Backstory: This time last year, I was in a very rough mental state. I was at the peak of my depression due to my GF of 8 years cheating on me and leaving, my house flooding for 3 days after I left out of town (top floor flood, so it trashed every subsequent floor), my car being hit, then being stolen after being in the body shop, and losing my job, all in the same year.

I was out at a local neighborhood bar that I really treated like a second home away from home. I knew all the staff there and was so close to the management that I found myself in the kitchen and office areas getting my own stuff at times. That particular night, there was a karaoke competition going on, and a absurdly drunk angry older man started screaming at the host and declaring she was racist and that the competition was rigged. Keep in mind, this is a "you don't win a damn thing" karaoke competition, not american idol caliber. Having judged this competition several times in the past, and being a friend of the host, and generally disliking anyone that is going to scream racist insults and be belligerent to a woman 1/3rd of their size, I told the guy to basically fuck off and that the competition was not, in fact, rigged. The manager kicked him out, and that was that. I thought.

I went out into the parking lot some time later to have a cigarette (no smoking in bars in colorado) and thats when I was ambushed from behind, having my neck slit from the right side of my neck all the way across to my adams apple. From here, it's a blur, I don't remember much. Some witnesses say he kept stabbing at my neck, which would make sense as there's additional cuts and scars on the other side of my adams apple, and on my chin. I can remember thinking "OW WHAT THE FUCK THAT HURT", then missing memory, then running holding my neck, looking down at my shirt and thinking "huh, i thought i was wearing a white t-shirt..." then it occurred to me that my shirt was only red due to my blood and even more strangely, I thought to myself "oh, shit. I guess i'm dying now." and faded into blackness as i began to fall to the ground.

The final moments that I remember were incredibly strange. My perception of time was wayyyyy off. I remember feeling like i ran across the entire parking lot, and remember having plenty of time to look down at my shirt and think to myself about my shirt and contemplate what had happened and realize that i was going to die, but witnesses say i took one step and dropped like a ton of bricks. Also, the realization that this was the end for me was very calming. I was pretty angry as I was just attacked, and in a lot of pain because, well, getting stabbed/slashed fucking hurts, but once I had that realization, it all faded away, and I was completely calm. The serenity was unreal.

While I was out, a bunch of people came to my rescue. A friend of mine, a fellow redditor, chased the guy down and led police to him. Another friend of mine at the bar at the time, stuck her fingers into my neck to stop the bleeding. A veterinarian who was working out at a 24 hour fitness nearby heard the commotion and came out and gave me first aid. Then the ambulance came, and took me to the hospital. During the ride, my heart stopped for the first time. They were able to bring me back and get me there safely, but the doctors there were unable to fit a breathing tube down my neck, so they were forced to air-lift me to another area hospital. On the chopper, my heart stopped again for the longest stretch, 2.5 minutes. They were able to bring me back and land me at the next hospital, where they were able to get me hooked up to a ventilator, but during the course of surgery, my heart stopped yet again, and my lungs failed (ARDS). Third restart was a charm, though, and it's continuing to beat today.

After 2 weeks in a coma, my lungs started working on their own again, and I woke up.

Total damage: damaged both jugulars, my thyroid, carotid artery, and vocal chord nerve.

***NOTE: I gotta head in to work. i'll continue this when i get in. thanks!***

***EDIT: Back! answering questions now =) ***

***Final Edit: wow! the response has been amazing! you're great reddit! going to bed for the night, i've got a flight in the morning so i'll answer what i can when i wake up =) ***

Comments: 1816 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

sugarhigh4498552 karma

Was the man who attacked you arrested?

aresdesmoulins878 karma

He was...a friend of mine chased him down, where he was still walking through the parking lot with knife in hand. The case is still ongoing, so I can't discuss the legal aspect of it much more =)

AlrightStopHammatime2052 karma

That friend of his checking in. Hi.

aresdesmoulins1043 karma

Confirmed, this dude is my friend that chased the guy down.

[deleted]446 karma

Happy new-birthday!

aresdesmoulins291 karma

I like that! Thanks!

