My near Death Experience

Or how I learned to stop worrying and hate seafood.

Okay. so I always disliked seafood, especially shellfish like crab or lobster. It just tastes nasty like it’s been too long in the refridgerator. More on that coming up.

My dad died young, while I was still in the oven. He was a gifted musician, and came home from directing his new TV show on classical music, and dropped dead of a heart attack. All my life I have been on the watchout, and when I woke one morning with chest pains, I went to the hospital to check them out.

And having been an EMT in my past and knowing all the rude things they would do to me in an ambulance, I took a cab to the hospital.

The ER was slow as normal, but when the nurse got to me and asked what my problems were, and I said chest pains, I was in a room in about 30 seconds. They hooked me up to all their gizmos, and I lay there awhile, while some crazy woman screamed her head off.

They decided to do a stress test, and as I had pains they did it by medication. Hard to describe the feeling when the doctor injects drugs in your IV to make your heart race. Unique is how I will put it. But it did not go well, and they decided to go in and take a better look.

So the next morning, I found myself in the cardiac catherization lab so they could do a minimally invasive procedure to determine if I had a blockage. They asked all sorts of question, can you describe the pain, are you dizzy, are you allergic to seafood. And so on. They put me in a gown with no undies, going commando fellas. And shaved my thigh.

They wheeled me in the gurney into the Cath Lab, and talked to me about what they were going to do. Which is go in thro0ugh my femoral artery with a camera the size of a horse, through a hole big enough to fit said horse. With a collogen plug when they finished so I don’t bleed out.

They would insert a probe, and inject some dye for contrast, and see what they see.

Those beds in the cath lab are hard as rock, and they are very uncomfortable, but I had my own monitor so I could watch the whole thing as you’re awake during the process. They poked the hole, and started threading the probe up through my system (which felt weird, not enough nerve endings to be more distinct) to the heart.

Once they got there, it looked kind of cool, and they injected this cloud of dye, and all hell broke loose. I went into immediate tachycardia, my heart racing faster than it could withstand. That stress test? That was a scooter. This was an Indy car. I thought my chest was going to explode, uuntil it all stopped and the world went black.

Next thing you know I sawe this bright light, and someone spoke in my ear, words to the effect of not yet. I turned around, and I was lying on the table, the doctor calmly remonstrating the nurse over something I missed, and told her to just do it like she trained.

Another nurse was doing compressions, and all the while this voice in my ear was telling me not to be afraid. All the while the lines on the monitor were flat. The other nurse got out the paddles, and put gel on them, rub them together, and hit me on my chest.

I have had foot surgery, knee surgery, woke up in the dentists chair during a root canal, and nothing prepared me for the pain I now felt. The world went black, the doctor calmly gave instructions, turned up the juice, and hit me again.

All the while I hear a voice telling me not to worry, it’s not my time, all will be well.

They turned the juice up again, and hit me once more, and my heart started back up.

I lay there on the table, eyes open, the world black. And slowly like water draining, the black drained away and I could see the world again. It was like someone pulled the plug and the glass emptied, I could see above the level of black, and as it drained I could see more until the level of black was gone.

I then spoke my immortal words to the doctor and nurses. “Ouch.” Literally.

They wheeled me back to my room, gave me some grape juice, and let me lie there as I cried or laughed at whatever anyone said to me. A limp dish rag was much stronger than I was. For a time I was so wiped I had no control of my emotional responses. None. Another weird sensation.

Later the doctor came in and asked if I ate seafood. I said no, the stuff tastes nasty like it’s been in the fridge too long. He then informed me that i was allergic to shellfish. The contrasting dye they use is high in iodine, which is extracted from the shells. When it hit my heart, that was all she took.

I have talked to others who are allergic to shellfish, and good number of them also hate it. My body is tellling me not to eat this drek.

And that’s my story of the day I almost died. Really very little embellishment. I really said ouch.

My doctor said once I flatlined my brain ceased to function, and that I couldn’t see or hear. But I gave him word for word the conversation that took place between him and the nurses, and he said that can’t be, and left me to recover.

