Terrifying Close Calls

March 12, 2024 | Violet Newbury

Terrifying Close Calls


There are two things in life you can count on: death and taxes. Though we don't recommend cheating on the latter, we can't say the same about the former. After all, narrowly escaping one’s demise is the ultimate triumph in life. These people shared some near-fatal experiences that left them shocked, shaken, and happy to be alive.


1. Running Out Of Time

At 25, my roommate talked me into training for a 10K trail run. I started vigorously training, lost some weight, got some decent conditioning, and about a week before the run, I made a terrifying discovery: There was a small amount of blood in my urine. I went to the urgent care, they took a sample, didn’t see anything unusual, and the doc chalked it up to “jogger’s hematuria,” which is somewhat common.

The doctor told me to pause my running for a bit, and it would clear up. I decided to continue training and finish my run because I had worked so hard. I figured I would stop for a couple of weeks afterward to heal. I finished my run with a decent time, about the middle of the pack. I quit running and waited. Nothing was clearing up. If anything, it was getting worse, and the pain started to accompany the blood.

Then, it got darker and darker until clots would come out. Being dumb, I was still going off the doctor’s original claim that it would clear up on its own. That was a HUGE mistake. One night, we decided to go watch Avatar in the theaters, and I got a large drink. I held my pee throughout the movie because I didn’t want to miss anything. After, I went to the bathroom and felt dizzy.

So, we went home, and I laid down to rest. In the middle of the night, I had to pee again, so I got up. There was so much blood it was like a murder scene. I finished, and as I was walking back to my room, I passed out.  Luckily, I hit my roommate’s door on my way down, waking him up. He got me up, and we went to the ER.

After multiple tests and a CT scan, they discovered a tumor in my bladder that had grown to 6 cm (2.4 in). Every time I relieved my bladder, the pressure burst the blood vessels supplying it. I had four units of blood transfused. The doctor said I was lucky that I didn’t croak right on the floor of my apartment.

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2. Impaled By An Impala

I was 20 and on my way to work on a Saturday morning. I had a ’95 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Driving behind me was a mid-2000s Chevrolet Impala. He was swerving all over the road. He’d get right up on my rear bumper, swerve, fall behind, swerve, speed up, and repeat. I tried to ignore him and kept driving. Eventually, he fell out of sight. I thought I'd seen the last of him. I was so wrong.

I finally came up to the parking lot, which was just over the crest of a hill and on the left. I was waiting for traffic to clear to make the left turn. I had my wheels turned so I could hit the gas and get into the parking lot. While I was waiting, I saw something fast come up behind me in my rear view. It was the Impala absolutely FLYING up at me. I didn’t even have time to say anything before suddenly, everything went black.

I woke up being stretchered out of an ambulance in the worst pain of my life. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Then, the lights went out again. I woke up one more time to what felt like my right armpit on fire. Then I went out again. I finally regained full consciousness in a hospital bed with a chest tube in my right side, an IV in my left arm, a neck brace on, and excruciating pain in my chest, head, and neck.

My parents were both there, and one of the first things I remember saying was, “My car’s totaled, isn’t it?” Then I finally learned the whole story. The Impala driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel and pressed fully on his accelerator pedal. He hit the rear end of my car at an estimated 75 mph. Because I had my wheels turned, I was pushed into oncoming traffic.

A brand new Toyota RAV4 smashed into my passenger door at an estimated 50 mph, causing my car to whiplash around in the opposite direction it was rolling. The impact was so hard that it tore my rear wheel off and sent it a quarter mile down the road. They found parts of my rear brakes in a tree. The passenger door was touching the center console.

The front bolts for my seat had been sheared out of the floor. Initially, first responders thought the reclining mechanism had broken because I was laid back in the car. I suffered six broken ribs, a punctured lung, a severely sprained neck, a nasty concussion, a perforated eardrum, and various other relatively minor abrasions. Aside from the half-deafness in my left ear, newfound motion sickness, and occasional neck stiffness, I’d say I made a full recovery.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

3. Lack Of Wisdom Almost Did Me In

When I got my wisdom teeth taken out, I got IV sedation. The next day my IV arm was a little sore. The day after that, it was sorer and a little red, so I called the oral surgeon. He said it was fine and told me just to take some Advil. The next day it was even redder and sorer. I again got the same advice from the oral surgeon. The next day, the redness was tracking up my vein, and the oral surgeon said it was OK.

Thank god I got a second opinion—it saved my life. The nurse firmly told me to drop whatever I was doing and go straight to the ER. When I got to the ER, they skipped me ahead of everyone in the waiting room and went straight back to put different broad-spectrum antibiotics into each arm. They also started me on a third one in pill form because I had a blood infection.

I specifically remember them saying, "We don't have time to figure out WHAT it is. We just need to kill it".

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

4. Are You Kidneying Me?

I had bought my first business. I'd never owned a business before, but there I was, writing checks for $50K each week. I was watching my bank account dwindle to a few hundred bucks, only to hope checks would come in the following week. Then I did it all over again, but then the next week's payroll was due. It took me a couple of months to get comfortable with the routine.

A few months later, I was writing checks for $50K each week, but almost no one was paying me. All my big customers were in NYC, and NYC was shut down. I was completely stressed. My wife told me that we needed life insurance because of the business, and I thought that was a good idea. The life insurance company said I needed to get a physical before they would insure me, so they sent a nurse to do blood work.