Rodeo9286 karma

Holy shit, was this in westminster? Hard to believe something that crazy could happen near where I am. Is this that crazy dude?

aresdesmoulins235 karma

yep, that's it. Fox and the hound on 120th. very far from being "in the hood" where you'd expect this kind of thing.

explorerD276 karma

Are you a religious man? If yes, does it change your perception on an afterlife?

Edit: now that I'm top comment; chickenbutt

aresdesmoulins841 karma

I was an agnostic person before, and after this incident, I can say i'm an atheist. Watching people around you die, and you survive with the worst odds is a downer. Seeing everyone around you sick and knowing for some reason, that kid over there with cancer? you get to live, and he gets to die. Why? Cosmic dice roll. I can't personally see any reason why everyone else that died did not make it and I did...why am I any more significant than any of them? I believe that we have this time on earth, and that's all. And that time can end at any instant. So by far the most important thing to do is to enjoy it and be good to one another, make a positive impact on people's happiness because that's all that we have to live for...happiness, right here, right now.

hellooldfriend87 karma

Cool part is that you can't experience time when you're dead. All it'll take is another forever for a new one of you to pop out of mathematical probability. Since you cant experience that forever, it's probably just like a blink of an eye before you get stabbed in the neck again.

aresdesmoulins155 karma

awwww, do i have to? Note to self, next mathematical probability respawn, respawn in africa as one of those people who wear rings around their neck. problem solved!

Cat_Fish50 karma

Now you have to watch out for a plethora of diseases.

I love saying plethora.

aresdesmoulins19 karma

I've played pandemic2 , i'm gonna move to madagascar.

tarekiswhat60 karma

I have a few questions I'd like to address! :) Although, I'd need an answer to one before I can move on to my next. This will likely be a 5-6 question barrage... So, first off, that night when you were in the parking lot feeling the sensation of serenity... Was it physical or mental? Did your body relax or was it your brain, which would have, in turn, taken the hint?

aresdesmoulins151 karma

Sure! It was both physical and mental. Physically, the pain disappeared completely, and i no longer felt my body at all. it felt like i was watching a movie instead of actually experiencing it. Mentally, all my rage and panic simply faded away. I quite literally thought "hey, my shirt isn't red...ohhhh, that's blood. Ok, i'm gonna die now" and just a blank mind, relaxed.

tarekiswhat24 karma

And about the slowing of the passing of time... Did it slow in accordance with the sense of serenity? I also read that you said when you saw the other side of death's door... there was absolutely nothing? Void? When you read about the darkest dark in fairytales, it uses adjectives like 'looming' or 'scary' to describe it. Was the dark anything like that? If not, was it linear, just another brick in the wall, kind of? Aynthing out of the ordinary about the space you were looking at? Strange terrain? Could you make out a shape?

thecotton167 karma

If he doesn't answer this, to kind of jump in as a person whose experienced something similar (clinical death) -- there wasn't anything. It's more than that though. It's an intense, relaxing, serene feeling. It isn't staring at something, it's something that fades. One moment I was feeling intense pain, the next I went into physical relaxation and felt no pain and then my mind just was like, "It's time to sleep, sleep is good," and it feels soooo damn good. So damn good. It's so very, very comforting. Then it's just like being asleep, I guess. I mean, it was all just black. I wasn't even aware of the black. The only thing I remember is waking up again after I succumbed to my brain lulling into that sweet serene relaxing feeling.

However, living is damn awesome and I want to do it as long and awesome-ly as possible before I go back to the land of death.

aresdesmoulins87 karma

This, right here, is exactly it!

Gengar_Galois191 karma

Did you ever discern a difference between being unconscious and being dead?

aresdesmoulins422 karma

This is something I struggle with to this day. After coming out of my coma, I would constantly question if any of this is real. It sounds absurd, but every time i turn left through an intersection or anything that I would consider "risky" I subconsciously bite the side of my tongue to ensure I can feel it to prove to myself I am not dead.

scientist_tz188 karma

Did you quit smoking as a result of the hospital stay?

