December 4, 2023 | Violet Newbury

Shocking 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 Redditors share some near-fatal experiences that left them shocked, shaken, and happy to be alive.

1. Running Out Of Time

When I was 25, my roommate convinced me to train for a 10K trail run. With lots of enthusiasm, I worked hard on my fitness—from losing weight to getting into good physical shape. But a week before the run, I noticed something scary—a tiny bit of blood in my urine. Panicked, I paid a visit to the doctor. They ran some tests, but everything appeared normal. They diagnosed me with "jogger’s hematuria," a condition not unheard of in runners.

The physician's advice was to take a break from running which should make things fine. But I didn't want the fruits of my effort to go wasted. So, I planned to push through, finish my race, and then take a break to recover. I ran and did alright—finishing about mid-way in the ranking. I stopped running after the race, hoping things would get better. But it didn't—If anything, it got worse with increasing pain.

The situation ramped up with the blood now turning darker, and even clots coming out. Out of ignorance, I still believed it would sort itself out—after all, that's what the doctor had said, right? But that was a BIG error in judgment. Once, I drank a large beverage during a movie outing and held my pee. By the time I relieved myself, I felt light-headed.

After coming home, I rested but woke up in the middle of the night to pee. The bathroom looked like a crime scene due to the amount of blood. As I was heading back to my room, I fainted. Thankfully, I hit my roommate's door on the way down which woke him up. He rushed me to the emergency room. There, we found out the shocking truth.

The hospital stay involved many tests and a CT scan that eventually revealed a tumor the size of 6 cm (2.4 in) in my bladder. This tumor was causing bleeding each time I urinated. I ended up needing four blood transfusions. The doctor told me how fortunate I was, as I could have died right there in my apartment.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

2. Impaled By An Impala

When I was 20, I was heading to my job on a Saturday morning driving my trusty '95 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Out of nowhere, a reckless driver in a mid-2000s Chevrolet Impala began tailgating and swerving behind me. Despite his erratic behavior, I kept my cool and continued driving, hoping he'd disappear. But he didn't.

I was approaching my workplace's parking lot, nestled past a hilltop on the left. As I waited for oncoming traffic to pass before turning, my wheels were already angled towards the parking lot. Suddenly, I noticed a fast approaching blur in the rearview mirror—it was the same Impala, barrelling towards me at breakneck speed. Before I knew it, everything faded to black.

I jolted awake in an ambulance, writhing in unimaginable pain. It felt like I was being crushed by a heavyweight, struggling for breath. Then, the lights flickered out once again. I came to, feeling a searing pain in my right armpit before blacking out again. When I fully regained consciousness, I was lying in a hospital bed with a tube in my chest, an IV in my arm, a neck brace on, and consumed by agonizing pain.

Both my parents were alongside me. One of the first coherent thoughts I had was of my car, realizing it must be a total loss. That's when I learned the full truth. The Impala driver had nodded off at the wheel and forcefully stepped on the accelerator, ramming into the back of my car at a shocking speed of 75 mph. With my wheels already angled, I was flung into the path of incoming traffic.

A Toyota RAV4, fresh off the lot, crashed into my passenger door at around 50 mph. The violent collision forced my car to jerk harshly, spinning in the opposite direction. The intensity of the crash was so severe, my rear wheel was ripped off and flung a quarter-mile down the road, and pieces of my rear brakes ended up in a tree. The force of the RAV4's hit caused my passenger door to crumple inward, nearly reaching the center console.

The impact also damaged my seat bolts, effectively detaching my seat from the car floor. First responders initially presumed the reclining mechanism was faulty as they found me lying flat in the car. My list of injuries included six broken ribs, a punctured lung, severely strained neck, a severe concussion, ruptured eardrum, and various scratches and scrapes. Though I still experience some hearing loss, motion sickness, and occasional neck stiffness, I can confidently say I've recovered as fully as possible from such a harrowing experience.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

3. Lack Of Wisdom Almost Did Me In

I remember the day I had my wisdom teeth removed, they gave me IV sedation. The arm where they placed the IV was a bit tender the day after. Two days later, it was still sore and started turning red, this prompted me to call the dental surgeon. He assured me this was normal and advised I take some Advil. The following day, the soreness and redness had increased, but the oral surgeon's advice remained the same. By the next day, the redness started creeping up my vein, yet the surgeon assured me it was alright.

However, I decided to seek a second opinion, and boy, am I glad I did. It was lifesaving! The nurse was resolute, telling me to abandon what I was doing and immediately head to the emergency room. When I arrived at the ER, they rushed me past the waiting room and began administering different types of wide-ranging antibiotics into each arm. They also served me a third antibiotic in pill form, since I had a blood infection.

What struck me was their pressing urgency, with them stating, "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 made my debut as a business owner by purchasing my first venture. My weekly ritual involved writing cheques for $50K and watching my bank balance shrink to a handful of dollars, banking on the hope that money would flow in next week. The cycle got nerve-wracking, especially when it was followed by the pending payroll. After struggling for months, I somewhat got a hang of it.

However, a fresh problem surfaced a few months later as my $50K cheques continued to be issued, but almost no payments came in. My main clientele was located in NYC which, at the time, was in shutter-down mode. It was an emotionally draining period. Amidst all this stress, my wife suggested getting life insurance for my protection, which I agreed to. To do so, I had to undergo a physical check-up, meaning a nurse came home to collect my blood sample.

Much to my surprise, she mentioned that my blood pressure was spiking and advised me for further diagnosis. Ordinarily, I would've shrugged it off, but something prompted me to consult a doctor. Following a detailed examination and bloodwork, the next day I received a copy of my blood report from the insurance company. Looking at it curdled my blood. My kidney stats were alarmingly high—this was far from normal.

