1. "When I first learned to surf, I got knocked off my board. I was one of those kids that HATED having water in my eyes, and my goggles filled with water. I panicked when I opened my eyes, which stung from the salt water, and when I tried to come up, I hit the board and couldn’t come up around it. I couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, and sucked a whole bunch of saltwater up my nose. My instructor saw me fall and got me out pretty quick."
2. "When I was 15, I had a horrible one-in-a-million accident that almost cost me my life and left me blind in my right eye, all thanks to a FUCKING ICE CUBE! I was at a friend's house about two blocks from my own with a couple of other friends with no cell phones. I was in his kitchen getting some ice, but he didn't have the ice dispensing fridges you mostly see today; instead, he had those ice cube trays that you fill with water, freeze, then crack to get the ice out. Well, when I cracked it, a piece of ice flew out and ricocheted into my open right eye, causing it to pop like a blood-filled water balloon. The shock must've been so bad that I passed out because I awoke to a foggy silhouette of my friend holding me for dear life as he rushed down the street from his house to mine so I didn't lose any more blood."
3. "In 2013, I had the worst asthma attack of my life, where absolutely no air was getting through. I couldn't even cough. I thought that I was going to die. The last thing that I remember was my coworkers saying that my entire face was cherry red. The next thing I knew, I was up in an ambulance. I was in the hospital for like six hours getting breathing treatments. Not being able to breathe is the absolute scariest feeling I have ever experienced, and I used to go unconscious for hours due to a heart condition. Not being able to breathe was worse than my heart rate randomly going down to 10 beats per minute. I'm just very happy that it happened at work. If it had happened while I was home, I would have died."
4. "My family had an RV when I was a kid and we would travel to different states and camp at different campgrounds. One day, there was this weird smell in the camper and my dad thought it was just the onions so he threw them out. We all started to fall asleep one by one, and eventually, my dad realized the gas from the stove was leaking into the camper."
5. "I was in a car crash a few years back. I remember two clear thoughts as my car hydroplaned: 'This could be how I die,' followed quickly by 'Oh well, as long as it doesn't hurt too much.' Fortunately, the seatbelt and airbag came to my rescue and I walked away with a fractured humerus."
6. "When I was 17, I developed an irregular ovarian cyst. It was growing pretty quickly, so my doctor scheduled a surgery to remove it. He said to come in if I felt a sharp pain, which would mean that it had burst and we could cancel the surgery. A few days later, I felt a sharp pain, so I went in for an ultrasound. It was still there, so they sent me home. A few days after that, and about a week before my surgery, I felt it again. I decided not to go in since it was the same pain I'd felt earlier. I went in for surgery the following week, and when they opened me up, they saw that not only had the cyst burst, but part of my ovary had ruptured and my body wasn't flushing out the fluids. I'd been bleeding internally all week. If I had gone in when I felt the pain, they would have seen that the cyst was gone, and likely canceled the surgery. I then would have died either from internal bleeding of my ruptured ovary, or sepsis from my body not flushing out the cyst."
7. "When I was a teenager, I was in a serious car accident. All I remember was waking up in the ER with blood all around me. The next thing I remember was at 12:30 a.m when a friend came to see me in intensive care. It turns out, I was ejected from our car after an 18-wheeler ran our car over. The skin on my left upper arm and my right shin were completely gone, and you could see the bones and muscles. I also had a depressed skull fracture. A few days after that, I threw up lots of blood. I had started to bleed internally and the doctors missed it for five days. After painful skin grafting on my left arm, shoulder, and right shin, plus surgery to secure my depressed skull, I did recover. Every day, I look at the scars that I have from this accident. I was so much more fortunate than our driver. He was ejected from the vehicle and dragged down the highway between the last two wheels of the 18-wheeler. He passed away two days later just down the hallway from me in intensive care."
8. "A few years ago (pre-COVID), I had bronchitis. One morning, I woke up feeling especially lousy — coughing, short of breath, with a pain in my chest. I would have just assumed the bronchitis was getting worse, except that I also had a strong sense of impending doom. Not even anxiety — just a certainty that something was terribly wrong. I woke my husband and made him take me to urgent care. When they realized that my pulse oximeter was hovering around 80% when it should be close to 100%, I got an ambulance ride to the local hospital and a diagnosis of viral pneumonia and bilateral pulmonary embolisms (multiple blood clots in both lungs). If I'd stayed home, I likely wouldn't have survived the night. Thanks, Impending Sense of Doom!"