She told me that my blood pressure was high and I should get it checked out. Normal me would have been like, "Yeah, whatever." But for some reason, I made an appointment for a physical at a regular doctor. I went in, and they also did blood work. The next day I got the blood test results from the insurance. I saw that page—and my stomach dropped. ALL of my kidney numbers were through the roof and bad.

I called my regular doctor, and she said it had to be an error because no one with those numbers would be living, let alone upright and coherent. They told me to come in the following day when their bloodwork would be back, so I did. The doctor came in with an ashen face and asked me if I was feeling OK because, according to what she saw, my kidneys were nonfunctional.

I spent eight days in the hospital, bringing my blood back from being poisonous. I was told I had a few days left if I hadn’t gotten to the doctor. I was then put on dialysis three days a week and waited for a kidney transplant. It turned my life completely upside down.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

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5. It Was A Total Gas

I was bathing in a closed room with a gas water heater that was on because someone else was showering. I woke up in my birthday suit on the kitchen floor with my parents standing over me, looking freaked out. I had gotten gassed, and they had to break the door down when I wasn't answering their calls.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, LHOON

6. Water World

When I was 33, I had started gaining a lot of weight when I wasn't even eating a lot. I was losing energy and was getting short of breath fast. Finally, I realized something was very wrong. I went to a doctor for the first time in five years, and they couldn't believe it. My blood pressure was 185/149. I was admitted to the hospital, and when I was lying down, it felt like my head was underwater.

Over the next four days in the hospital, I lost 54 pounds of water weight. I was in kidney failure and had congestive heart failure. Today I take meds for blood pressure and feel a lot better, but I still have to take pills to get rid of excess water.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

7. To Pee Or Not To Pee

I was healing from a severe concussion. I lived alone and was unconscious for two and a half days. I didn’t have any food, water, or meds. My bladder forcibly releasing brought me out of it, and my legs were all mottled. The next day, as I was still processing what had happened, one of my toes was grey. My bowel movement the day after I came to was filled with blood.

If the absolute need to pee and realization of peeing the bed hadn’t brought me to, there’s no doubt I wouldn’t have made it.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

8. All Hope Was Gone

I was diagnosed with systemic stage 4 double-hit lymphoma. I was lucky that it had not spread to my brain, but the doctor told me that I had basically no hope. Nine months of chemo later, unbelievably, I was in the clear. I 100% thought that I was a hopeless case. I had even erased all of my social media accounts and prepared both my will and DNR documents.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

9. Second Time Around

I had appendicitis that progressed into a ruptured appendix. I endured an extremely painful surgery that failed, so I had a second surgery that, fortunately, was a success. The surgeon flushed all my organs to minimize the risk of blood poisoning. Fortunately, the antibiotics won. It was scary thinking about what could have been if I had waited even one more day to go to the doctor.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

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10. Fridge And Tunnel

It was 11:30 at night, and I had just finished up a work project. It was slightly rainy out, so roads were slick. There was an officer with his lights on at the side of the road, so I was a little distracted. Suddenly, I saw a refrigerator. Someone had dropped it from their truck but evidently didn’t care about leaving it in the middle of the road. I don’t know why I didn’t see it or react sooner, but I did enough to swerve out of the way and lose control of my car, spinning into a guardrail and light pole.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Alan Stanton

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11. The Dunes Almost Did Me In

I was swimming out to a boat that was coming in with food for us. I was worn out from running on the sand dunes for a couple of hours. I didn’t make it halfway to them before my muscles were completely giving out, and I was getting bad cramps. I tried to float on my back but was breathing too heavily to float. I was about to drown. I waved my arm up in the air, signaling I needed help.

To my surprise, a speed boat saw me in trouble from the shore and quickly unanchored and rushed over to me and saved my life. Two guys jumped in to grab me and pulled me into the boat, and helped me meet back with my friends. I hugged both of the guys, as these strangers definitely saved my life.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

12. Hang In There

I'm a heavy sleeper, and never wake up until my alarm. For some reason one night, I just had a weird feeling, so I woke up and got out of bed. I went out to the living room, which is upstairs in our house, and my husband had left the window open. I went to close it and saw my cat hanging off the outside window sill, trying to hold on and panicked! 

I grabbed her and helped her in. She's an indoor cat, so we probably would have lost her even if she somehow hadn't been injured. I still have no idea why I woke up in the first place and went in there!

Cats factsMax Pixel

13. Heads Up!

The day after my favorite manga was released, I was on my way back home on my moped when I saw a slow 20-tonne truck and decided to pass it. When speeding up, I hit a brick and fell...with my head directly landing under the truck's left upper tire. I blacked out for a second or two, then woke up to the sound of the tire pushing on my helmet.

It sounded like sandpaper being scraped together right beside my ears. I sprang up immediately and was very relieved that my head was still where it belonged. Ten years later, I still had PTSD and never tried again to overtake any car, even if it was slow.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

14. I Made It Back

I had fallen down a deep rabbit hole of addiction and used a little bit too much in a gas station bathroom. I passed out and slid into a backbend position between the wall and the toilet. Paramedics came, and they couldn’t find a pulse. They struggled to safely move me out of the position my body was in. The whole time I felt like I was just floating in some dark void like the bottom of a well.

People's voices around me sounded almost like I was underwater, and I seemed to have no concept of time. It felt like I was just out for a couple of seconds, but it was several minutes until I was fully conscious. They revived me, and the near-death experience scared me so bad that I never touched the junk again.

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15. The Big Squeeze

I was around seven years old and eating an orange after school. Our friend’s older brother, who was 13, was watching us until our parents came home. I started choking and ran to the fridge looking for water.  My young brain couldn't comprehend what was happening until I ran into the living room. Thank heavens this 13-year-old knew the Heimlich maneuver. I definitely traumatized him, though, because he was so panicked. 

