Doug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a child, I had frequent respiratory and airway infections.
One cool Fall day, I awakened with a fever and sore throat, accompanied by a cough. Mom, a nurse, checked me over and kept me home from school. When the pediatricians office opened, she called and made an appointment for later that same day. I could not eat, and my mom was worried it might be Strep throat. At the time of the appointment, we drove downtown where the pediatrician’s office was located and took the elevator to his floor.
As a young man, it was such a treat to go up the elevator, where an attendant controlled it by a hand-wheel.
We checked in at the desk. Curious, I sat down to look at the large aquarium they had in the office, marveling at the graceful fish and their beautiful colors. Soon after, we were called back to the office by Gail, the nurse. Time to once again sit on the crunchy paper while my temperature was taken with an old glass thermometer.
Gail popped it out of my mouth, ogling it as she said, very matter-of-factly, “I thought you felt hot, kiddo. Your temperature is 101.6.”
I coughed a little bit as Gail notified us the doctor would be in shortly.
I kept going back and forth from hot, to cold, when the doctor finally made his way in. A friendly man, he said hello and came right over, removing one of the tongue depressors from the drawer beneath the exam table. I opened up wide, as most kids do at the doctor’s office, and said, “AAAAHHH!” I felt the tongue depressor slide back, holding my tongue down, and tasted the familiar flavor of the wooden blade.
“Well, its not Strep this time, but you have a good sinus infection, and its turning into bronchitis.” He moved over to the cabinet in the room and removed a bottle, pouring the liquid into a small measuring cup. It tasted nasty, so I chugged it down fast.
Afterward, the doctor pulled out the prescription pad and began his usual writing routine. He told me that it was Penicillin. Shocked, mom stood up, explaining that I was allergic to penicillin. He said it was probably not a true allergy; rather, a sensitivity to one of the ingredients.
She remarked, “Well, the last time Doug took it, sheets of skin were peeling off his back.”
It was too late, because he’d already given me one dose of it. But, he doubted it was going to cause a problem, reminding her to call him if I complained of itching or feeling nauseous.
He then discarded the prescription he had written and prescribed a different antibiotic.
He smiled his usual bright smile that always reassured me, “You’ll feel beetter in a couple of days,” as he patted me on the back.
Just a little bit later, mom asked if I wanted to stop by Rike’s, which was the department store right next to the office building. I loved the store, the nicely dressed staff, the beautiful clothes and all the wonderful smells. I told my mom yes, because I was feeling okay at the time.
We walked slowly over to the store and mom quickly picked up the item she came to buy. Afterward, we stopped by the candy counter with all the wonderful candies in the glass cases.
Mom bought me the usual special treat: meltaway mints in pastel colors. I asked for two since I could hardly swallow. Happy, and with our business completed, we headed toward the exit near Main street.
As if something hit me, I immediately stopped, my mints tumbling to the floor. Mom looked at me and asked what happened. I mumbled, “I feel really funny..” as my voice trailed off. It was like the floor had opened up and I was falling…falling off a precipice into nothingness.
My next awareness was mom yelling for help, but she sounded strange. I looked, but could not see her. It was then I became aware that I was above her looking down. I was up by the ceiling, quickly taking glances back and forth. For some strange reason, I wasn’t afraid of heights like I normally was, although I was at least 12 feet in the air! In fact, I felt more well than I had in some time. My sore throat was gone.
Without warning, I saw my body lying on the floor, but it was not moving, and I sure looked pale.
Strangely, mom was holding my wrist, moving her fingers to the edge of my neck. I called out, but it was apparent she couldn’t hear me. It was when I called again that I witnessed her blood curdling scream for help. Folks began to crowd around us. I was horrified, not knowing what happened…. until I heard a sound, and felt a presence–a very wonderful sense of peace and wholeness in the presence of this new person.
I glanced up at the nice man and said, “I want to stay here in this wonderful place.” But he had a different idea.
His smile could have lit an entire room, as he said, “I have made arrangements for you. You will be allowed to come back, but it won’t be for a long time.”
I peeked behind the man, noting many people looking at us. He seemed to read my thoughts, “There are many people here, Doug. Someday, when the time is right you will be allowed to meet them. But now is not your time,” he paused. He drew my attention to my mother. Pointing at her, he said, “You must go back.”
She was pulling up my shirt, pressing on my chest. I remember feeling a pull at my body and felt myself being drawn back in. The man was fading as I said goodbye, and I was aware of the movement growing quicker. In a flash, I remember opening my eyes and seeing my mother.
Tears plummeted to the floor as she cried, “Breathe! Breathe, Doug! Oh, please just breathe!” Her voice broken with desperation.
I was gasping as I found myself back down on the floor beneath my mother’s tears. She was still crying, exclaiming that she thought she had lost me. I told her I was safe with the nice man from the ceiling. She did not hear me, instead, she just grabbed me and pulled me close to her.
In a few minutes, the emergency medical staff came and lifted me up to the stretcher. They took me to the ambulance, parked right outside the door.
Something was different that day. I had peace unlike any other, and I knew that one day, I could go back to that special place where I was known. Not only was peace, but a love that I still cannot convey in word or action. I don’t think my parents ever understood what I told them about that experience, so I soon put it in the back of my mind and got on with my young life.
Only when I read a book about out-of-body experiences, and read one such account, did a light bulb of understanding go off in my mind. The experience described was very similar to what I experienced that day. I did not know the man was Jesus at the time, but that is the reality of what I believe now. One day I will return to experience what that man told me so long ago, but this time I will not have to leave.