I immediately contacted my physician and she suggested it had to be some mistake. She stated anyone with such stats would be extremely sick or possibly even incapacitated. To double-check, I visited them when they had my bloodwork results. The sight of my doctor's pale face and questioning about my wellbeing made my heart sink – my kidneys were essentially non-operational.

My following days were spent in the hospital, detoxifying my blood that had become dangerous. It turns out, had I not sought medical help, I would've had only a few more days to live. Consequently, I had to start dialysis three times a week and wait in line for a kidney transplant. Suddenly, my life had taken an unexpected 180-degree turn.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

5. It Was A Total Gas

I was in a sealed room taking a bath, while a gas water heater was running because another person was showering. I came to, stark naked, on the kitchen floor while my parents hovered anxiously above me with concerned faces. I had accidentally inhaled gas and they had to forcibly open the door when I did not respond to their shouts.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, LHOON

6. Water World

At the age of 33, I noticed an unusual weight gain, even though I wasn't eating excessively. I felt drained and got out of breath quickly. It was a wake-up call and I realized I was unwell. I visited a doctor for the first time in half a decade, and the results were shocking. My blood pressure read 185/149, it was seriously high and alarming. I was hospitalized immediately and on my hospital bed, my head felt like it was submerged in water.

During my four-day stay in the hospital, I shed 54 pounds, which was basically water weight. The harsh reality hit me, I was dealing with kidney failure and a congestive heart condition. Now, I am on a regimen of blood pressure medication which has significantly improved my health, however, I need to manage my water retention with pills.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

7. To Pee Or Not To Pee

I'd just recovered from a nasty concussion. Living by myself, I'd passed out for a little over two days. I was without food, water, or medicine, all alone. An intense need to use the bathroom woke me up, and I noticed that my legs were discolored. The next day, as I was still trying to figure out what had happened, one of my toes had turned grey. When I had a bowel movement the day after waking up, it was bloody.

I'm convinced that if the urgent need to urinate and the surprising realization that I had wet the bed hadn't aroused me, I might not have survived.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

8. All Hope Was Gone

My diagnosis came in—and it was a shocker. Stage 4 double-hit lymphoma. Thank goodness it hadn't spread to my brain, but the doctor gave me a grim prognosis. You wouldn't believe it, but after nine months of chemo treatments, I was cancer-free. Honestly, I was convinced I wouldn't make it. I'd even deleted all my social media and laid out all my final arrangements, including my will and DNR paperwork.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

9. Second Time Around

My appendix was inflamed and eventually burst. I went through an incredibly severe operation that didn't go as planned, so I had to undergo another one. Luckily, the second surgery was successful. The doctor cleaned out my insides to lower the chance of blood poisoning. Luckily, the antibiotics did their job. The thought of what might have happened if I had delayed my visit to the doctor by even a day was quite frightening.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

10. Fridge And Tunnel

At around half-past eleven in the evening, I wrapped up a task from work. There was a light drizzle, so the roads were notably slippery. An officer with his flashing lights caught my attention, parked at the side of the road. Unexpectedly, I spotted a refrigerator. It appeared someone had it fall off their truck but didn't bother to clear it off the road. I'm not sure why I didn't notice it sooner or react quicker, but I managed to veer to avoid it. However, this caused me to lose control of the car, which led me to spin out and crash into the guardrail and a lamp post.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Alan Stanton

11. The Dunes Almost Did Me In

I was attempting to swim towards a boat, which was bringing in food supplies for us. My energy levels were low, having spent several hours running around sandy dunes. Exhaustion took over me not long after I reached the halfway point, with debilitating cramps and fatigue setting in. I tried to keep myself floated by laying on my back, but my heavy breathing prevented that. I realized I was on the verge of drowning, so I immediately waved my hand in need for aid.

Shockingly, my distress signal was spotted by a speed boat near the shore. Swiftly, they removed their anchor and sped towards me. In what felt like no time, I was rescued by two brave men who jumped into the water, hauled me aboard their speedboat, and facilitated a reunion with my friends. I expressed my gratitude with warm hugs to these strangers-turned-heroes—they had certainly saved my life.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

12. They Goth It All Wrong

I once had an unusual problem with my hair, so I adopted the style of shaving my head clean. My wardrobe was completely black and I enjoyed venturing out after dark. One night, two gang members approached me, convinced I was part of a rival gang. One of them brandished a gun and the other a knife. Even after repeatedly asserting that I was not involved with any gangs, they remained skeptical. So I had to think on my feet—and in the end, I told them that I was a skinhead.

Their reaction was to simply let me leave. In the safety of my room later, stress consumed me because I knew I would continue to encounter them in my small town. I later heard rumors that they had planned to harm me that night, but changed their minds fearing retribution from white supremacists in my town, who they mistakenly thought I was affiliated with. It's still a mystery to me how I escaped unharmed from this situation. After all, I was just a goth kid who liked his head shaved.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

13. Heads Up!

So, the day after the latest volume of my most-loved manga hit the shelves, I was puttering home on my scooter when I came across a sluggish 20-ton truck. Figuring I'd speed by it, I revved up but hit a wayward brick and tumbled—my head uncomfortably close to the left front tire of the truck. Everything went dark for a quick moment, then my senses were jarringly reawoken by the grating sound of the tire against my helmet, reminding me of sandpaper rubbing.

