Monday, July 16, 2012

What's the closest you've ever come to dying?

I asked folks, “What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?” Here are 21 death-defying stories.

STEVE
Age: 28. Occupation: Bartender.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Steve: "Nine years ago, August 3rd, 2003, I had brain surgery. My skull collapsed, I had three plates put in my head, fell into a coma, damn near pronounced dead at the scene. That’s what happened. While serving with the US Marines.

“Yeah, they told my parents I wasn’t going to make it, and I survived anyway. ‘Cause I’m very stubborn. I was in great shape. Either way, whatever the reason was, I’m still here. But, I got discharged from the Marine Core ‘cause of it, after four years, and I’ve been bartending ever since.”




CHARLES
Age: 30. Occupation: Team leader for School on Wheels.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Charles: "When I was 22, I was shot at, and I got shot in the foot.”




CHRISTINA
Age: 33. Occupation: Stylist.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Christina: "There’s actually been quite a few. Huh. Well, I did tell you how I had spinal meningitis - I actually did die. So, I crossed over, and I saw my grandmother. I was happy to see her. She literally told me, ‘It’s not your time. You have to go back.’ And I was like, ‘No. Why? I want to stay here with you!’ And she said, ‘No. It’s just not your time. You have a lot to do. You have to go back.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to go back.’ And she said, ‘You have to go back.’ And then she and the light went away, and I woke up, in tears.

“How I died: I ‘bradied’ down. Basically what that means is that my heart rate dropped so low that I was technically still alive, but at the point where I wasn’t getting enough oxygen, so that I actually did cross over. But since I still had some sort of a heart rate kind of going, they put a cold press on me, and that’s what jump-kicked me back into... that brought me back. I totally had - I raised up out of my body, looked down, I could see myself laying there, and went up, saw the light, saw my grandmother, and she said ‘Absolutely not. It’s not your time to go. You have to go back. You have too much to do.’”




CHRISTIAN
Age: 27. Occupation: Physician.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Christian: "It’s a toss up. There’s a couple. Probably back in college. I was street racing in one of my racecars. Came around a corner really quick - and it was raining - and I gunned it and lost control, spun out, ended up running into a pole and spinning 6 times. The car was totaled, and I now own a street pole in Santa Clara, California.”




TOM
Age: 44. Occupation: Artist.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
TOM: "Probably when my friend Bryan shot a gun at something and it ricocheted and I watched the bullet land about a foot away from me on the ground. And we laughed about it. I actually have the bullet. Check it out. It’s in my collection here.” (Press play above to see the bullet.)




MARIO
Age: “Infinity.” Occupation: Artist and teacher.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Mario: "Wow, that’s a lot. I’ve come close to dying a lot. I’ve heard bullets zing by my head. My truck got shot up in downtown Phoenix. I don’t know, there’s a lot of them.”




LIZ
Age: 31. Occupation: Entrepreneur.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Liz: "When I was 7, I was hit by a car, and I almost died. My temperature shot up to 106º. I kinda blacked out, so I really don’t remember, but I was told they rushed me to the hospital, and I was thrown in a tub of ice to bring down my fever, and they gave me medication. I remember going home and having to take Triaminic and drink soda, and I got fever blisters all in my mouth. It was horrible. Yeah, my body went into shock. When your body goes into shock is when they’re like, ‘Oh no, are they gonna die, or are they gonna make it?’ ‘Cause your body doesn’t know what to do.”




ALLISON
Age: 29. Occupation: Learning center instructor.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Allison: "I was in a severe car accident, and almost died in the accident, because I was squashed between the car and a trunk. I was going to my car that was parked, and a little person was driving another car and turned the wheel and slammed at my car full force. My intention was to be getting stuff out of the trunk. If I had done that, I would be dead right now. But I decided to get stuff out of the glove compartment first. Therefore I just have really bad back problems. I was trapped in the car.

“On his license, it says that he required glasses to see at night, and since his arms were so small, he went to go reach them and accidentally turned the wheel as he was stretching, which is why his car swerved and slammed into the back of my parked car. He was 3 feet something.”




IKE
Age: 22. Occupation: Mechanic.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Ike: "I was riding on the freeway, by myself in the vehicle. This was late at night, too. An 18-wheeler truck was barrelling down at me while my vehicle spun around on the freeway, and I ended up sideways, perpendicular with all the lanes, and the 18-wheeler was coming down, barrelling. I thought that was going to be it. But luckily, he was able to turn around, everyone stopped, and I was able to start my car again.”




SATOSHI
Age: 27. Occupation: Photo assistant.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Satoshi’s friend (translating): "When he was born, I don’t know how to say in English, but he got turned yellow. That was his most closest to death.”