He saved my life. I still get nervous eating oranges, and it's been 20 years.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

16. Walk Of Life

I was walking to the local supermarket with my dad. Everything was absolutely fine until we came across the last traffic light on the way back home. The light turned green for us, but the second I started walking across the street, some idiot in an Audi completely ran the red light. He was only a few centimeters away from hitting me at 80 km/h or so. If it weren't for my dad warning me, I probably would've landed in the hospital—or worse.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

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17. I Almost Got The Ax

I was working in a power boiler doing inspections of welds on tubes being replaced. The vertical walls of the boiler are made of 2" pipes with 0.5" of steel "membrane" between them to space them and seal between them. The replacement tube that was behind me was about 30' tall and had the membrane attached already, so it looked like a 30' weird battle ax that was poorly attached in place with a piece of wire.

The wire broke, and this giant ax tube almost chopped me in half. The looks on the people’s faces to the right of me were terrifying. I didn't see it, but I heard it hit the scaffold tube behind me and felt the shock and the wind off of it. One boilermaker tried to catch it as it fell and lacerated his hand. I still can't get the look on my friend's face out of my mind as he thought I was a goner.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Green Energy Futures

18. Slip Sliding Away

I was hiking the Angels Landing trail at Zion National Park with a friend. The weather was gorgeous, and although it wasn't peak season yet, the trail was relatively busy. There were spots along the trail where you were only a few feet from a thousand-foot drop. We had to step aside to let some people come down the trail. We were standing on pretty smooth rock with a short, gentle slope down to one of the drop-offs.

Suddenly, I felt my feet start to slide backward. In a moment of sheer panic, I flung myself forward and grabbed the ground. My friend, not realizing what had just happened, snapped a pic as I stood back up. In that photo, you can see the stress and sheer terror on my face. It was the best hike I had ever done, but when that trail is busy, it becomes exponentially more dangerous.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

19. Spared From Landing In The Gutter

When I was 16, I was naive. I went to a house party, and the plan was to do a little drinking and head to the bowling alley for music and more drinks. Not knowing how to drink, I drank like the guys on TV did. I slammed three straight drinks in about a minute. I got really trashed, puked on myself on the way to the bowling alley, and people just left me in the parking lot in November in Canada.

One of the kids came out for a smoke and saw me. So, they called my mom and stepdad to come and get me. After puking again in the back of the car, they couldn't wake me up, so they took me to the hospital. They had to pump my stomach and give me a few bags of warm saline to bring my body temperature back up.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

20. What A Bloody Mess!

When I was fourteen, I developed very severe thrombocytopenia as a side effect of a medication called Depakote. I would get bloodwork done every six months to make sure my body was okay with the meds I was on. However, the place doing it wasn't checking everything they were supposed to. By the time anyone realized what was wrong, I had lost around 85% of the platelets in my blood.

I also had dropped from 170 pounds to 105, had frisbee-sized bruises in multiple spots from stuff barely hitting me, and liver damage. My body was basically falling apart on the inside. Most of the stuff healed over time, but the liver damage was permanent. I'm still angry about it two decades later.

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21. Someone Deliver Me From This Evil

I went into preterm labor with my first kiddo. I went into the hospital, where they found I was progressing really fast. It was a bad pregnancy, and I hadn't received the care I actually needed. At the hospital, they transferred me to a birthing room and then started me on contraction stoppers and a whole bunch of meds to try and stop it. It didn't work as fast as they had hoped.

I ended up dilating to a seven while sitting at a zero station. It was excruciating. I could reach down and feel the baby’s head. They had the contractions holding every two minutes, but I had stopped dilating. The issue was they had done so many checks on me I had gotten an infection. I was in the hospital for two weeks in that condition and was progressively getting more ill.

I was vomiting every day, still battling contractions at week two when they had the nerve to send me home. At discharge, I was running 104° fever. I couldn't walk because I was so sick. They literally had to load me into the car. I remember looking over and crying, begging my husband to take me to a different hospital for help. He drove me to a different hospital, and they wheeled me in.

I don't remember much after that, but I remember being transferred onto the bed by the EMTs and the OB/GYN running in and holding my hand. She grabbed my hand and held my face, and told me she was going to save us and to trust her. I was later told I was so out of it I was begging to have someone save the baby. I was 34 weeks pregnant at that point, and they couldn't get the baby's heart rate.

They ended up taking the baby, and we both came very close to not making it—to the point that they told us they were amazed we survived it. I have never fully recovered from it. Without that OB/GYN, I don't believe we would have survived the delivery. It was that bad.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, World Bank Photo Collection

22. Mama To The Rescue

I was the stereotypical man who refused to seek medical help. I allowed a condition to get progressively worse over 12 months until, finally, my mother had to yell at a doctor to get her to admit me to the hospital. It was a good thing she did. 

My blood results were all over the place, and my large intestine had become so inflamed it had all but closed up. I spent eight weeks in the hospital and had several blood transfusions and an insane amount of meds before I was back to being somewhat normal.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

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23. Prophecy Fulfilled

I got blackout trashed at a party in my own home. I mistook the basement door for my bedroom door, as they were right next to each other, and fell head first down the stairs. I hit my forehead on a protruding nail, almost taking out my eye. I landed in a pile of glass at the bottom of the basement that was there because we liked to smash glass bottles down the stairs as college kids do.

