Saturday, November 7, 2015

Unpacking from a Trip to Heaven

For months, I've clung to the idea that one of my favorite pair of sandals were still in a hidden pocket in my suitcase. Keith had unpacked it when I was in my coma, and it was understandable that he might miss them in that fraught time. After all, surely I couldn't have left them in Sicily--we checked all the drawers and shelves as we packed up from the hotel. But when I was writing my latest post for the Secular Spectrum, I was forced to check the suitcases. They were indeed missing from those hidden pockets. Gone forever, since it's unlikely the hotel would've kept them for two years.

I think the opposite happened when Eben Alexander "unpacked" what happened during his near-death experience. I think many of his "memories" became distorted by his later research and other influences.

As I've said before, memory is not like Memorex; it's more like Play-Doh.

Here's the link to the post: Unpacking from a Trip to Heaven

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Coma Girl

Coma Girl

Not a miracle recovery, but a miracle of modern medicine

In 2013 I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died after I contracted legionella. The Legionnaire's disease was in turn triggered by immunosuppression caused by the prednisone I was taking for my rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.

I suffered a series of strokes on both sides of my brain when the sepsis caused my blood pressure to plummet. I fell into a deep coma. My kidneys and lungs began to fail, as my body was began dying one organ at a time. My doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. They expected me to die, and even if I somehow lived, I would remain a vegetable or at best left so hopelessly brain-damaged that I would never be same. But unbeknownst to them, while they were shining lights in my eyes and shaking their heads, I was telling them in my coma-dream--my secular version of a near-death experience--to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep. I was experiencing what is known as covert cognition, the subject of my Skeptical Inquirer article "Covert Cognition: My So-Called Near-Death Experience," which appeared in their July/August issue.

But it wasn't a miracle--despite what so many continue to believe--that I recovered so fully. I owe my life not to God, but the miracles of modern medicine, as well as the nature of the watershed-area brain damage I suffered, as I detailed in my article and in this blog.