With a start, I popped up, elation flooding over me as I realized my head was still firmly fixed to my body. Yet, a decade later, that scary accident still left its mark—a nasty case of PTSD. I've never again attempted to swerve around a car, no matter how slow it was trudging along.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

14. I Made It Back

I found myself lost in the destructive path of addiction, taking a hit in a gas station restroom. I lost consciousness, folding into a backbend between the wall and the toilet. First responders arrived, but they struggled to locate a heartbeat. They worked hard to safely realign me from the awkward position I was collapsed in. The whole time, all I could comprehend was a feeling of drifting in an eerie, infinite darkness, akin to the base of a well.

The voices of the people around me were distant and muffled, almost like the sensation of being underwater. My awareness of time seemed to have disappeared. It felt like only a blink, but several minutes passed until I regained full consciousness. I was brought back from the brink of death, and the experience frightened me to my core. This terrifying encounter made me swear off drugs altogether.

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15. The Big Squeeze

When I was just a seven-year-old kid, I found myself eating an orange after school one day. We were being looked after by the 13-year-old big brother of a friend, waiting for our parents to return home. Out of nowhere, I began to choke. I rushed to the fridge, my little mind struggling to grasp what was happening, hoping to find a glass of water.

Panicked, I sprinted into our living room, and, thank goodness, this teenage chap was able to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Despite saving me, he was left shaken as the situation seriously freaked him out.

To this day, 20 years on, I can't shake off the anxiety around eating oranges, a direct result of that traumatic experience.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

16. Walk Of Life

My dad and I were on our walk to the nearby grocery store. Everything seemed perfectly normal until we reached the final traffic signal before our house on our return trip. We got the green light to cross the street—but as soon as I stepped onto the road, the worst happened. Some careless driver in an Audi totally ignored the red light. He was remarkably close to striking me at around 80 km/h. If my dad hadn't alerted me in time, I could have ended up in the hospital—or even worse.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

17. I Almost Got The Ax

While inspecting welds on tubes in a power boiler, I encountered a nearly fatal event. The boiler's vertical walls are made up of 2" pipes spaced and sealed by a 0.5" steel "membrane". At the time, one of these replacement tubes, approximately 30 feet tall with an attached membrane, was situated behind me. Visually, it looked like an oddly attached, massive 30-feet battle-ax held in place by a thin wire.

Suddenly, the wire snapped, and I narrowly escaped being cut in half by the falling giant ax-like tube. Judging by the horrified expressions of the bystanders to my right, the incident was as terrifying as it felt. Though I didn't witness the event, I could hear the tube crash onto the scaffold behind me, feeling the resulting shock and gust of wind. One brave boilermaker attempted to catch the fallen tube and wound up with a lacerated hand. The fear-stricken face of my friend, who thought I was about to meet my maker, remains vividly etched in my memory.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Green Energy Futures

18. Slip Sliding Away

My buddy and I decided to trek the Angels Landing pathway in the stunning Zion National Park. The day was absolutely breathtaking, and even though peak season hadn't commenced, there were quite a few people on the trail. The path had certain parts where you were literally inches away from a steep, thousand-foot plummet. We had to make way for others descending the trail while balancing on a smooth rock, leading to a mild downward slope marking the edge.

Out of the blue, I could feel my feet beginning to lose their grip. Shock and fear took over as I threw myself forward, latching onto the ground. My friend, oblivious of the incident, decided to snap a picture as I stood up again. You can spot the worry and sheer horror on my face captured in that shot. Despite the scare, that hike was one of the best experiences I've had. Yet, it's important to note, when the trail is crowded, the level of danger multiplies.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

19. Spared From Landing In The Gutter

When I was just 16 years old, I didn't know much about the world, let alone drinking. One night, I attended a house party where the plan was simple: have a few drinks and then head to the bowling alley for some tunes and more booze. In my inexperience, I emulated what I saw on television and downed three beverages in under a minute. The end result was a not-so-fun mix of being absolutely wasted, throwing up on myself during our trip to the bowling alley, and being left alone in a chilly Canadian parking lot in November.

One of the party-goers spotted me while stepping out for a smoke break. Recognizing my dire situation, they called my mom and stepdad to come pick me up. After another incident of throwing up in the back of the car, they couldn't rouse me, so they decided to rush me to the hospital. There, medical staff had to pump my stomach and administer a couple of warm saline bags to regulate my body temperature.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

20. What A Bloody Mess!

When I was 14, I suffered from a serious case of thrombocytopenia because of a drug I was taking called Depakote. To ensure the medication wasn't harming me, I had to get my blood tested every six months. Unfortunately, those taking care of my tests weren't checking all required areas. The results were disorienting—it ended up that I was seriously ill before anyone noticed; I had lost about 85% of my blood platelets.

On top of that, my weight plummeted from 170 pounds to just 105, huge, disc-like bruises began appearing all over my body from the slightest contact, and my liver took on damage. My body was essentially collapsing from the inside. While most parts of me healed as time passed, my liver damage stuck around. Even after twenty years, it still makes me upset.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

21. Someone Deliver Me From This Evil

My first pregnancy brought me face-to-face with preterm labor. This came after a difficult pregnancy, where, unfortunately, I didn't get the care I needed. I rapidly advanced in labor in the hospital, where they swiftly moved me into a birthing room. There, they tried to halt my contractions with a flurry of medications. Sadly, their efforts didn't take effect quickly.

While sitting at a zero station, I dilated up to seven, an experience that was truly agonizing. I could literally feel my baby's head. Even though contractions came after every two minutes, I no longer dilated. Problems arose when I contracted an infection due to the frequent checks they had to perform on me. This condition marred my two-week hospital stay, as I progressively worsened, becoming more and more ill.