I was knocked out cold. I got over a dozen stitches on my forehead—and somehow—no brain damage. The funny thing was that when we moved into this house, I commented how someone was going to fall down the stairs thinking it was my bedroom door and not the basement.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, evan courtney

24. Dad Didn’t Know Best

One night when I was about 12, I woke up in pain. It was not excruciating pain, but more like awful stomach cramps you occasionally get. I thought nothing of it and kept on for a few days until about 11:30 PM on a Saturday, when I started to double over in pain. My dad just yelled at me when I complained about it hurting and told me to go to the bathroom.

I did, but five minutes later, I doubled over again in pain. This time, however, my mother took me to the hospital to make sure I was okay. When we got there, I was tested and got an MRI scan to make sure after they originally found nothing. We were told it was my appendix, so we left the hospital, and I was told not to eat hard foods for a bit while they cross-test.

We got home, and after a few hours, the hospital called and said I needed surgery immediately. After the surgery, I was informed that if my mom didn’t take me to the hospital when she did, I would have had about a day before it burst and most likely done me in without our knowledge of what happened.

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25. Treading A Thin Line Between Life And Death

I had been feeling off for a few days, but nothing too weird. I left work on a Friday at a normal time and decided to do some shopping. I started walking to the shops and threw up everywhere. I took two more steps and barfed again, and again, and again for seven days. I was eventually convinced to go to the doctor. The GP took one look and immediately sent me to the emergency room.

They ran blood tests and gave me something to stop throwing up. I was on all sorts of drips and antibiotics as they thought I had a serious infection, but it turned out I didn't. Instead, I found out I had a 14 cm (5.5 in) blot clot in a vein in my chest that had blocked the blood flow to both my kidneys and my liver. When my blood tests came back, my hematologist turned pure white.

I was put on some heavy-duty blood thinner that was so powerful that I started bleeding from thin membranes on my skin, nose, and eyes. I was about two hours away from complete organ failure. The extreme blood thinners helped enough to get me out of the immediate danger, but I still had a huge clot in my chest. Two months later, the clot was still there.

The blood thinner wasn't strong enough to clear it, so it was decided I needed surgery. They put a stent into my vein and used a balloon to break up the clot further. It took two and a half months to recover from the clot and another month to recover from the treatment.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

26. I Was Stumped!

When I was 20, I was at my friend’s house party.  He lived in an orchard. He had a big tree in his yard atop a hill. Below the hill were hundreds of stumps that used to be orange trees. The tree had a rope swing with a bike handlebar at the end. I had swung on it hundreds of times, so I had no fear of it. It was night, so it was pitch black out. I went to take my turn.

I did a huge running jump over the slope of the hill—then it happened. The rope snapped. I went flying hands first into the darkness. I can still hear the quiet wind as I was going down, knowing I was going to smash my face into a stump. I braced myself, hoping my arms could take the hit, while I swung my head out of the way. Somehow, I landed hands first between all the stumps without a scratch. I stood up in shock as 20 of my friends came running down screaming. I don't do rope swings anymore.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

27. Do The BART, Man

When I worked in San Francisco, I commuted to work by bus—the view of the Bay was beautiful traveling over the Bay Bridge. One morning, I got an eerie feeling as I looked out at the water from the bus, so I decided I'd take the BART train home after work instead of the bus. 

As I was walking home later that day, the 7.0 Loma Prieta earthquake hit. A section of the Bay Bridge collapsed. I'm thankful to this day that I decided not to return home on the bus, or I would've been on the bridge.

International Bart stationSuzette Leg Anthony, Shutterstock

28. Spear And Present Danger

When I was 18, we were cutting trees in our backyard. I stood on a ladder, and my parents would pull on a rope we had tied around the trees at around 6 meters (20 ft) high. The chainsaw we used was old and dull. Since there were about 50 trees that needed cutting, it took a few days to get it done. One day, my dad came home from work and had a brand new chainsaw with him to use for the last ten trees or so.

He instructed me to be very careful, given the new chain would be sharp and the machine would be stronger as well. So, he started the saw and handed it to me while I stood on the ladder. He then went to join my mom in pulling the rope. Being naive, I just started to cut right away, thinking, “How much faster is this really going to be”?

It turned out to be a lot faster. I was cutting this 50 cm (20 in) tree, and it only took mere seconds compared to the minutes it took with the old saw. My parents had not yet given me the OK to start cutting when the tree was already moving, but towards me, not them. The branches pushed me down the ladder, and the tree fell to my right.

It was a close call, and I was happy to be still in one piece. I was wearing cutting protection trousers and a jacket of the same material and had a couple of bruises. However, when standing there, I felt my left arm incredibly stiff and could not move it. There was a rusty fence pole about 1.5 meters (5 feet) high that had ridden up the inside of my jacket sleeve. Twenty centimeters (8 inches) to the left, I would have been a kebab.

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29. Where In The Sand Hill Did That Come From?

I was swimming at a rock quarry with a bunch of friends in college. My buddy and I were walking on a slope that looked like sand at the top of the quarry. It was about 30 yards from the top of the slope to the bottom and at the bottom of the slope was about a 50-foot drop onto big rocks. We started to go across, and we both slowly started sliding. I'll never forget that chilling feeling in my gut.

It was some layer of pebbly stuff on top of a hard, dry surface. It was such a slow slide that we were trying to shove our feet in, lay flat and claw our fingers in it to stop, but we just kept slowly sliding down. About 15 feet from the edge, I saw an 18-inch sapling of a tree just starting to grow on the slope within arm's reach.

