People Share The Moments Where 5 Minutes Felt Like A Lifetime

Five minutes may not seem like much time at all, but how long is it really? When you’re waiting to hear your baby’s first cry, fighting sleep paralysis or waiting for songs to download to on your iPod in the mid-2000s, a mere 300 seconds can feel like a lifetime. These people share the longest five minutes they’ve ever experienced.

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#1 Waiting for Mom’s Friends to Go

Being a kid and waiting for my mom to finish talking to friends.

#2 Bad News at the Hospital

I was on placement with a doctor and he told a patient that he might lose his leg due to diabetes. It obviously upset him, but the doctor left to go get something leaving me in the room with him. He must have been gone for only 2 minutes but I swear it felt like 20. The guy was quietly sobbing to himself and I had no idea what to do or say.

#3 Destructive Diarrhea

On the way to a toilet trying to hold back destructive diarrhea in a public place.

#4 A Silent Baby at Birth

My son was silent when he was born. The doctor gave me a serious look, handed me the “scissors” to cut the umbilical cord, and then rushed my son to a table on the other side of the room. I moved to the head of the bed to tell my wife what a great job she did. I honestly have no idea how long it took to hear him cry, but those seconds/minutes were the longest year of my life. He turned 20 last month.

#5 Getting in Trouble at School

In fifth grade, while the principal was listing off the profanities I searched on Google Earth.

#6 Bungee Jump Gone Wrong

I did a bungee jump off the Verzasca Dam in Ticino, Switzerland. It’s famous for being in the opening scene of GoldenEye. The jump itself was amazing, but as I bounced up and down after the initial jump, my body rotated and the bungee cord kind of corkscrewed around my legs a couple of times.

When the vertical motion finally stopped, I was hanging over a huge drop with a rocky riverbed below, and the cord wrapped right around my legs giving the impression that it was all that was holding me up. The operators were shouting at me to remove my ankle from the twisted cord so that they could pull me back up. My rational mind knew that I was securely fastened at the hip, but the tension of the cord on my ankle made it feel like I depended on it and that I would fall to my death the second I unwrapped it. I was physically unable to unwrap my ankle for a full five minutes while the guys shouted down from the top of the dam. Upside down, blood rushing to my head the whole time.

Eventually, I found the courage to unwrap my ankle and… everything was fine. But man, that was the longest most horrible five minutes, upside-down and being asked to go against every instinct of survival.

#7 Waiting to Go

Waiting in front of the bathroom because I need to pee but my brother locked the door.

#8 Waiting in Line at the Grocery Store

When I was a kid, my mom told me to wait in line at the supermarket and then she went to go get some more things. The person who was at the cashier had just paid and the lady in front of me began unloading her (not heavily packed) shopping cart. She had almost finished loading and was about ready to pay when my mother finally reappeared. Those were simultaneously the longest and the shortest and most terrifying five minutes of my life.

#9 Waiting for Mom

Being young and waiting for my mom to pick me up from somewhere and she was late.

#10 9-1-1 Call

I’m a police dispatch officer and I had a six-year-old girl call in on the emergency number and the first thing she said was, “There are men here and they are hurting daddy.” The time it took for the first unit to arrive at the scene was the longest minutes of my life. We were lucky we had units nearby.

#11 Waiting at the DMV

Waiting at the DMV line that leads to the true DMV line.

#12 Being Stalked

The time between a guy who was acting weird and kept approaching me while I was mowing my lawn who then hid and was watching me from my neighbors lawn to when the cops arrested him. I went inside to call them via my back door (my front was locked) and he FOLLOWED ME and started knocking and scratching against it. I went from hiding on the ground against my back door so he couldn’t see me to locked in my upstairs bathroom with a bat by the end of it all. Five minutes seems like forever when you’re terrified.

#13 Waiting for Pregnancy Test Results

Waiting for that pregnancy test result; regardless of how you want the result to sway.

#14 Jumping Off a Boat

Terrified. I had been dropped off on the remote coast off the Portland Canal in Northern BC Canada. No dock. No roads out. I spent the day there, a woman working alone. When the boat came back for me later in the afternoon the tide had gone out, it had turned cold and the wind was up. The shore rocks were covered in wet seaweed and the boat was being buffeted in and out away from the rocks. The only way to get off was to wait for the boat to start getting closer, run down the slippery slope and have one of the guys on the boat catch me before I slid and fell into the water between the boat and the shore. The minutes were spent getting the nerve up to do it. I finally found myself doing it, and the guy caught me, The crew high fived, but it took me a while to stop shaking. I was sixty at the time.

