How he describes life after death is absolutely beautiful.
Donna Penner could still hear the typical sounds of the operating room when she woke up after surgery. She was completely relaxed, relieved that it was over, when she heard three words that froze her heart.
It was 2008 in Manitoba, Canada, and Donna, 44, was in surgery to find out why she was bleeding so much during her periods. The operation involved three or four small incisions in her abdomen, as reported to the BBC.
But what started as a normal procedure turned into a nightmare that would be Donna’s scar far beyond the time it would take for her to recover.
Originally, Donna fell asleep from the anesthesia as usual, but when she heard those three words from the surgeon, Donna realized the horrible truth: she was waking up during surgery.
I couldn’t move or speak
Although the anesthetic hadn’t worked, the part that was paralyzing her had worked, which meant there was nothing she could do: speak, scream, cry, move, or open her eyes.
“I felt him make the first incision, I have no words to describe the pain – it was horrible ,” Donna said.
Stuck and horrified, Donna couldn’t help but be in agony as the surgeon continued. She constantly prayed, sang to herself, and thought of her husband and children to try to take her mind off the pain.
“I was in a state of sheer terror, I could hear them working on me, I could hear them talking, I felt the surgeon making those incisions and pushing those instruments through my abdomen,” Donna said in her interview for Outlook on the BBC World Service. “I felt her moving my organs while I was exploring, I heard her say things like, ‘Look at her appendix, it’s very pretty and pink, the colon looks good, the ovaries look good.’
To make matters worse, I was suffocating
Patients who are given a paralytic like Donna (a common thing when working on the abdominal muscles) are also given a breathing tube.
Donna’s heart rate was up to 148 beats per minute, but with the breathing tube, she could only take seven breaths every minute.
His lungs felt like they were on fire.
All attempts to get the doctor’s attention
This operation (and pain) lasted an hour and a half. During that time Donna did her best to get the surgeon’s attention. She managed to move her foot, but was never verbally acknowledged.
He finally realized that he could move his tongue!
The anesthesiologist noticed her playing with the breathing tube down her throat and, thinking that the paralytic had disappeared, removed the tube.
Now, Donna couldn’t breathe at all, but then something miraculous happened
In the midst of this excruciating agony, Donna died. She left her body.
Donna is a Christian, and she said she wasn’t necessarily in heaven, but she wasn’t Earth. This is how she describes it:
The noises from the operating room were in the background, he could still hear them, but it sounded like they were far, far away.
The fear disappeared, the pain disappeared, I felt warm, I felt comforted and I felt safe, and instinctively I knew that I was not alone, there was a presence with me, I always say that God was with me because I knew absolutely without a doubt in my mind that He was. There next to me and then I heard a voice saying, “Whatever happens, you’re going to be fine.”
Donna begged the presence to let her die
The pain and horror he suffered on the operating table was too much. I didn’t want to go back.
But as soon as she left her body, she returned. The operating room was full of noise, the nurses yelling at him to breathe. Eventually, they manually forced air into her lungs and Donna’s lungs received sweet relief.
When Donna told the surgeon what had happened, he was horrified. Her eyes filled with tears as he took her hands and apologized.
Donna was deeply traumatized, and went directly to a therapist. She couldn’t remember what day of the week her first date had been, because she was so affected by the disaster.
One patient in about 19,600 surgeries wakes up during surgery, and women are more likely to experience this than men, according to a 2014 study. Unlike Donna’s experience however, the majority of these patients (about 75 percent) are only awake for less than five minutes, according to CNN.
Now, nine years later, he tells his story. She doesn’t want to point fingers. She only tells her story to increase understanding.
From time to time he tells his story to anesthesiology residents. She said that there are usually several who cry while speaking to them.
“I want to raise awareness, and help bring something good out of this ordeal,” Donna said.
Translated from its original version in English Woman wakes up right as the surgeon is about to cut into her; unanble to move and breathe, she dies, visits heaven and returns by Mariel Reimann