RERUNNING- Recovering from a near death encounter

One Man's Tale of Dying—And Then Waking Up
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It was a popular trail. There seemed no reason for concern. Yet as they came into view of a waterfall, Patricia stopped again. An awful smell hit her, but Trevor dismissed it. A bighorn sheep had died just off the trail and though she didn't know it, she could smell its decomposing body. Patricia worried aloud about bears, but Trevor's enthusiasm won out and they pressed on up the trail.

Trevor rushed ahead, eager as always to plunge onward. He disappeared round a bend and Patricia hurried to follow. But as she came within sight of him, something was out of place. Trevor was down and a bear's jaws were around his leg. The bear charged Patricia so fast that she could scarcely take it in. Their eyes met for a moment.

Then the bear took her head in its mouth and began chewing. She could feel its teeth scraping across her skull, ripping away her eye and half of her face. Patricia thought of her mother and of all the people who would be destroyed by her death, and she reached up and twisted the huge black nose before her. The bear barked and stood aside. It began pacing in front of her.

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Patricia played dead. Silence fell at last.

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Patricia began to stand and felt that something was wrong with her head. She was in the snow, hypothermic and near death, when hikers came to her aid. Her stay in the hospital was a torture of surgical procedures interrupted by hallucinations, flashbacks and nightmares. The bear was in the hall, stalking Patricia in her dreams. For weeks of that autumn, in , she was completely blind, adding to her disorientation. The bear took not only her skin and scalp but the muscles of the neck that held up her head.

The surgeons took part of her back muscle and grafted it in place as a substitute. Skin from her buttocks was taken to cover her neck and head. That procedure alone took 12 hours. She was informed that her left eye, where the bear had eaten away the cheekbone, would never see or move again. Patricia was A month after the attack, they were able to leave the hospital, to visit her parents. On that outing, it first became clear that Patricia and Trevor were about to take radically divergent courses.

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Patricia's response was terror and shame at her disfigurement. She felt weak and vulnerable, apprehensive that the car would crash on the way home. Arriving at the home where she had grown up, she felt overwhelmed. Trevor was disfigured, too, his head and face crisscrossed with stitches, his jaw broken, his leg ripped open and sewn back together. And yet, as they left the hospital that day, he was singing, despite the fact that his jaw was wired shut.

Again and again, he said he felt lucky and grateful to be alive. One evening, he smuggled a wheelchair to Patricia's room and sneaked her out of the ward to see the beautiful view. That night he said he wanted to get out of the hospital and go ice climbing. Although they had survived almost the same experience, the differences in their responses grew greater over time. Trevor's response seemed to be: I'm a new man. But while Patricia grew thinner, Trevor took a blender to the hospital and put in ice-cream and lasagne, so he could ingest enough calories to gain weight.

By the time they were able to leave the hospital, Trevor was losing patience with Patricia for reliving the incident. Trevor and her parents went out for walks, but Patricia was too afraid to join them. Exasperated, alone in the house, she would shout out loud at herself, "There is nothing out there! Stop it. Trevor voiced his frustration with his wife. They had tried to go on a hike together, but after 15 minutes Patricia was ill with trepidation and had to turn back. That night, she had terrifying dreams.

Trevor had nightmares sometimes, too, but his response was not to think about it. He just put it out of his mind. Trevor forced this hard-nosed logic to dominate over emotion, telling his wife, "We won't be attacked again, Trish. We're predisastered. In the midst of the attack, Trevor recalled feeling distant and philosophical about it. He had seen the bear attack Patricia and was under the impression that she had been killed.

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When the bear returned to attack Trevor for a second time, he later told his wife that he was convinced he'd die, but his only reaction was curiosity. He thought: "So this is how I die.

Expertise. Insights. Illumination.

For example, NDErs were more tolerant of others, more empathic, concerned with social justice, understanding of the meaning of life, appreciative of nature, and had a stronger belief in life after death 15, Gen Hosp Psychiat. An NDE occurs when a person is close to death or pronounced dead. Having a sense of well-being and painlessness; positive emotions. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had. On the Other Side of Life: Exploring the phenomenon of the near-death experience. She told me how sorry she was, but I assured her there was nothing to be sorry for.

Patricia had been more severely injured than her husband, which may explain to some extent the differences in their responses. Because the bear bit into her face, she had repeated operations on her sinuses. Within weeks of each surgery, infection would set in again. More surgery would follow. Her head and face ached all the time. Patricia needed to experience her body healing in order to make progress, and that just wasn't happening. Also, their experiences of the attack had been different in one crucial way. Trevor had had no premonition about the bear.

Patricia had ignored the clear warning she had felt. She and Marshall Johnson worked in the same office. At the annual Christmas party, she saw him sharpening an axe. She thought it odd, but they worked for an oil company that owned a acre farm in the Virginia countryside. Maybe the axe was for chopping firewood out there. Lisette liked Marshall.

As they drove, Marshall asked if she'd ever been out to the farm. She had not. Marshall drove out into the countryside, parking by the farm, then reached into the back seat for the axe. Without having to think about it, Lisette threw open the door and began running across the snow-covered ground in her high heels. She was struggling towards the farmhouse when she glanced back and saw Marshall standing in the illumination from the headlights, looking puzzled. She hesitated. What was that in his hands?

Not the axe. A little box. Lisette walked back, now conscious of how wet her feet were, how terrified she had been. All at once it was a joke. And the flicker of something sinister that she had seen in the car subsided beneath the surface once again. The box contained a necklace. She was the administrative assistant at the company, and he was technically one of her bosses, so this was in keeping with the Christmas tradition.

Even so, Lisette was touched. How silly of me, she thought. And what an odd thing to think, that he wanted to kill me.

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Where had that come from? By October 4 , Lisette and Marshall had been married for 21 years. They had two children, Graham, just turned 10, and Natalie, The psychological and verbal abuse had become extreme. Lisette had told Marshall she was leaving.