9. "I was drunk at my friend's bachelorette party where we were on a river and I decided that it would be fun to jump off the boat for some reason. Obviously, the current was much, much stronger than my dumb drunk ass realized. I caught a branch and figured out at that moment that I had made a very grave mistake and was just holding on for dear life trying not to go under. I still remember to this day three years later, even with how drunk I was, the exact thoughts going through my head: 'I’m going to drown because I’m drunk and my parents and friends are going to be so pissed at me.' My friends were not happy with me when I got back on the boat. I’m sober now, and if you have done something like this while drinking, it might be a sign to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol."
10. "In 2007, I had 25% of my liver removed due to a tumor. It's such a risky surgery that I went directly to the ICU instead of the recovery room. My husband was sitting beside the bed when he saw all of the indicators on the machines slide down to zero and loud alarms started going off. My room was filled with medical professionals and he was shoved into the corner. I had no pulse, no respiration, no response to the sternum rub, nothing. Medications were pushed and they were just about to start compressions when I came back. It turns out that it hurt so much just to breathe, that my brain over-rode life preservation and told my lungs to stop inflating. Very scary!"
11. "A friend and I went to see the northern lights in Iceland. It was close to midnight and pitch black. When we stepped off the tourist bus, our guide warned us to stay close and make sure that our eyes adjusted to the darkness. I stepped on a rock as I got off the bus and thought that I should kick it out of the way for the people behind me. As I was kicking the rock over and telling people to be careful, I fell down a black Icelandic rock ravine. I didn’t go as far as it felt, but while I was tumbling down I thought that I was a goner because I couldn’t see anything around me and everything was spinning."
"Luckily, my friend was behind me and said that I basically just disappeared out of the light. Another person on our trip saw me vanish, turned on his phone light, and was able to help me back up the hill. I only had a few scrapes and a jammed finger, but I don’t think the tour bus driver even knew how close he was to a drop-off. The moral of the story is always listen to your tour guide!"
12. "I had been one of the lucky ones who got to drive even though I was diagnosed with seizures at 15 because I only had partial. Four years ago, when I was 30, I had an absence seizure that got me to drive over my exit on the freeway that curved, over the on-ramp coming onto the freeway, and into the section where there were bushes, grass, and trees. I rammed into the trees and totaled the decent car that I bought three months prior, and walked out dazed and lost. I was near my home and wandered. Someone else saw it and called the police, But I should have been killed by the impact and by the smash. I walked out, and only got burned by the airbag in minimum damage, and could no longer drive. I still cannot believe it."
13. "I don't know why I have so many stories for this, but I have choked on spaghetti so many times, like at least five. I’ve got quite good at just keeping calm and reaching into my mouth to pull out individual strands until the right one comes out of my airway."
14. "I almost died when I was 21. I was going through my second round of chemo treatment at the infusion center when I had a severe allergic reaction to the chemo. First, I felt itchy and uncomfortable all over, then my vision suddenly went black even though I was awake. The nurses had me lie down and put an oxygen mask over me. I later learned that my breathing slowed because my airways had started to close, causing my heart rate to go up. I wound up passing out and getting intubated."
"What they don't tell you when they intubate you is that you can still feel pain and your nerves still work, even if you're unconscious. They had to intubate me twice because the first time, they weren't able to gain access to my airway. I passed out after that and didn't wake up until over eight hours later, in the ER. My parents were by my side and later, the doctors came in and explained what happened. I still feel so fortunate that when the reaction occurred, I was in the hospital and the medical team was able to respond right away."
15. "My mom and her entire family almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning when she was a kid. There was a gas leak in the HVAC in the new addition to their house. My mom and her brother passed out in the house, and their parents got them in the car. My grandma passed out while my grandpa drove to the hospital. He collapsed in the ER doorway. Luckily they were all ok; even the dog made it out!"
16. "I suffered for many years with endometriosis that was not yet diagnosed, which meant lots of different surgeries to deal with all of the collateral damage. When it was finally diagnosed, they treated me with all kinds of medications that eventually eroded my G.I tract. The result almost cost me my life. One morning, I was awakened by my ex-fiance, who heard me 'gurgling,' and looked into my eyes, which were open but 'there was no one home.' He sat me up, and I started vomiting copious amounts of blood. The ambulance was called and I was rushed to the hospital. In the emergency room, I kept losing consciousness with intermittent projectile vomiting of more blood. The gastroenterologist screamed in a panicked voice, 'I'm getting you to the OPERATING ROOM RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW!'"
"I flatlined twice on the operating table, was 'paddled,' then 'cracked' and resuscitated. To this very day, I am a teaching case at that hospital as 'A G.I. patient who came that close to death and actually survived.'"