I got to the tree and, as gently as I could, used it to slow me down over four feet of slide. I then reached over to my buddy and grabbed his hand, and he did the same thing I did, slowing down ever so gently but using my hand. We stopped about 10 feet or so from the edge. We then took our time to claw and kick-step to the top. I always think that some bird ate a seed and pooped two months earlier just to save our lives. It was the only little sapling growing on that entire slope.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

30. I Had Some Fighting Spirit

When I was 20, I miscarried. My doctor instructed me to go to the ER, which I did. They gave me something in my IV for pain, which I had a reaction to. After that, they left me in the exam room alone for several hours. During that time, I continued to bleed heavily. That, combined with my reaction to the meds, made my heart rate and blood pressure drop.

I was 100% awake and aware, but my motor skills were messed up. My balance was off and my speech was garbled. I dropped my call button and could not get help. I also had repeated hallucinations. I saw ants crawling over the ceiling and walls, on the bed and me, a shadow demon standing at the foot of my bed telling me I was dying, screaming shadow souls coming up out of the room's furniture, and my deceased grandfather holding a flaming sword to lead a legion of angels to send the demons away.

Meanwhile, in my more lucid moments, I watched the clock and was horrified to realize I had stopped breathing. It had been almost 90 seconds since my last breath. Then I felt my heart slow down and was counting two seconds between beats, then three, then five. When my then-husband came in, I could hear him but couldn't even open my eyes to look at him.

He said I was blue, unresponsive, and cold. He shook me, smacked me, and slammed me into the bed, screaming my name, before I turned my head and mumbled, "I'm dying, but it's okay. It doesn't hurt." He started making a fuss, and my room was full of medical staff. They got my permission to do an emergency D&C because I was dangerously close to bleeding out.

When they moved me to the transport gurney, I dripped blood across the floor. There was a puddle on my bed from my shoulder blades to my knees that was an inch deep. Later in the recovery room, they gave me a second dose of the same meds. My blood pressure and heart rate tanked again. The scariest part was that they left my husband in charge of getting me dressed and SENT ME HOME LIKE THAT.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

31. A Real Life Cliffhanger

I was riding my motorcycle in the mountains, took a turn too wide, and hit the dirt on the shoulder. There was an instant low slide from traction loss, and my bike and I slid off a cliff. The bike hit a pile of rocks and flipped up in the air and off the cliff. I slid just past the rocks through a gap and narrowly missed some trees on my other side. I fell off the cliff, and it was about a 5-foot drop with another 20 feet or so of the slightly sloped ground.

I stopped sliding at about an arm’s length from the edge of that. I looked down and saw at least 1,000 feet of a 90-degree vertical drop. Had I gone one iota faster, I would have been a goner. Even luckier was that my bike flipped up from hitting the rocks and got caught in a tree mid-trunk. I was able to save it by pulling it down with a rope from a truck that stopped to help. I had no injuries at all due to my helmet and full-body leather suit.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, driver Photographer

32. Hammer Time

I was 12, and the neighbor had some work to do with a sledgehammer in front of his house. I went to give him a bottle of water and watch what he was doing. In one second, everything was in slow-motion. He struck the metal thing he was hitting with the sledgehammer at a wrong angle, and the hammer started to come towards me. 

I was 3–4 meters away, but it wouldn’t have made a difference if my neighbor wasn’t holding that big thing well. I froze. He then politely asked me to go home since he almost turned me into mashed potatoes and would like not to.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPicryl

33. They Had The Gall To Say It Was Nothing

When I was 16, I got sick and couldn't eat. Doing so was extremely painful. I began passing out from eating food because it was that painful. Doctors didn't take me seriously and told me it was anxiety and to go to a psychologist for therapy. I started being unable to keep food down at all and was in pain constantly. A couple of times, I vomited blood and couldn't stay conscious.

Doctors kept calling it anxiety until I was 18It progressed to the point that I was bedridden for four months and was slowly starving. Two years after I first got sick, a gastroenterologist finally took me seriously. My gallbladder was failing and taking me with it. I also had severe GERD and IBS. The doctor got my gallbladder out of me and took my appendix too, to boot.

He ran down a list of meds, which I couldn’t take, so I was left disabled, thanks primarily to medical neglect.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

34. The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall

I weighed 130 kgs (287 lbs) and fell off a third floor. I landed on my right side and broke my humerus into two parts as I instinctively tried to break the fall with my arm. I shattered my pelvis and had nerve damage on my right leg. After a two-month hospital stay, four major surgeries, seven months of bed rest, 33 titanium parts in my pelvis, a rod in my humerus, and my family support, I was back up again.

However, I still had to live with a drop foot on my right leg, which was rectified with a foot brace. The doctor who fixed me up told me it was unbelievable that I survived the fall without damage to any vital organ, backbone, neck, or skull, but I did.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

35. Tide Is High

When I was in my teens, I went to a popular beach with my best friend, Liane. It was at Southern Down in South Wales. A typical day spent trying to get a tan and ogling the guys. For some reason, we had made our way along the edge of the cliff face, but towards the end of the day we realized the tide was coming in.

We then found ourselves almost cut off from the rest of our group. We had to clamber up and over rocks with waves crashing around and into us, before finally managing to pull ourselves to safety. I remember the looks of horror from others on the beach as we made our way back—I was covered from head to foot with long shallow bleeding scratches. 