I spent every day of my second week vomiting, yet battling persistent contractions. In this dire state, they shockingly sent me home while I was running a fever of 104 degrees. So sick that walking was impossible, they had to carry me to the car. Overwhelmed with fear, I remember crying, pleading with my husband to take me to another hospital for help. And so, he drove me to a different one, where they wheeled me in.

From then, my memory is hazy. But I recall EMTs transporting me onto the bed, and the appearance of the OB/GYN who rushed in, grasping my hand. She comfortingly held my face, assuring me that she was there to safeguard me and my baby. I was informed later that in my delirium, I begged for someone to save my baby. At that stage, I was 34 weeks pregnant, and my baby's heart rate was undetectable.

The ultimate decision led to them taking my baby out. Both of us were on the verge of not surviving—to such an extent that doctors later expressed astonishment at our survival. This experience left me with lasting effects that I have not fully recovered from. But without the intervention of that OB/GYN, I firmly believe we would not have survived such a perilous delivery. It was non-negotiably a harrowing ordeal.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, World Bank Photo Collection

22. Mama To The Rescue

I used to be the classic guy who never went to the doctor. I let a health issue continually worsen over a full year until, eventually, my mom had to holler at a physician to help her admit me into a hospital. That intervention was very lucky. My blood tests came back with all sorts of problems, plus my large intestine had gotten so swollen it was almost completely shut down. I ended up staying in the hospital for two months, underwent multiple blood transfusions, and had an enormous amount of medicine before I finally started to feel somewhat like my old self again.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

23. Prophecy Fulfilled

At a party in my own house, I had a bit too much to drink and got seriously disoriented. Unable to tell the difference between my bedroom and basement doors—possibly because they're just so close—I accidentally tumbled down the stairs. On my way down, I banged my forehead on a nail sticking out of the wall, nearly hitting my eye.

As it turned it out, the bottom of the stairs was covered in broken glass, a result of us college students flinging bottles down there for kicks. After that tumble, I was out like a light.

Miraculously, I walked away with only a forehead that needed more than a dozen stitches—and, astonishingly, no brain injuries to speak of. The ironic part? When we first moved into that house, I actually mentioned that someone might mistake the bedroom for the basement and end up at the bottom of the stairs. Well, guess who that turned out to be?

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, evan courtney

24. Dad Didn’t Know Best

When I was around 12, I remember waking up one night with discomfort. The pain wasn't unbearable, just like the occasional stomach aches we sometimes have. I shrugged it off and managed for the next few days until it was late Saturday night, roughly 11:30 PM. Suddenly, the pain was so severe that I doubled over.

When I mentioned the pain to my dad, he dismissed it as a bathroom issue. Following his advice, I tried that, but the intense pain returned within just five minutes. This time, my mom decided it was serious enough to head to the hospital to double-check. That's when reality hit me like a truck.

Once we arrived, the doctors performed an MRI and multiple tests, as they didn't initially spot any abnormalities. The diagnosis was my appendix was acting up, and they advised me to lay off hard foods for a while for additional tests.

A few hours after returning home, there was an urgent call from the hospital alerting me that I needed surgery right away. Post surgery, the doctors revealed the severity of my condition and how close I had been to a life threatening situation. They said had my mom not rushed me to the hospital when she did, my appendix could've burst within a day, possibly causing my demise in complete unawareness.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

25. Treading A Thin Line Between Life And Death

A few days back, I had begun to feel somewhat unwell though it didn't seem serious. Leaving work at the typical time on a Friday, I headed off for some shopping. On the way to the shops, without any warning, I ended up vomiting everywhere. I took a few steps and vomited yet again, this cycle continued for the next seven days. Finally, having enough of this, I went to visit my doctor. With just a glance, my GP sent me straight to the emergency room.

In the ER, they conducted several blood tests and gave me medication to curb the vomiting. I was placed on various IV drips and antibiotics as they suspected a severe infection; however, this wasn't the case. What I really had was a 14 cm (5.5 in) blood clot obstructing the blood flow to my kidneys and liver, situated in a vein in my chest. The moment my hematologist saw my test results, he turned paper-white.

They put me on a very potent blood thinning medication, so strong in fact, that it led me to bleed from delicate membranes on my skin, nose, and eyes. I was a mere two hours away from total organ failure. These powerful blood thinners did succeed in pulling me back from immediate danger, yet there remained this enormous clot in my chest. The clot persisted even after two months.

Since the blood thinner couldn't dissolve the clot, it was decided that surgery was my next step. My surgery included the placement of a stent in my vein and the use of a balloon to further fragment the clot. The recovery from the clot took two and a half months, with an additional month needed to fully recover from the effects of the treatment.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

26. I Was Stumped!

Back when I was 20, I went to a house party at my buddy's place. His house was settled in an orchard, with a large tree standing on top of a hill, the setting looking like a leftover orange tree graveyard. The tree had a swing made out of a rope with a bike handlebar attached to it.

Over time, I'd swung on it countless times, so I was never scared to take another turn. It was night, and everything was shrouded in pitch darkness. Yet, I felt fearless and took my turn.

I took a running leap over the slope of the hill—that's when disaster struck. The rope on the swing snapped. I found myself shooting into the unknown, hands first. I still remember the whispering wind as I descended, anticipating the unpleasant greeting from a tree stump. I shielded my face, trying to move my head away, and hoped my arms could withstand the impact.

