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So, The Second Time I Almost Died...

With election coverage being the entirety of what's taken up the last two days, and my brainpower, I definitely forgot to write the follow up to my previous blog about the second time I came close to death, and how it effected the way I perceived the paranormal.

This one is not nearly as dramatic, and took place several years after the first NDE, when I was 28 or so. I went in for a routine tonsillectomy at a local surgery office, the kind that takes patients for minor surgeries instead of doing it in a hospital. All was well and fine, and I had had no specific or worrisome breathing issues prior to my appointment. I even quit smoking well before the surgery (shame on me, sure, but I'm simply human, and come from nicotine addicted parents which has been lifelong for me). Without any health issues, the surgery began with me getting an IV drip of anesthesia, and slowly going to sleep and being wheeled into the suite to have my tonsils removed.

That never happened. I woke up what felt like seconds later in the recovery suite, and immediately started hacking and coughing. The nurses came over and told me I still had my tonsils, but they were glad to see me awake. I wasn't quite sure what that meant, and my body was sore and I felt like I'd come down with a burning chest cold.

They wheeled me to a private area behind some curtains, retrieved my mom, and informed us I'd had bronchial spasms on the operating table as soon as they tried to intubate me. With the breathing tube half inserted, I'd started convulsing, basically, and since I was under anesthesia, I wasn't waking up. I basically had a severe coughing fit while asleep and instead of actually coughing, I was choking and involuntarily spasming.

I had to go home that day, with my enflamed tonsils, a sore throat and chest, and severe nausea and dizziness from heavy anesthesia and then being drugged awake rapidly. Upon a followup appointment to my ENT doctor, I was informed that had the best anesthesiologist in the state not been at my side that day, I definitely would have died.

Around 2 years before it happened. Look at those un-inked arms!

While this second situation didn't carry nearly as much emotion as the first NDE, the full weight of what happened really hit later. But what also hit later, is a complete 180 in paranormal belief from when I'd began investigation back in college. I didn't have much belief left at all, is the thing. I felt very *blank* when it came to thinking of the afterlife and paranormal phenomena as a whole - as though I didn't really trust much of what I'd experienced before that (minus a couple undeniable experiences), and I didn't trust those around me or their experiences either.

I can't quite explain why after I woke up from this unsuccessful surgery, why I felt so unbelieving, but it persisted. It would wane over time; I'd re-evaluate the things I'd witnessed and feel I couldn't deny it, and then that feeling of blankness would back up again, often during or after an investigation. It's like I just gave up wanting to try to experience the paranormal, and looked at everything so skeptically I couldn't find the heart to give investigating a solidly earnest try. Not to mention the team I was on was full of shady characters full of horrid backstories, selfish personal agendas, and ridiculously over-the-top fakery. None of that made investigating, or maintaining a passion for the paranormal, easy.

The only way from a physiological perspective that I could attempt to explain this is through the chemicals used in the anesthetic process of my attempted tonsillectomy. There are drugs to sleep, and drugs to forget. The drugs to forget left my mind blank and completely without memory of what my body had gone through while I was unconscious. I can only wonder at this point if that emptiness of time and space was the only thing I could think to draw on as far as "is there more when we die."

And while I was and still am aware that the lack of memory was the effect of a drug, it may have just been so profound for so long after it happened, that my mind couldn't identify anything else to support my previous paranormal beliefs. It's as though that nothingness was an affirmation of a potential nothingness when we pass on from this life. Even though that's entirely anecdotal and based purely on my short, scary experience in a surgical unit, the anesthetic is the only logic I can apply to it.

If my shift in perspective was a product of the psychology of learning I'd come so close to death, then I have even less insight into that process than the previous one. I'm not a psychologist, and a couple courses in high school and college don't count to give me some sort of informed, educated guess on how that complete and sudden lack of belief would have worked itself into my brain.

It took years to build back my beliefs, differently than before and with far more caution and awareness, and I can say I went about it far more skeptically. My perspective didn't have a chance to gain strength much over the immediate several years, since the paranormal team I was on only got more twisted, bizarre and full of narcissists as the months went on until I quit, and took a year off from the paranormal altogether.

Upon Full Dark coming to fruition and investigating over the last several years, my beliefs have turned around a lot, and continue to stay fluid and ready to be torn asunder and rebuilt yet again, if necessary. I think that's the only way to go about the paranormal at this point in my understanding (or lack thereof) of it. Hopefully, nothing about my paranormal beliefs require another NDE to alter or expand them! I do not have answers, and I do not endeavor to find them, whatever they may be in the vastness of unexplained phenomena. I don't think anyone has THE answers, I think they, we, only get our OWN answers. My love of experiencing the strange and unusual, and my want to interact with it, keeps my passion alive and well.

Thanks for reading,

PS: Good thing I had health insurance during both of my NDEs or I'd be in the hole in debt. Thanks to Obama, that is. Not the garbage in office as I type this.


I'm Amy L. Bennett-Bradway, a writer, multimedia artist, recovering archaeologist and YouTuber from Upstate, New York. I've been invested in all things strange and unusual since my dad gave me the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy when I was way too young. Along with my husband, Ryan, we've explored countless haunted locations in the US and abroad in search of the Weird.
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