Are you still depressed or did this whole experience give you a new outlook? (I realize that's a trite way to pose the question but I can't think of a better way.)

aresdesmoulins702 karma

I did quit smoking, as I experienced complete lung failure (ARDS). My body was so weak and fragile after I woke up that even breathing was a monumental task. I really, really feared stairs up to my room for a good 3 months or so haha. After all of that, definitely appreciate my lungs much more and wouldn't ever compromise them with cigarettes again.

I definitely have a much, much more positive outlook.

I can't tell you what is on the other side of death's door. For me, it was nothing. That put the realization that what we have is this, right here, right now, and that this is very limited. I refuse to waste my days being depressed or sad, and not enjoying life. It's true we all get to the same destination in the end, but how we live determines WHEN we get there; reckless behavior might just end up being an unintended shortcut =P

Also, I now have an amazing job, fixed/got my car back, completely rebuilt my house, and am now living with a girl that has completely changed my life.

ETL4nubs158 karma

What an amazing story. Definitely inspirational!

Also, what did your girl do when you showed her the scar and told her the story? Did she flip?

aresdesmoulins381 karma

We were actually dating when everything happened. She was there through everything, and after coming out of the coma she never left my side. Every little thing she could think of, even some more comfortable pants to wear since she knew i'd be sitting a lot, haha.

Yrmahon52 karma

That's interesting...

Did you believe in some sort of afterlife before the assault? There are various stories from people who where clinically dead, claiming to see Jesus and stuff. If I assume you did not believe in an afterlife before the assault, It might well be that your mind just tricks you into seeing what you always had believed.

aresdesmoulins111 karma

I did, and I really wanted to. I believed in ghosts, I believed in not heaven and hell in it's strictest sense, but I believed in passing to another state of consciousness, kind of like transcending to a new plane of knowledge/existence. Not the traditional "will see paul and the white pearly gates and get my wings" but still that I would be in existence and watching over

WhitePantherXP159 karma

I was jumped and beaten badly with a metal pipe, my heart sinks whenever I hear footsteps running behind me. Does anything make your heart skip a beat and remember that night?

aresdesmoulins261 karma

I definitely can't go to that bar ever again, and I really don't like people behind me anymore! I have a complex with my neck as well, I can't wear ties or have anyone touch it other than my gf or else i start to panic a bit.

MulticastX4149 karma

Thanks for this AMA.

Besides the visible damage to the skin, is there any other permanent damage to your body?

And beside the physical aspects: you say the "serenity was unreal", but how did you feel when you woke up and remembered/were told what happened? What went through your head; was there some kind of shock?

aresdesmoulins368 karma

The nerve to my vocal chords was damaged, causing my right vocal chord to become paralyzed. My voice was very light and raspy and I could only talk for very limited amounts of time. Strangely, about 6 months later I came down with a pretty nasty cough/cold, and when I got better, my voice was back to normal to the absolute confusion of my ENT.

When I woke up, I was in complete denial. I had convinced myself that I had gotten knocked out and that's all. When the nurse made me look in the mirror, I was so far gone that I did not believe that I was looking at myself. The hardest part was trying to grasp the missing time between the incident and waking up. A 2 week hole in my consciousness mixed with a lot of pain killers led me to think of a lot of things to try and rationalize it. There was a point that I believed I was brain damaged to explain why I couldn't remember the time I was in a coma (sounds absurd, but I was pretty upset why I didn't know what happened while I was unconscious). I very, very often thought I was dead and that none of what was going around me was real to rationalize it as well.

heardlb111 karma

you should apply for the show, 'I survived- beyond and back'

aresdesmoulins104 karma

haha, I don't know...everyone finds it fascinating, but I don't find it that interesting?

Yakobfinga97 karma

  1. How does it feel to come around from a coma? What I mean is, were there moments where you came back in to consciousness without any medical staff noticing? Were you able to move around or to interact with people straight away, or did it take time to regain enough strength to do that?

