Full Interview (40:26)
I am a survivor of Bacterial Meningitis. Ninety percent of people who contract meningitis survive who seek medical attention early on. I had no clue what meningitis was and thought I had the flu. It was October 27, 2006. My wife and I returned from Los Cabos Mexico and about ten days later I started coming down with flu-like symptoms. This was on a Wednesday afternoon. I went through all my appointments and even went and workout. I came home and told my wife I was not feeling well and I was going to bed. I slept all night got up the next morning. I was still feeling bad so I decided I was going to stay home. I laid around watching TV eating crackers and drinking orange Juice hoping that would help. For some reason I decided to get out of bed around 11:30 that night. I was going to take a shower but soon realized I was having trouble standing and walking. I went to get out of the shower and slipped and hit the floor. I managed to pull myself up on the vanity. In looking in the mirror I see all this blood running down the right side of my head. The blood was the only thing that had color. Everything else was in gray scale. Not sure if this had anything to do with what was about to take place next. The last thing I remember of that night was seeing the blood and saying Oh Wow in what felt like slow motion. When my wife Diane and one of my boys found me, I was still standing but gone. I have no idea that they were calling my name and waving their hands in front of my face. Nicky calls 911 and the EMT’s show up and start taking my vitals. My wife was wanting to take me to one of the hospitals out by where we lived. EMT’s said that I should go to the main hospital. I arrive at the emergency room at Parkview Hospital. I was Unconscious, none responsive and septic. This condition on the Glasgow Coma Scale score is about a three. According to the research these patients did not survive. If they did, they had such Neurological damage that they are in a vegetative state. I was in a coma for three days and during that time doctors and nurses are telling my wife that we really don’t know if he will wake up and if he does what state of mind, he will be in. My wife is the most courageous and passionate lady I have ever met. Diane was talking with God and asking that I would survive this. Three days later I was starting to wake up and I could hear people talking. I am in this fog like state nothing is making sense to me. The neurologist tells me that she needs to ask me some questions. First, she asked if I knew my name. I responded with (its Doug) then she asked what year it was. I responded with (it’s 1969) then she asked me who was president I said (Nixon) she asked if I liked him and I said not really. The neurologist wanted to see if I recognized anyone in the room. Good friend of ours, Mark and Colleen are in the room Mark looks a lot like my older brother. I said to him Mike, I haven’t seen you in a long time, what are you doing here. Shortly after that I said, I see you are still dating your girlfriend, Candy. That was his girlfriend in 1969. Everyone is looking at me like I am from outer space. The neurologist wanted to see if I knew anyone else. Just then my daughter walks in the room. I said Hi Audrey and her husband was with her and I said when are you going to marry that guy. They just got married that summer. Why I remembered my daughter I have no idea. Then I was asked if I knew the lady next to the bed. I looked at her and the neurologist told me to come up with a name. I took a few minutes and said April. The first thing Diane said to me, who’s April. I had to think for a moment. Cause the neurologist told me to come up with a name. I responded with, you are and went on to say you are a beautiful lady but I have no clue who you are. Diane just started crying these huge tears. I felt bad for her but I had no idea who she was. They had to do an assessment of my condition. My condition was not good, I looked like I had a stroke on the right side of my body. My face sagged, I lost my hearing in my right ear, my right arm shook like it had tremors, then due to the hearing loss I had no center of balance and could not walk. My cognitive abilities are almost gone. They found that I couldn’t figure out what the next move would be. I had problems talking and putting together sentences. My short-term memory was almost gone. I would wash my hair four and five times and would forget that I just did it. I spent three weeks in the hospital and this entire time I am arguing with this lady that she is not my wife. At the end of the three weeks, I get to go home. The nurse puts me in a wheel chair and starts rolling me down the corridor. I said to her am I going to be alright going home with this lady. She smiles at me and tells me you are going to be fine. On the way home I am trying to tell her which way to go. I have no clue what state, city or road we are on. Diane looks at me and tells me to shut up. I think about this time she has had about enough of me. We get into our addition and then to our home. As Diane is pulling up the driveway, I said to her you live here you must be loaded. She just laughed at me and said you built the house. I told her I had never seen this place before.
Diane has to pick me up and assist me into the home. So, four months I had to be watched 24/7 due to the fact that this is considered head trauma. After about a week at home Diane comes in and sets my laptop down. I asked her what it was and she told me it was my computer. I said what does it do? She said you work on CAD drawings and estimate for the homes you build. She flipped up the lid and hit the power button. The screen lights up and I tell her it’s a TV. She just smiles and asked me for my password. I asked what was a password. It was 1969 for me and I had no idea what a computer was, a flat screen TV, a garbage disposal, Microwaves or cell phones. I was living in the future and nothing made sense to me. It was all very fascinating but frustrating. I started going to physical therapy to learn to walk. They also had me working on my cognitive hoping to get my brain to start thinking what the next move was. Diane had to teach me computer 101. Like what was a mouse, key board and what all those things on the screen are. I’m sure this was a very difficult time for her. She had to keep showing me how the computer worked. After about two months and learning how to play checkers and solitaire. Diane showed me our family photos. I kept going through them trying to figure out who I was and everyone else. I kept noticing that this lady that was taking care of me was in just about every photo with me. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! This was my wife and a flood of emotions just started filling my brain and right then I knew who she was and how much I love this lady. I managed to stagger out to the kitchen and told her I knew who she was. Diane started to cry and put her hands on my face and told me, we are going to get through this.