To my surprise, I landed hands first, miraculously avoiding all the stumps without a single scratch. As I got up, recovering from the shock, I heard the alarmed screams of my friends rushing down the hill towards me. Since that night, I've sworn off rope swings for good.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

27. Hot ‘N Cold

I found myself outdoors on a blisteringly hot day, totally unprepared for the heat. This caught me off guard, giving me heat stroke. My friends, in their quirky sense of wisdom, stripped me down and tucked me into a walk-in freezer to help me cool down. Regrettably, they spaced out and left me there for a couple of hours. It turned out that day, I managed a strange combo—I ended up with both heat stroke and hypothermia.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

28. Spear And Present Danger

When I turned 18, we embarked on a home project which involved chopping down trees in our garden. I was perched on a ladder, with my parents on ground level pulling a rope tied to the trees, about 6 meters high. We were working with an archaic chainsaw, which hardly cut through. With around 50 trees on our list, the project was time-consuming and spanned a few days.

One evening, my father returned from work armed with a spanking new chainsaw for the final ten trees or so. He was firm about being cautious with this one, since it was sharper and more powerful. With a heave, he set the machinery in motion and handed it to me on the ladder, before joining my mom in handling the rope. Enthused about the new tool, I plunged straight into cutting, wondering "Is it actually going to be that fast"?

My question was answered sooner than expected. This shiny chainsaw sliced through a 50-cm tree in seconds flat, a task the older tool would've taken minutes to complete. My parents hadn’t given me the green light to begin but the tree was already swaying—in my direction instead of theirs. I was knocked off the ladder with the tree falling to my right.

It was a narrow escape, and I was immensely relieved to be unharmed. I was donned in a cutting protection outfit that cushioned me from injuries beyond a few minor bruises. But as I stood up, I realized that my left arm wouldn't move. It felt pinned by a rusty, 1.5-meter high fence pole which had wormed its way up my jacket sleeve. Had the pole struck 20 cm to the left, I would've been skewered.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPxhere

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

In college, my friends and I were at a rock quarry for a swim. My friend and I wandered onto what seemed like a sandy slope at the quarry's edge. The slope was around 30 yards long and ended in a 50-foot drop onto hefty boulders. As we crossed, we began to slide slowly, a sensation I can't quite forget.

The slope was actually a layer of pebbles over a hard, dry surface. Our descent was so gradual that we tried to halt our slide by digging in our feet, laying flat, and clawing at the surface. But our slow slide continued. Yet 15 feet away from the drop, I noticed a fledgling sapling within an arm's grasp.

I managed to reach the sapling and used it gently to reduce my sliding over a distance of about four feet. Then, I stretched out my hand to my friend who mirrored my actions and used my hand to slow himself down. We halted roughly 10 feet from the edge. After that, we carefully clawed and kicked our way back to the top. I often wonder if a bird had eaten a seed and inadvertently planted it there, unknowingly saving our lives. That sapling was the only sign of growth on that entire slope.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

30. I Had Some Fighting Spirit

When I was 20, I experienced a miscarriage. My doctor advised me to head to the emergency room, so I did. They put something in my IV to help with the pain, but I had an adverse reaction to it. After that, they left me alone in the examination room for quite a few hours. During this time, I was bleeding profusely which, along with my bad reaction to the medicine, caused my heart rate and blood pressure to plummet.

I was completely conscious, but my motor functions were impaired. I had a hard time maintaining balance and my speech was unclear. I dropped the call button and couldn't ask for help. Moreover, I kept having unsettling hallucinations. I saw a swarm of ants crawling all over the room, a menacing shadow figure at my bed's foot telling me I was dying, shadow figures emerging from the furniture, and my deceased grandfather holding a flaming sword leading a group of angels to drive the demons away.

In between these hallucinations, in my brief moments of clarity, I noticed the time and was terrified to find that I'd stopped breathing. It had been almost a minute and a half since my last breath. I could feel my heart slowing, beating every two seconds, then three, then five. When my then-husband arrived, I could hear him, but I couldn't even lift my eyelids to see him.

When they transferred me to another bed, my blood stained the floor. A pool of blood accumulated on my previous bed, covering an area extending from my shoulders to my knees and an inch deep. Once in the recovery room, they administered the same medication again, causing another drop in my blood pressure and heart rate. What scared me the most was that they left it to my husband to help me get dressed and then DISCHARGED ME IN THAT STATE.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

31. A Real Life Cliffhanger

While cruising on my motorcycle through the mountains, I messed up a turn and skidded into the loose dirt alongside the road. Suddenly, I lost all traction, causing both me and my bike to skid right off the edge of a cliff. My motorcycle collided with a mound of rocks, flipping dramatically off the cliff edge. Incredibly, I managed to slide just past the rocky obstruction, avoiding a cluster of trees on the other side, and plummeted over the cliff.

The drop was roughly 5 feet, with about another 20 feet down somewhat slanted terrain. I came to a halt a mere arm's distance from another cliff edge. Peering over, I realized a terrifying 1,000-foot near-vertical drop. Had I been going even a smidgen faster, I would have surely met my end.

To top off my good fortune, my motorcycle, after its collision with the rocks, had lodged itself in a tree halfway up the trunk. With the generous aid of a passing truck driver and a length of rope, I managed to dislodge and rescue my ride. Astoundingly, thanks to my helmet and all-leather protective suit, I made it out of this wild adventure completely unscathed.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, driver Photographer

32. Hammer Time

When I was 12, my neighbor was doing some hefty work with a sledgehammer outside his house. I decided to bring him a water bottle and observe what he was tackling. Suddenly, time seemed to slow down. After he hit the metal object incorrectly with the sledgehammer, it start flying in my direction. Thing then quickly took a turn.