Galileo Galilei factsWikimedia Commons

36. On The Wrong Side Of the Bed

My mother, sister, and I were driving down to Florida for vacation. We were driving behind a car carrying a flatbed behind it. On that flatbed, there was a mattress. That mattress was held down by a SINGLE bungee chord. A small gust of wind was all it took to pick the mattress up, dislodge the bungee chord, and send it onto the interstate, where it lodged itself underneath our front right tire.

We spun out all lanes and off the road, where we were able to come to a stop finally. A witness who pulled up told us that we narrowly missed a massive truck by mere inches. Somehow, despite all of the cars on the road and us spinning into every lane, we didn't get hit once. None of us were hurt, and somehow our car didn’t sustain any damage.

Even though we were lucky, it took us all several days to get over the shock and process what happened. The only other thing I remember from that day was that the woman who was in the car that carried the mattress was trying to laugh off the whole thing like it was no big deal. It still infuriates me that she tried to downplay it.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr,

37. Menacing Meningitis

I woke up in the middle of the night with a headache. An hour later, I couldn't walk on my own, remember how to talk, or hold onto anything with my hands. I alternated between vomiting and screaming because my head hurt so bad. I was hospitalized for meningitis. I spent a week in the hospital, plus a day a week later for a minor relapse.

I had six months of short-term memory loss that was so bad that I couldn't hold a conversation and needed reading glasses for several years due to optic nerve damage. There are still entire people I knew well before this that I have no memory of when other people mention them or show me photos of them.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

38. Semi-Shocked To Be Alive

Two days before Christmas, I was driving a big dump truck and trailer with steel poles. As I was coming down to a three-way intersection, I saw a person coming down the side street a little fast. I watched her as we both got closer to the intersection and realized she wasn't going to stop. As I went through, all I could do was hope she slowed down enough.

She T-boned me right in the truck’s pivot point with the trailer, making me jackknife, which threw my trailer into oncoming traffic and right into a semi. When the trailer hit the truck, it threw me back the opposite way. I was jackknifed and threw the truck over on the driver’s side and cab first into his trailer. I was buckled in and sat there for a second, just amazed I was alive and seemingly in one piece. I climbed out of the passenger window, jumped off the truck, and walked away.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Cristóbal Alvarado Minic

39. Forbidden Fruit

When I was three, my mom would take me for walks in the park near our home. One day, my child brain thought it would be a great idea to pick some fruit off the ground that fell from a nearby tree. My mom said she turned around for a few seconds, and when she looked back at me, I was gasping like a fish on land. She did the Heimlich maneuver on me and saved my life.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, anjanettew

40. Those Surgeons Were Heroes

When I was eleven, I had sudden hearing loss in my right ear. It turned out I had a brain aneurysm and tumorous mass on the right side of my head and was given six months to live. The tumor complicated the operation because it wrapped around my jugular vein and facial nerves. If they bumped or cut anything, I could have lost my life or had paralysis. And that didn't take into account the aneurysm. 

I had a sixteen-hour operation with three surgeons and somehow managed to survive with no residual effects.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

41. We Were Almost Up A Creek

When I was about 4 or 5, I almost drowned in a river during a storm. My mom and I were knocked over, and the life jacket wasn’t helping. I was pushed under a current of water, and so was my mom. I don’t remember exactly what happened next, but from what my mom said, some dude grabbed both of us out and carried us to shore. When my mom got herself together, she went to thank the man, but he was nowhere to be seen. She said it was our guardian angel, and I believe it.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

42. My Cousin Cracked My Skull

When I was around four years old, I was at my grandparents’ house. I had a small drivable jeep that my cousin and I would ride around in. As I remember it, I told him I was getting out to go get something. He didn’t hear me and jerked on the pedal. I was standing up when he jerked it. I fell headfirst onto the asphalt.

I cracked my skull from the back to the right side above my ear. If it had broken it any further, I wouldn’t have made it. There was still a chance I might have lost my life. It was either losing my life or paralysis, and I luckily got neither. The only lasting effect was that I became permanently deaf in my right ear, and neither hearing aids nor cochlear implants would help.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

43. It Was Almost The End Of The Road

When I was 17, I was drinking with friends when somebody put something in my drink. Everything went black. One of the guys told my friends just to leave me on the sidewalk. My best friend told him to take a hike and carried me home. She helped me vomit while I was passed out and helped me to drink water. My friend told me I vomited for hours. I could have choked if no one was around to take care of me.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

44. Driven To Distraction

I was driving to work when my father went into cardiac distress next to me. The next thing I remembered was hitting my head on the roof of the truck and lying on the grass. I tried to get up but couldn’t stand. I tried dragging myself and couldn't do that either. The next thing I knew, there were paramedics over me, trying to get me in a neck brace and on a backboard.

I remembered thinking, "It's hot, and the sun’s in my eyes." There was a flash of being inside an ambulance, inside a helicopter, and landing on the roof of a hospital. I remember asking a nurse where my dad was. I remember telling her not to lie to me. When I finally came to, I was strapped to a bed, with a breathing tube in, a neck brace on, and my dad was gone.

I broke my neck, all my ribs, my collar bone, the left side of my pelvis, my left wrist, and my lungs were filled with blood. They didn’t know if it was the heart attack or the accident that got my dad. I was 24, and my daughter was eight months old at the time. Luckily, she was at home with a sitter. As a result of the accident, I limp if I push myself too hard, I lose feeling in my right hand, and I am in constant pain, but they didn’t expect me to make it out of the ICU.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

45. Asleep At The Wheel

Years ago, I fell asleep while driving and hit a pole. I ended up with a broken eye socket, a broken cheekbone, a broken nose, and a broken jaw, and I lost nine teeth. My lower lip was almost severed off my face. I had multiple cuts and lacerations that left me with many scars. The kicker was the brain bleed. However, the brain hematoma went away on its own, and an excellent ENT/plastic surgeon put me back together.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Kristian Bjornard

46. The Big Apple Took A Bite Out Of Me

I was a courier in NYC. I was riding down Fifth Avenue, and there was a line of cars. I was riding down the driver’s side of all of them because I needed to turn right on the next street. I thought it was safe to glide along, then take a right after the last one right before the light turned green. I was going to turn right in front of the last car in the line while the light was still red.

