all of 5 seconds in the ambualance waking up and rambling to the crew member saying that I didn’t like needles — only to be informed I already had several in.
At the hospital I don’t remember much from the emergency room, I know I was in the majors room (as i’ve been in the minors room a few times) and the doctors were great with me though a little confused about what would eventually be diagnosed as Sepsis.
As I collapsed — you may expect me to say “I saw the light” or “the pearly gates” but there wasn’t any of that I’m afraid.
As I lay in the ambualance, it was darkness, I didn’t hear anything — but i equally don’t recall much … I was probably high as a kite to be fair.
In the first moments at Hospital I am again not sure where on a scale I was close to death — I drifted in and out of concousness and there was a lot of shouting, sometimes from doctors and sometimes family. Again I didn’t see anything or feel anything.
After my the emergency room I was taken for a rather short stay (a few hours) in a medical assessment bay before being taken to a larger hospital.
Here I remained in an isolation room for a week and half, before being allowed into a general ward having had dental surgery (I have a nice drain scar still).
I was on some extreme antibiotics from the moment I arrived at this second hospital, hooked up to a drip and monitored constantly.
The ambulance service and the two NHS hospitals saved my life over the month I was there — I will always be thankful for this.
The question has always remained with me though…
If I didn’t see or feel anything, and I was (technically) dead — what does that mean?
I know others may disagree — and I’d like to hear your views in the comments.
For me, I don’t see that my time was to die and this is why I didn’t see anything. I am a Chrisitian and believe there is something that comes after, I am not sure what that may be — but whatever that may be may not even show itself until your time comes and until you are truly gone.
One day I am sure we will all find out for sure.