Despite being 3-4 meters away, the outcome could have been dire if my neighbor hadn't maintained a steady grip on the hefty tool. I became paralyzed with fear. Then, he respectfully asked me to return home as he didn't want to risk another near-incident that could have turned me into minced meat.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPicryl

33. They Had The Gall To Say It Was Nothing

When I was just 16 years old, I fell ill and eating became unbearable. Anytime I attempted to eat, the pain was so severe that I would lose consciousness. My health issue was dismissed by doctors, attributing it to anxiety and recommending I seek help from a psychologist. Over time, I couldn't tolerate food at all, and I was constantly in pain. On a few occasions, I even started throwing up blood and fainting.

This situation carried on until I was 18, with doctors continuing to mislabel it as anxiety. My health degraded to the point where I was confined to my bed for four months, suffering from malnutrition. Eventually, after two years of being sick, a gastrointestinal specialist decided to look deeper into my situation. It turned out that my gallbladder was failing, and it was affecting my entire system. I was also diagnosed with severe GERD and IBS. Eventually, the doctor performed a surgery to remove my failing gallbladder, and incidentally, my appendix too.

However, when it came to medication, I was incompatible with most of them, leaving me impaired and mostly due to medical negligence.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

34. The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall

I used to tip the scales at 130 kgs (or 287 lbs), but then I took quite the tumble from the third floor. My instinct was to use my right arm to cushion impact, which ended up snapping my humerus in two. To make matters worse, my pelvis was absolutely crushed, and my right leg had nerve damage. After a grueling two months in the hospital, which included four major operations, along with seven months of bed rest and receiving 33 titanium parts in my pelvis, a rod in my arm, and family support, I finally got back on my feet.

But the ordeal wasn't over yet. A drooping foot on my right leg remained, which I managed to fix with a foot brace. Surprisingly, the doc who treated me couldn't believe I walked away from such a fall without hurting any vital organs or breaking my back, neck, or skull, but here I am, surviving against the odds.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

35. A Day At The Races

The school year wrapped up just as I was about to turn 11. My class had a great trip to the Cleveland Zoo. Later, my uncle came over to take my brother and me to go see some car racing that night—it was a tradition we had. When we got back, I checked with my mom if my best friend, Jacob could come along and then sleepover.

She agreed, so I dialed Jacob up and told him excitedly about our plan. His parents agreed too, and shortly after, he joined us. Despite not knowing it then, they would deeply regret saying yes. That evening, my stepdad, uncle, little brother, Jacob, and I all piled into our family van and drove to the race track.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Eating snacks, buying glow sticks from vendors, watching the races, and playing tag. However, my stepdad and uncle indulged a bit too much in alcohol. Once the racing was done, we piled back into the van, all set to return home.

It was late, between midnight and 2 AM. We kids were goofing around with glow sticks and laughing. Suddenly, as we were about to merge onto the highway, my uncle shouted "Woah, woah, woah." And before I knew it, bright headlights filled the windshield.

In the next instant, we were hit by a deafening, ground-shaking explosion as if the van was collapsing onto itself. Dust clouded the air, and all the lights inside the car snapped on. The next thing I remember, I woke to see my brother bleeding from his forehead. My stepdad was hitting the steering wheel and yelling, then asked if everyone was okay before I blacked out once more.

The next awareness I had, I was surrounded by ambulance lights, and my legs were stuck between seats. I was in shock, rambling and thought I might lose my legs. Turning my head, I saw a truck tire right where Jacob should've been. I was rushed to the hospital.

What happened was a semi-truck hit us on the back passenger side, where Jacob was sitting. He didn't survive. My legs, although trapped, were only bruised from knee to toes, a miracle I can't quite understand. My brother was also fortunate, after stitches in a children's hospital, he came through okay. My uncle too made it, while my stepdad ended up doing time for drunk driving.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Washington State Dept of Transportation

36. On The Wrong Side Of the Bed

My mom, sister, and I were on a road trip to Florida for a vacation. There was a car in front of us that was pulling a flatbed trailer with a mattress on it. They'd rigged it up with just one bungee cord that was barely holding on. It only took a small gust of wind to lift the mattress, loosen the bungee cord, and launch the mattress onto the highway. It landed right under our front right tire.

Suddenly, we were spinning across all lanes of traffic, eventually veering off the road. After what felt like forever, we finally stopped. Then, we were hit with a shocking update. A kind passerby stopped and told us how we'd barely missed a collision with a huge truck—we were talking a matter of inches. Besides that, we avoided any impacts with other cars, despite our wild ride across every lane. Miraculously, none of us were injured and our car was undamaged.

But it took us days to get over the shock and truly understand what had occurred. One of the last things I remember from that day was the woman from the flatbed car. She was trying to laugh the whole ordeal off, as though it wasn't a big deal, which still drives me up the wall when I think about it.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr,

37. Menacing Meningitis

I awoke abruptly in the dead of night with a throbbing headache. As time passed, my condition only worsened; I found myself unable to walk without assistance, my speech slipping away, and my grip failing me. My head pain was so intense that it had me vacillating between bouts of nausea and outright screams. This led to my hospitalization due to meningitis. I ended up spending an entire week in the hospital, with an additional return visit the following week due to a minor setback.

Afterwards, I struggled with severe short-term memory loss for half a year. It was so intense that maintaining a simple conversation became a challenge, and damage to my optic nerve meant I needed to use reading glasses for several years. Oddly, even today, there are people who were once familiar to me, but now, their faces and stories are entirely blank in my mind, even when others remind me of them or show me pictures.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

38. Semi-Shocked To Be Alive

Just two days before the joyous occasion of Christmas, I was at the wheel of my hefty dump truck, its trailer loaded with sturdy steel poles. I was nearing a three-way junction when I noticed an individual approaching rather briskly from a side street. I kept an eye on her; as we both inched closer to the intersection, it dawned on me that she wasn't intending to halt. I held my breath, praying she would slow down just enough as I proceeded.