  2. Do you harbour feeling of resentment against the guy? If you lived in a society which allowed the victims of violent crime to choose the punishment that would befall the perpetrator, what punishment would you choose?

aresdesmoulins196 karma

It was like blacking out then waking up. Nothing that I remember inbetween. When I woke up, I felt completely fine, though I think this was due to the painkillers. It didn't set in how damaged I was until it took a monumental effort to lift my arm! I was able to get out of bed to pee on my own after 3 days.

and I definitely hold resentment against the guy, he tried to take my life. I would not, however, wish death upon him nor anyone else. If I could wish any punishment upon him, it would be to go through the absolute misery that not only I went through, but to experience what my parents/family/loved ones had to go through. I know that's not possible, though, and if I were to assign him a punishment, he would be behind bars for a decade.

lamneth_fountain82 karma

Can you go into more detail about experiencing being brought back 3 times? Were you concious through the transport to the initial hospital and the subsequent transfer?

aresdesmoulins115 karma

I wish I did remember! Unfortunately, I don't recall being brought back. I was unconscious when the ambulance came to pick me up.

crossjaw73 karma

When you say your jugulars, artery and vocal chord nerve were damaged, are they still damaged? Did the damaged nerve affect your speech?

aresdesmoulins148 karma

My vocal chord damage caused my right vocal chord to become paralyzed, making my voice weak/raspy. after about 6 months, it started to recover, and today it's back to normal =) otherwise, i have extensive nerve damage so i can't feel a big part of my chest under the scar, and my lungs are pretty weak still, but i'm feeling great speech-wise.

A-H77 karma

Likely your right recurrent laryngeal nerve was injured. My suspicion is the assailant, as you stated, attacked from behind and was right handed. Therefore, the deeper impact of his incision on your neck was on the right. I am also suspecting it was your right carotid that was injured.

FWIW, vocal cord paralysis is not uncommon with anterior neck surgery. The hoarseness resolves with time either because the nerve function returns, or, alternatively, the contra lateral (other side) compensates for the paralyzed side and moves over.

aresdesmoulins46 karma

Spot on! very good! I'm not sure what happened, but my voice sounds and feels exactly as it did before. I was told that if it did not recover, surgery from inside would have to be done due to too much trauma to the outside of my neck. thankfully it came back, though, so i never went back in. in hindsight, maybe i should have just to take a look? i haven't been back to the doc since.

[deleted]42 karma

So you'll be back to singing karaoke any day now?

aresdesmoulins53 karma

I'm horrible at singing, and rarely every sang anyhow, haha. nothing changes! =P

crossjaw31 karma

Will the lungs get stronger with time; and later by a little exercise?

aresdesmoulins97 karma

definitely! the gf and I go on progressively longer walks every week. Interestingly, they're always at the mall. haha. In all seriousness, I used to fear the stairs, but now can walk a mile before i need to quit.

croquetica46 karma

My question as well. But also, a prequel!

You said you felt serenity after you fell. Do you think you were conscious then? Could you hear the things happening around you and you just didn't care? Or did you just simply see/feel emptiness and were at peace with it?

aresdesmoulins161 karma

I was absolutely conscious. I could hear someone screaming my name as I fell, and distinctly remember the manager of the tavern at the front door with his mouth wide open.

As for the serenity, I felt incredibly at peace. All of my anger, pain, stress, thoughts, everything melted away. I suppose the best way to explain it is the feeling you get when you first wake up peacefully from a great dream. No particular reason to be happy, but there was not a single cae, i felt so relaxed and simply content that it was my time.

effjaydub62 karma

jesus. how has this year been for ya? better than that one i hope. also, how long did it take to recover? glad you're healthy.

aresdesmoulins152 karma

This year has been great! I met an amazing girl, rebuilt my house, got my car back, and have quite literally my dream job.