#15 Singing in Front of a Large Crowd

Sang a song in front of like 300 people without a monitor so I couldn’t hear anything but I just knew I was totally off key.

#16 Almost Drowning

When I was eight years old, my family and I went to the beach and my two brothers and I went bodyboarding. Out of nowhere, the tide and the current changed and pulled my younger brother and me out to sea to the point where it was too deep to stand. Eventually, all we could do was call, shout and scream for help as the tide pulled us further out with each passing second. I have no idea how far out we got before my father finally managed to reach us, he’d swam out to get us both and somehow managed to fight the tide and pull us back to shore.

If it weren’t for my younger brother keeping me calm and telling me how to stay afloat, I have no doubts it would’ve ended up a lot worse. We got back to shore and went home and my brothers, parents and I just sat in the living room hugging and crying. My mom still won’t talk about it.

#17 Sleep Paralysis

I recently had very frightening sleep paralysis, it probably just lasted for a few minutes but it felt like ages.

#18 A Death in the Family

When my father’s heart had stopped beating and we called an ambulance, we had to wait for approximately seven minutes for it to arrive. And because no one in my family knew CPR we had to watch him die in front of our eyes.

#19 Anesthesia Ending Too Soon

Six months ago, my anesthesia ended too soon while the surgeon was still stitching up my knee after realigning my patella… There were still three stitches to go. I still can’t decide what was the worst pain: the tourniquet on the top of my thigh or the stitches…

#20 Driving to the Hospital

Driving to the hospital with my appendix on the brink of exploding. I was screaming in pain when I got to the hospital and they pumped me full of morphine to shut me the hell up. I will never forget the feeling of the morphine coursing through my veins. Just pure bliss and immediate relief. It was on that day I learned why heroin completely destroys lives.

#21 Watching a Weird Presentation

A presentation about grass. I don’t know why we had to watch it. Or why they chose to do it.

#22 Emergency C-Section

They sent me out of the room so my wife could have the epidural. Then they came and got me. Nope, that wasn’t it. It was a couple of minutes later, when they decided that my son’s cord was wrapped around his neck in utero and that the only way to save my wife and child was an emergency C-section. And then the seven standing people in the room wheeled my wife on the bed out, leaving me alone with beeping unhooked monitors in a room that was three times larger empty than full. Everything went fine, kid and wife are perfectly okay, but damn.

#23 Watching Someone Die

At the hospice holding my husband’s hand as he died. Longest five minutes of my life.

#24 Breaking a Promise

When my boy was five, he needed a surgery on his leg. Two five minute bursts burned into my brain:

When we walked him to the edge of where parents are allowed to go. He kept saying “Promise it’s going to be okay?” We did of course and watching him walk away with the doctor and look over his shoulder at us. He was so scared and trying to be brave. It was 10 steps that lasted forever.

When he came out of surgery and woke, his cast was too tight and he was in tremendous pain. He kept screaming “I changed my mind. I don’t wanna do it now.” And, “You promised! You promised it wouldn’t hurt!” Imagine being unexplainably fierce looking for something or someone to hurt to protect your son, and at the same time maddeningly heart-wrenched because you “broke your promise” to your baby.


#25 Having a Seizure During Labor

My wife had a seizure during labor. They couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat afterwards and rushed to an emergency c section. Everything stabilized but it was scary and seemed to go on forever. Four years later everyone is happy and healthy.

#26 Birth

When my doctor told me my daughter had been in the birth canal for too long and her heartbeat was too low. She had to come out NOW. I was drugged up and now scared. He ended up having to vacuum her out (no joke, she had a bruise on her head for a week) it only took about five minutes but since he had already said NOW every minute was scary and felt like it took an hour. Hearing her cry was the most beautiful thing in my life… now she is saying “momma” while swinging her plate around and trying to sign “more” at the same time.

#27 Loading Screens

Loading screens in games.


Waiting for songs to download to my iPod in the mid-2000s.

#29 Telling a Crush How You Feel

Watching my crush walk away after I told her how I felt. Then she came back about five minutes later and just quietly told me she didn’t want to speak with me anymore.