She, however, rammed right into my truck at the juncture where it connected with the trailer, causing me to skew sharply. This sent my trailer spinning into the path of an oncoming semi. With the impact of the trailer colliding with the truck, I was flung in the opposite direction. I found my truck capsizing onto its driver’s side, with the cab crashing into the trailer of the semi first. Struck with awe and mentally piecing together what had just happened, I remained fastened in my seat for a moment, remarkably unharmed and intact. Gathering my courage, I clambered out of the passenger side window, took a leap off the truck, and walked away unscathed.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Cristóbal Alvarado Minic

39. Forbidden Fruit

Back when I was just a toddler, my mom and I frequently strolled around the local park. One day, my tiny mind thought it'd be an excellent plan to snatch some fallen fruit right off the ground from a nearby tree. According to my mom, she took her eyes off me for just a moment, and when she checked on me again, I was gasping for air like a fish out of water. She swiftly performed the Heimlich maneuver, and thanks to her, I'm still here to tell the tale.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, anjanettew

40. Those Surgeons Were Heroes

When I turned eleven, I unexpectedly lost hearing in my right ear. It was discovered that I had a brain aneurysm and a tumor on the right side of my head. Doctors predicted I only had six months left to live. And it gets worse—the tumor made the surgery risky as it was entwined with my jugular vein and facial nerves. There was a chance I could lose my life or face paralysis if anything went wrong during the surgery. And that was without even taking the aneurysm into consideration. A team of three surgeons took me through a sixteen-hour operation and astonishingly, I came through it with no lingering effects.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

41. We Were Almost Up A Creek

When I was just a tyke of four or five, I nearly met my end in a river during a ferocious storm. My mother and I were swept off our feet by the powerful waters. And, to add to the terror, our life jackets weren't any help. We were both drawn under the churn of the river. Honestly, I can't recollect many details about what followed.

But, according to mom's account, some guy swooped in and managed to haul both of us to firm ground. Once my mom had collected herself, she tried to find this mystery savior to express gratitude, but he was gone. All traces of him had vanished. She convinced herself that he was our guardian angel, and to this day, I stick with that belief too.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

42. My Cousin Cracked My Skull

When I was about four years old, I was at my grandma and grandpa's place. They had this neat little motorized jeep that my cousin and I loved to play with. From what I remember, I told others I would exit the jeep to pick something up. Unfortunately, he didn't hear my warning and pressed abruptly on the pedal. I was standing up, and his sudden move caused me to tumble headfirst onto the harsh asphalt road.

The fall caused severe damage to my head, creating a crack that extended from the back of my skull to just above my right ear. If the crack had been even a bit more extensive, I might not have survived. Even as things were, my life hung in the balance. The prospects were either a potential loss of life or a life of paralysis. Miraculously, I managed to escape both. Unfortunately, the incident left me completely deaf in my right ear, a condition that neither hearing aids nor cochlear implants could fix.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

43. It Was Almost The End Of The Road

At the age of 17, I was having drinks with a group of friends and someone slipped something into my beverage. Suddenly, I blacked out. One person suggested to dump me on the side of the street. But my closest friend was there, she told that person off and she lifted me all the way home. When I was unconscious, she held back my hair while I were throwing up and made sure I had water to sip. My friend told me later on that I was retching for a lengthy period. If she wasn't there for me that day, I could have potentially choked.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

44. Driven To Distraction

While on my way to work, my dad began suffering from a heart attack in the passenger seat. Suddenly, I found myself smacking my head on top of the truck before ending up on the grass. I attempted to stand up but couldn't, and even dragging myself proved impossible. Before I knew it, paramedics were there, busy fitting me with a neck brace and placing me on a backboard.

I recall thinking, "Gosh, it's hot and the sun's right in my eyes." The memory of being shuttled from an ambulance to a helicopter, then landing on a hospital roof is an unclear one. I do recall asking a nurse about my dad's whereabouts and insisting she be honest with me. When I finally regained consciousness, I couldn't believe it—I was tied to a bed, had a breathing tube in, a neck brace on, and my dad was no longer there.

My injuries were extensive including a broken neck, crushed ribs, a shattered collarbone, fractures on the left side of my pelvis, and a broken left wrist. Additionally, my lungs were filled with blood. The medical staff was uncertain whether it was the heart attack or the accident that ultimately took my dad. At that point, I was just 24 and my daughter was eight months old. Thankfully, she was safe at home with a caregiver. Due to the accident, I'm left with a limp when I push myself too hard, a numb right hand, and constant pain...but I'm still here, despite odds that I wouldn't make it out of the intensive care unit.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

45. Asleep At The Wheel

A long while back, I dozed off at the wheel and crashed into a post. This accident resulted in a fractured eye socket, a smashed cheekbone, a broken nose, and a shattered jaw, causing me to lose nine of my teeth. My lower lip was nearly torn clean off my face. I was left littered with numerous scars from the various cuts and gashes I'd sustained. But, the real punchline was the bleeding in my brain. Miraculously, though, the brain hematoma resolved itself and, thankfully, a top-notch ENT/plastic surgeon pieced me back together.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesFlickr, Kristian Bjornard

46. The Big Apple Took A Bite Out Of Me

Once I was a delivery person in New York City. I was cycling down the famous Fifth Avenue when I found cars lined up in a row. I moved along the left edge of these cars because I had to take a right turn ahead. I figured I'd smoothly slip by the cars and take a right past the last one, before the traffic light changed to green. My plan was to make my turn in front of the final car whilst the light remained red.