After coming out of the coma, I was in a fragile state for about 6 months, when I was able to walk on my own again without fear of passing out. After about 9 months, I was basically at 80%. Today, my lungs are still shot, I can't run or anything yet, but there's nothing other than physical activity that I don't allow myself to do anymore =)

And thanks! i'm very, very glad I'm healthy too

Anus_Blender11 karma

Do you think you will ever recover enough to exercise?

aresdesmoulins53 karma

I know I will =) I've already made it through quite a bit, i'll overcome this too.

Septime52 karma

Someone told me i should do an AMA because i had died once. Your story is a lot better then mine though. I hope everything works out for you.

aresdesmoulins76 karma

Do it anyway! This is incredibly theraputic =) What happened?

-Greeny-48 karma

How often do people ask about that scar?

aresdesmoulins89 karma

Interestingly, not very often. Everyone stares at it, but only my very close friends ask. I've been called out on it maybe 5x in the past year.

jennalagana47 karma

You mentioned something about your dream job. What are you currently doing? And great ama! :)

aresdesmoulins163 karma

My formal job title is "uber code ninja". i'm a web developer, at a company that lets me drink beer (that they provide), we have nerf gun wars, and i'm writing this AMA sprawled out on the leather couch in my own office, eating a sandwich from our fully company stocked kitchen. it's amazing!

aresdesmoulins117 karma

Lol, not google...they ARE down the street from me, though!

I work at a boulder, colorado company called SurveyGizmo =) Our CEO runs around the office in a Darth Sidious robe at times, and a good chunk of the office wears superhero capes to work and nap on lovesacs.


thecotton12 karma

.. I am so jealous. I'm a Systems Admin and I dream of having a job like that one day. :(

aresdesmoulins21 karma

well, we ARE looking for a sysadmin =) Check out the site, If your LAMP-foo is good, i'm sure we could use you!

JerkFairy41 karma

I'd like to know if this has changed your outlook on life. Do you do or think anything differently as a result?

aresdesmoulins102 karma

I look at EVERYTHING differently. Life is short, and life is absolutely finite. There's absolutely no reason to hold grudges or to waste the very precious little time we have on this earth being anything but happy.

Anus_Blender51 karma

I watched an old Discovery Channel special on people who had near-death experiences. Almost all of them reported feeling happier, had more purpose in their lives, recovered from depression, etc. Almost makes it sound worth it.

aresdesmoulins121 karma

for the perspective shift, it was! probably much, much, much less painful ways to go about it, though. would not recommend.

SwagCpt41 karma

What did your mind go to when you thought you were going to die? Explain in more detail if you can, please.

aresdesmoulins116 karma

The trigger was realizing that my shirt was only red due to blood loss. I was very angry, in massive amounts of pain, and in a complete panic until I looked down and it clicked in my head that nobody can survive after losing that much blood. At the moment I realized that, I no longer felt my body, I was more of a consciousness, observing the scene is all. I was completely neutral to it, no thoughts, no fear, no feeling. I was simply content. Imagine peacefully waking up from a great night's rest after a good dream that you can't remember. I was relaxed, my brain was completely empty, and I had a great feeling of peace/contentment.

In short, I guess I disconnected from "me" in a physical sense. The person that was dying wasn't me, rather I was watching someone die through their eyes.

jamygolden36 karma

How long after he was kicked out did you leave? I'm asking because it sounds strangely premeditated for someone who was very drunk.

aresdesmoulins41 karma

I couldn't tell you to be completely honest with you. My judgement of time from that night is pretty skewed. I remember running and having what felt like 5 minutes to contemplate my own impending death for example, when in reality witnesses say i had mere seconds from stabbing to blackout and i made it one step before hitting the deck.

[deleted]33 karma

Is there any long term damage done/irreversible damage that you had to learn to cope with? Was there any physical therapy involved for recuperation?

aresdesmoulins52 karma

My vision in one eye is pretty shot. Think i hit the ground a little hard when i passed out, and my tooth is chipped badly. Contacts have straightened everything out, which is great!