And one of the reasons I make quick decisions now. And get that bass. Cause life is too short. Eat dessert first.

@Old_WannaBe @Jazzbass19 hope this is satisfactory


Fantastic story @Wombat-metal - thanks for sharing…


As an epiloge, I have seen the Mythbusters episode on defibrilators, and some of that they got wrong. I had third degree burns where the paddles made contact with my skin.

And if you ever decide to flatline, the cath lab is the place to do it.


Wowsa - what an experience. I am really glad it all turned out well in the end. And … I gotta say, if you don’t write for a living, you should. I was on my seat edge - told superbly with the right measures of suspense and detail, and a dash of humour. Glad you’re still here.

EDIT: I’m also going to buy that new bass I’ve been procrastinating over.


What a story and sad to hear from your dad. Glad you are still alive and kicking!

But did you ate seafood prior for your chest pains or was it an accumulation of years of seafood?


That’s an amazing experience, thank you for sharing it.

I’m really curious about this attitude from your doctor.
Was he at least willing to confirm or deny your version of the interaction between the team?

“That can’t be” seems a very unsatisfactory response if your version of events correlated with his own recollections.


Thanks, @Wombat-metal . . . I’m quite familiar with the nuclear stress test myself, and I had a friend who did NOT come back from that routine angiogram procedure. :frowning:

Glad you are able to tell us about it today, and at least you know (albeit the hard way) what you are allergic to.



The doctor wasn’t willing to confirm, but one of the nurses from the procedure came by after and wanted to know about my experience, and my recollection seemed to match with hers. She was almost interrogating me she was so interested.


Sorry to hear that. And I wonder how many times they would have hit me with the paddles if the third time did not work. I have been in similar situations from the other side when I was an EMT and its not many. I think it was a close run thing.


I don’t know . . . on all the medical TV shows I’ve seen, they go 2-3 times and that’s it.

My heart is good but I’m dying of something else :roll_eyes: . . . I had a stress test and a cardioversion in prep for other surgeries I had last year and up to now.

I’m really interested in the NDE and hope it will be pleasant for me when my time comes in a few months, so I’m trying to gather up all the info I can find in the meanwhile.

Thanks again for sharing and good luck to you!



Holy crap, Joe. I had no idea. I’m really sorry to hear this.


OMG, what a story, and you told it so well. Glad to hear that you’re back from the brink.

I’m curious to know though, what those “rude things” are that are done to you in an ambulance that would have you opt for a cab ride in a situation like this. :grimacing:


Hey, @howard . . . no problem . . . I didn’t want to say anything until I was 100% sure because of stalling and confusion from my doctors. Now I’m sure. :roll_eyes:

I can send you a PM if you’d like . . . just let me know.

Thanks, my friend.



No bueno.


Oh Joe @Jazzbass19 this is very sad to hear.
Hope you are doing as well as you can and in very little pain along the way.
We area all here for you in the bass-t possible way we can be sir.


My ex-wife was a cath lab nurse for many years. They will keep going till you stop coming back.

One time they hit a guy, I think it was 17 times. He had PTSD from it and couldn’t sleep afterwards. Every time he would start to fall asleep, his brain thought he was going to get another shock.


I can see that. Those shocks are something


@Wombat-metal man, what an experience. Thank God you’re ok.

@Jazzbass19 … you’re in our prayers my friend.


Cool story-you made it through!

Catherizations suck for sure. I forget how many I had after I joined the zipper club in the 70s, but morphine may have been involved, so I got real sick coming down afterwards. And one time my inner thigh bled out after being the first on the table in the morning. I’ll never forget the lime jello I was eating as my bedsheet turned dark red with my blood. I just pushed the nurse button and continued my journey through the jello. When done, I applied direct pressure with my sheet and blanket and the nurse showed up. Sucked ass for sure, but I’m over it now. The surgery was apparently a success :grinning: and now I play passive bass and continue to lead an active life.

I wish you only the best and thank you for sharing. And I still dislike jello.

Sucks you still got something else going on… Stay strong!!!


@Wombat-metal - glad all worked out well…
@Jazzbass19 - sorry to hear that you’re going thru something - wishing you all the best.