The night of August 18th, 2011, my heart stopped and I flat-lined. My heart had stopped beating at home that night, and then I flatlined numerous times at the hospital where I was clinically dead several times.
Earlier that night I had taken a nap and gone into a deep sleep.
A dear friend of mine, Tony, was somehow moved to phone me even though it was late, a thing he had never done before. I woke up with my heart going crazy, almost stopping. My wife called for the ambulance and the paramedics got to my home in ten minutes flat. The hospital is less than half a kilometer from my home and so I was there in five minutes and got attention immediately—which was fortunate because if my friend of some thirty five years, had not phoned me when he did from George, South Africa, some thousand miles away, to where I live in Johannesburg at the exact moment that he did—I would never have awakened and would have died in my sleep. I am sure fate moved Tony that night to phone me at such an unusual hour. Tony never phones me so late at night but his phone call woke me up, saving me from dying in my sleep. In my deep sleep I was unaware that my heart was going wild in my chest, stopping and starting in a life and death struggle that was quickly approaching real death.
My phone was right next to me by my bedside , so even in my distressed state I was able to pick it up and somewhat answer, which woke me up. Tony could hear over the phone that there was something really wrong going on with me. He said over the phone "Alan you don't sound right, are you okay?" I replied "No!! Tony! Something is very wrong!! You phone back a little later."
I put down the phone and could feel my heart actually starting and stopping in a most frightening way and I became deathly pale and started to sweat profusely. I did not realize at this stage how very close I was to dying. It was very scary when I looked at my daughter, Desiree, and saw her actually becoming dimmer because my brain was being deprived of oxygen. I began to move in and out of consciousness so when I saw Desiree in the passage, I called out weakly for her to tell my wife that I was dying or having a heart attack. I don't think my wife, Denise, believed me at first, but after one look at me with my face pale and sweating body, she immediately called the ambulance which hurried to our complex.
In the hospital while being resuscitated on the table, my heart finally did stop due to a total AV heart block. I was revived but then my heart would stop again. I went through the whole drama of flat-lining over and over. Adrenaline and atropine were injected directly into my heart, then chest compressions until I was shocked by the paddles of the defibrillator—then repeated in their desperate attempts to get my heart to keep beating.
After going in and out of consciousness, I recall very little of what happened to me that night. I only regained full consciousness the next morning in the intensive care ward and noticed a temporary heart pacemaker had been connected to my heart to keep me alive. It would be a couple days before for my Cardiologist would be able to fit me with a permanent pacemaker under my skin in my chest wall. Both sides of my ribs and torso were bruised and very painful to touch. It hurt to breath for many days after this event due to the trauma to my body during those three long hours of life and death struggle while they worked on me trying to resuscitate me.
As I slowly recovered, I began to remember bits and pieces of strange things I saw while alternating between consciousness and seemly going elsewhere each time my heart flat-lined. Then when my heart started beating again I would come back to a vague consciousness during the attempts at resuscitation. When it seemed to me I was about to enter a black void, I recalled telling one of the doctors that I was dying and they should let me go. I remembered the doctor answering me, "No one dies on my table!" and maybe his words gave me hope to fight for my life. At this time I did not think of my family or wife or children, I was absorbed with my survival.
Each time the doctors got my heart to beat again I was drawn back to the earthly world and vaguely remember being on the table with people pricking me with needles all over, my arms and hands. I floated in and out of consciousness, into the Other-World and then back to this one until I was finally stabilized.
When on the other side of life I saw a beautiful pulsating orb of golden light that I took for the essence of all that is good and pure because it emanated perfect peace and love. He might have been Jesus. I did not experience a tunnel or meeting a being of light, however, at another moment I came to a large dark cave with countless people sitting in the dark gloom. In front of them was an enormous evil entity so pitch black that it seemed like tar and did not reflect any light at all. When the Golden Orb approached it, it shrank and pulled away and I wondered if this dark entity was Satan.
When I was elsewhere on the other side, I saw a huge tree with numerous books all around its trunk. I tried to read what was on the covers of these books that I somehow knew contained all the answers to my questions, those I had posed during my life on earth as well as knowledge and mysteries of existence and things to come. "Was it the Tree of Knowledge of Good?" I wondered. There was only one very large book which I think consolidated all that was in all the smaller books. When I tried to lift the large book, it was too heavy to carry and I decided to leave it there under the tree and return later for it. Maybe when I finally die, I will go back to that beautiful tree and retrieve this book which I think might the "The Book of Knowledge."
During the moments that I flat-lined, I sort of went through the back door of a colossal mansion and I saw numerous people all gathered to welcome me. Although I did not see him, I thought about my beloved dog, Bully, who had died fifty years prior and I remembered the many dreams I had when I felt his loving doggy presence. Wherever I was, I think that some of my beloved passed over people were there with me. It seemed like a welcome home party, or something similar to a wedding reception.
If I had any doubts about life after death, I have none now! Each time my heart stopped, my soul or consciousness left my body and went into another existence—beyond physical life I believe.
I am 73 years of age now and would not have minded if I had died then, but I suppose there must be some things left for me to do here, because a whole lot of favorable coincidences made it possible for me to survive. I really came as close to death that night as possible, without actually dying, and yet brought back by a great team of doctors, to live again and be with my family and friends a little longer.