Fast forward a couple of years. It took me better part of two years to feel like I was myself. During this time, I had never told anyone what had happened to me during the time I was in the coma. I kept this to myself for quite some time. I didn’t want to say anything about it for fear that would just add fuel to the fire. Everyone always questioned me how I was feeling do you remember me. I had to do a lot of faking to get through some situations. I’m not sure of the time line. I was sitting on the couch and I told my wife that something happened to me while I was in the coma.
I found it very difficult to tell her what happened. I started with while I was in my coma, I woke up in to this see of pitch blackness like you have never seen. I was just floating it seemed like. Off in the distance I could see these figures coming toward me. I had no idea what this was and started to panic a little. The closer they were getting I could hear screaming and hissing noises coming from them. They had flames coming off their bodies. These demons are so close that I was terrified as to what was going to happen. Then all of a sudden, I hear this voice! I recognized that it was Jesus and He told me do not be afraid for I Am with you. As soon as Jesus had said this the Heavens opened up and you could see these massive foundations. The colors are so vivid that I can’t describe them to you. Then I felt like I was rushing down and through the streets and the next thing I realize that I am sitting in this quiet and peaceful area. Like I was in grass area. Then I noticed God was saying my name. It was just me and God. God called me by my name. Then he asked if I knew what all my choices do. I didn’t say anything. God went on to tell me that all the choice you make not only affect you but everyone around you. Then all of a sudden, a pond appears. God drops this pebble into the pond. He tells me all those ripples that you see are your choices and they go on and effect endless people. God went on the show me three different choices and how they affected people. I wanted to tell you that when God speaks to you it’s not like how you I communicate. It’s like all of a sudden what he wants you to hear is in your instantly with sound. It’s like a movie and you feel everything like it has emotions. When God had finished showing what my choice would lead to. God says to me I am sending you back. I kind a argued with God. I told him that this place was amazing and that I had never felt such love and peace in all my life and I don’t want to go back. I wanted to explain how Gods love feels. This is not a very good description but I will do my best. God’s love is intense! It’s all around you, its inside of you, its gentle and it’s so powerful. God said to me after I finished my little argument that I’m sending you back because I have something for you to do. God never told me what it was that I was to do. He never told me my purpose. After I collected all my senses and remembered who I was and what I did for a living. I was upset with God for sending me back to this hell. I was going to church but my heart was not in it. I was in the perfect place when I was in Heaven. It took me twelve years to finally get over myself. Instead of always asking God why would you send me back. My wife is so amazing and Diane told me several times you know what you are to be doing. You are to be telling your story to people wherever God leads you. Diane said something pretty profound and God must of be speaking through her. She tells me do you realize how special you are. Do you realize that God chose you out of millions of people who die to send back and do something for him. That is your Father in Heaven showing you love in the best way. God asked you to do something for him. I chewed on that for a while. It was like a light went off in my head. I experienced the father’s love first hand. My father in Heaven showed me what a father’s love really is. For me this was overwhelming to experience that Father son relationship was the best thing I could have ever encountered.
Today I want to tell everyone about what happened. Just know that you have something waiting for you that is better than anything you will ever experience here on Earth. Learn to let go and Let God. Listen for Gods voice, it’s quiet, its peaceful and it’s Powerful. If you are willing, just ask, God will use you for his Glory.
I’m sure you found my Near-Death Experience hard to believe. I didn’t want to believe that this happened to me either. God is very persistent and I kept running from this. God has a purpose for each and every one of us. As believers we believe in an invisible God. We pray to an invisible God. We ask an invisible God to help us with our daily lives. This is a spiritual matter that we are all in together and that is where we are headed once this life is over. It’s not hard for God to make things happen it’s our faith that holds us back.
(Matthew 17:20-21) “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
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I loved my father very much. I didn’t receive it in return. I have four children and each one is different. But I love them all and raised two stepchildren. I treated them with respect and fairness. It wasn't an easy thing to do. I also don’t hold any grudge against my dad. The only reason I brought that into the story was because for twenty five years I had this longing to be loved by him. When my Father Heaven brought me home, He showed me what a Fathers love was. All my anguish and pain is gone. I was wanting to show people how to get past the pain of words and abuse. My advice would be to forgive others, even if they have failed you.
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