ABBY
Age: 31. Occupation: Wahine.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Abby: "Surfing. Trestles. It was definitely a 10-foot day. That was the first time I ever got held under that intensely. I was just getting worked. I remember being under the water thinking, ‘Wow. I could actually die.’ I mean, there were tons of people around and stuff- It was fine and I came out on my own without any help or anything like that, but just being held under the water for that long and that harsh for that long, that was intense. That was the first time I ever thought I would die.”




JONO
Age: 21. Occupation: Student and holidayer.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Jono: "Back in Sydney, there’s this place called Blowhole, where you jump up into the ocean. We did in in really big swell, and you have to swim through the blowhole. We were just getting washed around, hitting the roof, very close to drowning. Very happy when I survived.”




TORIN
Age: 22. Occupation: Student and traveler.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Torin: "Surfing. We surf some big waves back home, in the middle of the night, and we’re all pretty drunk and stuff. Could drown, maybe, but we survive. So -” (Makes “hang ten” hand gesture.)




JEZ
Age: 24. Occupation: Chef.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Jez: "We got really baked and then we had lots of nachos and then we went for a swim. Got caught in a rift and got a stitch. Ended up halfway down the beach.”




BRIAN
Age: 27. Occupation: Sales and marketing.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Brian: "I had a job interview in Miami, Florida. When I showed up, the manager I was supposed to meet with was actually in a meeting himself, so they asked me to come back the next day. I was driving down US 1 going south passing Grand Avenue, and a flash came out of nowhere. It was a crackhead who had just stolen a car and was doing anywhere from 60 to 80 miles an hour and ran a solid red light that had been red for over a minute and almost killed me.

“She hit the front left part of my car. I barely touched the back part of the car she had just stolen. She swerved, hit a curve, flipped once, slammed into a telephone pole, and knocked the telephone pole over. The car was on its side. She crawled out of the car and started running. The guy sitting at the light that she had just run decided to follow her and call the cops. Luckily, I wasn’t injured, but she did total my car. She bent the chassis. And she barely hit me.”




CLARK
Age: 25. Occupation: Account manager.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Clark: "I got in a car accident in January where I totaled my car. That was pretty close.

“But the closest one was probably sophomore year of high school. I was on an adventures course, about 30 feet up in the air. And when I called to come down, the people who were supposed to catch me - when I let go of the ropes, and I just dropped straight down - they didn’t catch me, and I dropped 30, 35 feet down. My whole body just hit the ground. I got up on my own and everything, but that was definitely the closest. They thought I broke my neck and everything.”




CECILE
Age: 28. Occupation: Writer.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Cecile: "I almost flew off the side of a mountain in an ATV. But it probably wasn’t as close as I thought it was.” (Laughs.)




TARA
Age: 33. Occupation: Sales.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Tara: "I don’t think I’ve been very close to death. I jumped off a bridge last year that was 30 feet into a river. I think that was probably like the closest I came to doing something really stupid that coulda killed me.” (Laughs.)




INGA
Age: 30. Occupation: “I am a Psychologistwaitress. Both, separately, and together.”



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Inga: "I had viral meningitis when I was 16, so I was in the hospital for a month, pretty close to death, but, you know, not. I’m still here. I didn’t believe that I had it. I mean like, someone told me I did, but I was like, ‘This is dumb. Tomorrow I really want to go for a run.’ And so I just kept thinking that tomorrow’s going to be better, and it lasted a month.

“And I got not scared of needles, because they had to do stuff all the time, like change my IV. So I would just be like, ‘Go! Do!’ So that was the only time in my life that I wasn’t scared of needles, ‘cause now I am again.”




LESLIE
Age: 32. Occupation: Actor, writer, teaching artist.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Leslie: "I choked on a brownie in the middle of the night and got the heimlich from a guy I was dating.”




CAIN
Age: 41. Occupation: Artist.



What’s the closest brush with death you’ve ever had?
Cain: "I was flying down the highway going 90 or so in a little Fiat X1/9. I had the top off, I was flying down the road around 90 miles an hour. I had a blowout, and then somehow my car slid sideways, and then somehow, it flipped up in the air, and I landed upside-down in between the two highways. Ok, that was kind of scary. Yeah, I lived. It was sand. They plowed it just recently. So everything worked out. I lived. Fine.

“So as far as the death of my body, that was the closest I’ve ever come. I don’t even know how that worked out. But that didn’t really scare me, I didn’t have any nightmares about it, nothin’, you know, oh well, fine. So as far as my body, that’s the closest to gettin’ snuffed out. But to me, the most horrifying, terrible fight for my life, almost dying, has only been with women. Fighting for my soul. It’s flat out war. So, I had one girlfriend, and then, so I decided no more of that, I’m not playing that. And then, uh, I have, uh, girls I that have sex with, and then somehow one of those turned into another girlfriend type thing. I had to fight for my soul again. So I’ve almost died twice. ” (Laughs.) “Or at least had my very essence, from my perspective, attacked, and I had to fight for it. So yeah, two times. And, it’s girls.”




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