However, things didn't unfold as planned. Either I miscalculated the situation or the last car, a taxi, unexpectedly jumped the gun. As I turned to the right, the cab accelerated suddenly, hitting me on the side. It sent me flying over its hood, wrecking my bike in the process. Oddly enough, in mid-air, I could actually hear the sound of my bones cracking. I regained consciousness in a hospital after being in a critical state for six days. The intense pain I felt when I woke up left me speechless as I found myself encased in a body cast. It was a close call and I consider myself fortunate to have survived.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

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

When I was just three years old, I tripped on my shoelace and flew headfirst into a marble table. The impact broke my nose and skull, and it was so intense that it laid bare my eye, reaching right up to my temple. Medical staff even needed to extract bits of marble from my brain. Things got so severe that the doctors advised my parents to start preparing for my possible passing. Thankfully, I managed to pull through.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPxhere

48. This Doctor Had A Brain Cramp

One evening around 10 PM, I got a sudden, terrible stomachache. After it worsened in an hour, I decided to head to the hospital. The emergency doctor simply ordered a urinalysis, and that was it. He found a little blood and assumed it was just period pains, sent me off with the advice to take Tylenol. I was so angry, I felt like giving him a piece of my mind for assuming I couldn't tell a period cramp from this pain.

Back at home, I finally fell asleep around 1 AM, but an hour later I woke up feeling nauseous. Despite the pain, I drove back to the ER. The same nurse from before just rolled her eyes and asked if I'd taken any Tylenol like the doctor said to. At my wit's end, I insisted on seeing a different doctor.

Despite the pain crippling me, they didn't take me seriously because I didn't have a fever. After a two-hour wait, around 4:30 AM, a general surgeon finally saw me. When he pressed my lower right abdomen, I screamed. He then ordered a CT scan that revealed appendicitis.

So there I was, scheduled for surgery and given morphine for the pain as I waited. I wasn't brought into the operating room until 9 PM. And things were worse than anticipated. By the time they started the surgery, it turned out my appendix had already burst. I even woke up briefly in the middle of the surgery struggling to breathe.

My parents drove for 10 hours to be with me during and after the surgery. As I was not in recovery by about 2 AM, they started to worry but were only given the vague assurance that I would come out once the surgery was done. I expected a short overnight stay and to leave the next day, but that turned into a whole week.

Every day, we asked why I was still there and requested to speak with the surgeon who did the operation, but he never made an appearance. This continued even after two missed follow-up appointments, leaving us all wondering about my prolonged stay. It wasn't until I got my hospital records from my family doctor that I learned the whole story.

They kept me there to watch for complications like sepsis, particularly as I had diabetes. But being practically held captive in the hospital as a scared young person, with my distraught parents constantly asking for answers with none given—It was all too fishy. Plus the surgeon's refusal to meet us post-surgery further confirmed that something was indeed off about the whole experience.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesPexels

49. One Step Closer To The End

I used to work with a construction firm. We brought on a new employee who had falsely claimed he knew how to install scaffolding correctly. Unfortunately, he failed to set up the walking planks correctly. One morning while I was conducting a routine check-up, I fell straight down, ricocheting off the scaffolding as I plummeted four stories. I ended up with several broken ribs and a few fractured hand bones.

Near-Fatal ExperiencesWikimedia Commons

50. Tree Time

During mid-summer, I found myself working on trees for a landscaping company based in Cape Cod. Our assignment was to remove numerous dried oaks scattered across a client's 75-acre property. A week into the job, we had grown pretty complacent about chopping down some of the larger trees. My next task was dealing with an enormous Y-shaped oak tree, measuring about 3 feet in diameter.

The oak stood on a slight incline, giving the illusion of a straightforward task—just cut and let gravity do the rest. So, I did just that. However, instead of falling down the hill as expected, the tree fell sideways and got trapped on top of a young sapling, using it as a sling.

After some smart chopping, we managed to get most of the larger tree down. Yet, a big part was still lodged in the sapling, partially on the ground. This piece measured about 2 feet across and 25–30 feet in length. I began cutting sections off the dangling limb, oblivious of the impending disaster.

When I made a cut, turned around and locked my chainsaw, suddenly "BAM", everything went black.

An oak limb had sprung up and crashed into me from behind, trapping me underneath it. I came round to find my friend’s boots near my head. Feeling the tree above me shift slightly, I knew it was my one shot at escape. Managing to slide out from under it, I kneeled, dazed and bewildered.

I found myself spitting out blood and teeth fragments. Turns out, my face had hit a rock during the fall. This same rock was perilously close to my chainsaw blade. I also noticed I couldn't hear a thing until I removed my earplugs. All I could hear then was my friend frantically asking, "Are you OK? Should we call an ambulance?"

My initial response was yes, but I quickly reconsidered due to my financial situation and our remote location. Figuring it'd be quicker to drive to a hospital, my mate and I staggered to the truck. Once there, I noticed something strange about my lip—half of it was hanging off my face.

We drove at top speed towards the hospital. As my vision began to fade, I blared the radio and stuck my head out the window to stay conscious. At the ER, the reception was deserted. Bloodied and holding a paper cup to catch the blood, I rang the bell for help.

A nurse approached, listlessly handed me a clipboard, and asked, "How can I assist you?" Turning to look at me, her eyes widened in shock. I was promptly seated in a wheelchair, given a neck brace and attended to. By the end of the visit, I had 37 stitches in my face and mouth and a couple of cracked teeth. A few inches to the right, and I may have lost my head or been paralyzed.

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


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