As for therapy, I was told to go to an ENT for my voice and was told my right vocal chord was paralyzed. I was told that I would probably need surgery, but due to the scope of the damage to the outside of my neck, he'd have to do the surgery from INSIDE. Thinking of that alone made me want to puke, so I refrained, and my voice fixed itself =)

charlesjbarry26 karma

I came to make a Monty Python reference to your pic, but I see you beat me to it. Well played sir; well played.

Do you tell people you were stabbed in the throat when they ask about the scar or do you have a "better" story (as if there was one)?

aresdesmoulins109 karma

my little cousins and godson I tell I got into an accident, so they just assume it was a car accident.

random people I will tell I nicked myself's a polite way of saying "i have no idea who you are, i will never see you again, and am not really wanting to spend 10 minutes explaining" haha.

one day a few friends and I told every person a different story ranging from fighting a bear, shark attack, skydiving accident, etc. and one group the truth. The group we told the truth to me flat out said I was lying...I suppose bear/shark attacks are more believable than assault, haha.

Clutch98799 karma

random people I will tell I nicked myself shaving

And do these random people ask why the hell you were shaving with a lawnmower?

aresdesmoulins129 karma

haha, i've been asked "what the hell were you shaving with to get something like that?" before, and my standard response is "with a chainsaw. on a motorcycle. on the highway."

SSV_Kearsarge24 karma

Holy crap, that is an incredible story! I'm glad that you're okay, thank you for sharing this!

My question is really this: you explained that a few of your friends, the bar owners, and even a pet veterinarian car to your aid. How many of these people are you still in contact with? Do you talk with them frequently? Have you ever discussed what happened or has it been more of a "yeah, we both know this happened, we were both there, lets move on with life" kind of attitude towards it or have you actually gone back over events just like you're doing for us?

And again, thanks for sharing this!

aresdesmoulins38 karma

I still keep in contact with them from time to time, but honestly I don't go out much or talk to many people since the incident. We've talked at length, i've thanked them from the bottom of my heart personally, but have been spending most of my time to myself, rebuilding my life/career/etc

-SoItGoes23 karma

If there's a zombie apocalypse, do you think they'd mistake you as one of their own and spare your life?

aresdesmoulins51 karma

Perhaps, but if they can smell brains i'm screwed!

Skrilmaufive20 karma

If you could go back and change how you handled the situation with the drunk man would you? Or do you stick by your initial actions?

aresdesmoulins63 karma

I wouldn't change a thing. The way I see it, things happened, I survived, and life for all involved went on. Had things been different, maybe it would have been someone else on the end of his rage who might not have made it.

kromagnon19 karma

Does your voice sound different than before?

aresdesmoulins33 karma

It did for about 6 months! I felt like I was going through puberty. At first, I was unable to talk at all. Then, It was squeaky, then super deep, then gone again. It would go back and forth between light and raspy and squeaky and deep randomly it seems as my one vocal chord tried to learn to do the work of two.

Now, as the nerve recovered and my right chord works again, I sound back to normal =)

WaywardWayfarer10 karma

How has this year been versus the year before being stabbed / cheated on / stolen from / unemployed / auto accident ?

I've been having a year much like that.

aresdesmoulins46 karma

This year is amazing. I fell madly in love with a girl who is beyond my wildest dreams, I have a job that I have pretty much always dreamed of, and I was able to rebuild my house better than it was ever before. I believe that when it rains, that it pours, and mindset has everything to do with current situation.

SteveZi9 karma

Do you have any memories from being dead/in a coma? How did the event affect your lifestyle, both immediately afterward (as in, after you were released from the hospital) and long-term? What was the guy's sentence, and were you at the trial?

aresdesmoulins20 karma

The trial is still ongoing, unfortunately! Lots of legal mumbo jumbo.

I don't have any memories from being out, but when I awoke I made some pretty absurd leaps in my own mind to explain things that made no sense. For example, to explain to myself why I couldn't remember the past 2 weeks (ignoring the fact that I was in a coma) I rationalized that I experienced brain damage, and was forgetting days after I experienced them. I also, in the peak of my painkiller fueled delusions, told myself at one point that everyone was just fucking with me and that this was all an intricate joke.