Either I misjudged, or the last car—a taxi—decided to try and go a little bit early. When I turned, the cab floored it and sideswiped me. I went flying over the hood, and my bike got totaled. It was weird, but I swear I heard my bones cracking while I was in the air. I woke up in the hospital after spending six days in critical condition. I can’t express the pain I was in when I woke up because I was in a body cast. I was lucky to be alive.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

47. This Doctor Had A Brain Cramp

One night, I had sudden abdominal pain at around 10 PM. An hour later, it was so bad that I decided to go to the hospital. The ER doc ordered a urinalysis, and that was it. There was a trace amount of blood, so he said I was probably experiencing menstrual cramps, told me to take Tylenol, and sent me home. I've never been so furious. I wanted to throat punch him for even suggesting that I didn’t know what a menstrual cramp felt like.

I got home and managed to fall asleep around 1 AM, then woke up an hour later dry heaving. I drove myself back to the ER, and when I walked in, the same triage nurse that admitted me the first time ROLLED HER EYES at me and asked, "Did you take Tylenol like the doctor told you to?" I lost my temper on the nurse and demanded to be seen by a DIFFERENT doctor.

I couldn't stand up straight; I was in so much pain, but because I didn't have a fever, they thought I was overreacting. I waited about two hours and was seen by the general surgeon on staff at around 4:30 AM. He pushed on the lower right quadrant of my abdomen, and when I screamed, he ordered a CT that showed appendicitis.

He booked me for surgery and got me started on morphine while I waited. I didn't get brought in for surgery until 9 PM. But it was even worse than they thought. By the time they got me in the OR and opened up, my appendix had already ruptured. I also had some sort of respiratory distress during the surgery. I remembered waking up in the OR and panicking because I couldn't breathe, but it was only for a few seconds.

My parents drove 10 hours to be with me during and after my surgery. When I still was not in recovery at around 2 AM, they started to get concerned but weren't told anything other than I would be brought out when the surgery was complete. I was also expecting to spend the night in the hospital and then go home the following morning. However, my few-hour stay turned into eight days.

We asked several times every day why I was still in the hospital and not released and asked to speak to the surgeon, but he never came. He also missed both of my follow-up appointments at two weeks and four weeks. I finally got the details from my family doctor when I demanded my hospital records to find out what happened and why I was in the hospital for so long.

They were monitoring me for complications—mainly sepsis—and were particularly concerned because I was diabetic. However, for a 20-something-year-old and their parents to ask several times every day why they are being held in the hospital and to be denied any information, plus the surgeon refusing to speak with us even after the surgery, leads me to believe something was definitely off about the whole thing.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

48. One Step Closer To The End

I worked for a construction company. We had a new hire who had lied about being trained in setting up scaffolding. He had not properly set up the walk boards. I was doing an inspection one morning and fell right through, tumbling four stories and pinballing off of the scaffolding on my way down. I broke a few ribs and some hand bones.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

49. Tree Time

It was mid-summer, and I was doing tree work for a landscape company in Cape Cod. We were tasked with removing dozens of dried oaks that peppered a client’s 75-acre estate. We were a week into the job and had gotten pretty comfortable/complacent with felling some of the large trees. It was my turn to take on a very large Y-shaped oak, roughly 3 feet in diameter.

The tree was located on a slight hill, so it looked like a pretty cut and dry notch and drop using gravity. I made my notch, and as I was cutting, the tree twisted and fell laterally rather than down the hill. The tree ended up getting caught in another young sapling in between the Y-shape at the very top. The sapling bent over and spring loaded under the weight of the other tree.

After some clever cutting, we got most of the larger original tree on the ground, but a big section was still caught in the upper parts of the sapling, with a section lying on the ground. It was roughly 2 feet in diameter and 25–30 feet long. I started cutting sections off the large hanging limb. I didn't see what was coming until it was too late. Sure enough, I made a cut turn around, locked my chainsaw, and “BANG”, the lights went out.

I was pinned underneath the limb, which had slingshotted up into the air and slid out of the other tree like a half-ton pile driver, hitting me in the back behind my right shoulder. The next thing I saw was my buddy’s boots next to my face. I could feel the tree move above me ever so slightly. I knew this was my only chance at freedom, and I slid out from under the tree and gathered myself on my knees.

Dazed and confused, I was kneeling, spitting up blood and chunks of teeth. My face had hit a rock as I was driven to the ground. This rock was also about three inches from my chainsaw blade. I also couldn’t hear anything. It finally dawned on me my earplugs were still in, so I took them out. All I could hear was my friend screaming, “Are you OK? Do we need an ambulance”?

I initially said yes, then remembered how poor I was and that we were in the middle of nowhere, so it was going to be faster to just get into the truck and drive. My buddy got me up, put his arm around me, and we wobbled to the truck together. I could feel my lip had a weird feeling, so when I got to the truck, I looked in the mirror. I looked like I was in a horror movie. Almost half my top lip had been cut off and was hanging from my face.