#30 Pulling Someone Out of the Water

We were at a water park and my two kids and their two friends were in the wave pool. At one point I realized I could see three of them but not my son. We were calling from the side to them asking where he was while the waves rolled. They couldn’t see him either and we spotted an empty tube floating near them at the same time as the lifeguard hit the emergency stop alarm. I had tunnel vision and felt like I was blacking out watching the lifeguards haul someone out of the water. The longest minutes of my life, and then I heard him beside me say, “Hey mom, why’d they stop the waves?” He had gotten out before the waves started, it wasn’t him they pulled out.

#31 An Ambulance Ride

I’m a paramedic. When the patient isn’t doing so hot, I can tell you five minutes on the way to the hospital lasts a long time.

#32 Ultrasounds

Having to drink a litre of water an hour prior to an ultrasound and then hold it until my appointment. I was sweating and I wasn’t allowed to let any out prior to my appointment. My appointment slid to the right by 10 minutes and the ultrasound was 15 mins long. I pissed myself.

#33 The Pressure of an Ultrasound

The last five minutes of an ultrasound on your abdomen, when forced to do so with a full bladder. Especially when I got my appointment wrong and showed up an HOUR EARLY!! I have, in all my 30 plus years, never had to pee SO BADLY.

#34 Falling On a Treadmill

Obligatory “not exactly five minutes” but I once fell on a treadmill and fell in such a way that my arms were pinned under me and my legs were bent and I couldn’t stand up. Treadmill ran right on my neck at the fastest speed for about 10-20 seconds. Felt like 10 years.

#35 “My Kid is Still in There”

I used to be a firefighter. “My kid is still in there.” He wasn’t. He was hiding in the bushes next door, a bit frightened, but completely fine. I think that took a few years off my life.

#36 Delivering Twins

My wife and I were in the OR for her to deliver our twin boys. There were complications and I heard the doctor say, “Prep for hemorrhage protocol.” My heart dropped and I was rushed out with my newborn twins. I then heard them call a “code white” and yell for the crash cart. An entire team of doctors ran in. Meanwhile, I’m staring at two little newborn boys, with the life a single father flashing before my eyes. What felt like an eternity later, the doctor came out and said she was stable. It only lasted about five minutes, but that five minutes I will never forget. My saving grace was a coworker’s wife, who was the charge nurse on duty. While everyone was running to save my wife, she rushed over to save me.

#37 Dad Stories

Every time my dad begins a story I’ve heard 100 times.

#38 Getting Bad News

Once I was driving from work to my school campus to turn in some paperwork before going home, and I was about to arrive when I got a call from my wife’s phone. I picked up and it was a lady that was NOT my wife, letting me know there was an accident and to meet my wife at the hospital a few minutes away. She said there was a kid hit by a car, that she didn’t think my wife and the other kid were hit, but “didn’t have a good view” and that my wife had dialed me and handed it to her from the ambulance. The drive to the hospital felt like an eternity, wondering which of my kids had been hit by a car (or both, or them and my wife) and what condition they were in. It was so so so horrible.

#39 Waiting for Medical Results

Waiting to see the doctor to find out if I did or did not have breast cancer. I do not!

#40 Losing a Child in the Mall

When my daughter ran away from me at a mall. She was only two years old and managed to get out of the stroller somehow. After that, I put a leash on her to keep her from getting in trouble.

#41 Waiting for Baby News

When my son was born I couldn’t see him as he stopped breathing. It felt like forever. He is turning one next month.

#42 Waiting for the Baby’s Cry

When my daughter was born, I did the final push and heard the doctor say “nuchal cord times three” and a nurse run to the wall and press a button. My daughter had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times and wasn’t breathing or moving. The doctor cut the cord and loosened it, and I saw her lift this tiny grey baby and hand it to another nurse who said “APGAR 2”. I was in shock and I just remember looking at my husband and feeling utterly helpless. I couldn’t move or do anything except wait and pray. About 30 seconds after the nurse hit the button, a team of people ran into the room and began resuscitating her. She hadn’t moved or made a noise yet. It felt like an eternity, but eventually, I heard this weak little cry. The best sound I ever heard. A few minutes later she had an APGAR of 9.

#43 Doing CPR

Doing CPR on my flatmate. I did it for eight minutes until the paramedic arrived. It felt like one hell of a lot longer and my arms and chest muscles ached for days afterwards. He passed away.

#44 Root Canal

I was in the middle of a root canal when my dentist touched the nerve with the drill bit. I had never experienced that level of pain before. He immediately stopped what he was doing injected more novocaine directly into the nerve, but the five minutes after that, waiting for the pain to go away and trying to calm down, felt like a million years.

#45 IUD Insertion

Getting my IUD inserted!