We hopped in the truck and took off. Five minutes into the drive, my vision started to tunnel, and I knew the lights were going out, so I blasted the radio and stuck my head out the window so I wouldn’t pass out.  We got to the ER, but there was no one at the front desk. I stood there with blood dripping down my face with a paper water cup, trying to catch it all so I didn’t make a mess, ringing a bell for assistance.

A nurse came out without looking at me, handed me a clipboard, and asked, “What can I do for you”? She finally looked up, and her eyes went wide. She rushed around and got me immediately seated in a wheelchair and gave me a neck brace. I ended up with 37 stitches in my face and mouth and a couple of cracked teeth. If the tree had hit me a couple of inches to the right, it would have knocked my head clean off or paralyzed me at a minimum.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region

50. What Actually Happened?

I was a director of one of the largest museums in the United States and walked out on stage to give a pretty controversial presentation. I was already pretty nervous. That's when a loud bang reverberates from the center of my head.

I don’t feel my body drop but I can tell I’ve hit the floor, my vision blurs and turns red, and in the three seconds after the bang, I conclude that I’ve been shot and have seconds to live.

I’m a very large man and as I’m fading out, I see my friend, the museum nurse trying to pull me up. I was in shock and the pain didn’t really faze me, but wow did it hurt. It was indescribable agony. I accepted very calmly that my nurse friend’s face was the last thing I’d ever see and then I faded out.

I woke up four hours later in a hospital after an emergency surgery. Turns out, I hadn’t been shot after all! I somehow had an abscessed wisdom tooth that had become highly infected, and the abscess exploded upwards into my head, splitting the tooth from tip to jaw and breaking my left maxilla. It erupted with such force that my eyes bled, and the pain knocked me out.

While I was out, my wisdom tooth was pulled without anesthetic and the infection drained. I get phantom twitches just thinking about it.

Done For MomentsPexels

51. I Was A Shoe-In To Be A Goner

When I was three, I tripped over my shoelace and dove into a marble table. The table shattered my nose and skull. It also fully exposed my eye, all the way past my temple. They had to remove pieces of marble from my brain. It was so bad that doctors told my parents to start considering funeral arrangements. Luckily I survived.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPxhere

52. A Day At The Races

It was the last day of school, a month before I turned 11. My class had gone on a field trip to the Cleveland Zoo. My uncle picked up my brother and me and told me that we would be going to watch the races that night. We used to go see cars race once a month—just us boys. When we got home, I asked my mom if I could bring my best friend Jacob with us and if he could stay the night afterward.

She said yes, so I called him up excitedly and told him to ask his parents. They approved, and he was dropped off shortly thereafter. They would soon regret ever saying yes. My stepdad, my uncle, my little brother, my best friend, and I all packed into the family van and left for the races. We had a blast that night. We ran all around playing tag, bought glow sticks and snacks from the vendors, and watched the races.

Meanwhile, my stepdad and uncle drank—a lot. The races were over, and we walked to the van. My best friend and I sat in the back row. I was on the driver’s side, and Jacob was on the passenger’s side. My brother sat in the seat in front of me on the driver’s side, my uncle was in the front passenger seat, and my stepdad was driving.

We pulled through the parking lot and came to a stop sign. We kids were playing with our glow sticks and joking around. It was between midnight and 2 AM. Our van pulled out to make a left turn to get on the highway, and I suddenly heard my uncle start yelling, “Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah.” I looked and saw headlights.

A split second later, the loudest, most indescribable earth-shaking blast occurred. I heard the metal frame of the van start to bend, and the lights pop on inside the vehicle. Dust fell from the ceiling, and I went numb, blacking out. I woke up and felt like it was just me in the van, and I genuinely didn’t see anyone else. I blacked out again.

I woke up to see my brother with blood dripping down his forehead. My stepdad was beating the steering wheel hard and yelling, then started asking if everyone was okay. I blacked out again. The next time I woke up, all was dark, there were ambulance lights all around, and I realized my legs were trapped. They were pinched between the front row and the seat I was sitting in.

I was in shock, so I was talking up a storm. I thought they were going to cut my legs off. I turned and saw a huge semi-truck tire next to my head in place of where my best friend had been sitting. They took me to the hospital. We had been T-boned by a semi-truck on the back passenger side. My best friend didn't make it.

My legs should have been shattered but were instead bruised from knee to toes. I don’t understand how I survived. My brother got airlifted to a children's hospital for stitches and survived. My uncle also survived, as did my stepdad, who wound up serving time for drinking and driving.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Washington State Dept of Transportation

53. Hot ‘N Cold

I was outside, and it was an extremely hot day. I wasn’t prepared, so I got heat stroke. Then, my friends—in their infinite wisdom—decided to strip off all my clothes and lock me in a walk-in freezer to cool me off. Unfortunately, they promptly forgot about me for a few hours. I managed to get both heat stroke and hypothermia on the same day.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

54. They Goth It All Wrong

I had a weird issue with hair, so I used to shave my head bald. I dressed in all black and had a thing for walking around at night. Two gang members ran up on me and thought I was gang-related. One had a gun and the other a blade. I kept telling them I wasn’t gang-related, but they didn’t believe me. Eventually, I just balled up and said I was a skinhead.

They just stared at me and said I could go. I sat in my room stressed out because I lived in a small town, and they would see me everywhere. Word got back to me that they wanted to off me that night but didn’t because offing a skinhead would have had the white supremists in my town on them. I don’t know how I got out of that situation at all. I was just a goth kid who shaved his head.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

Sources:  RedditBuzzfeedQuora


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