The Blue Pill by Joni Caggiano

A clutter of circular blue pills against a dark woolen background
Image Source: Canva Pro

Having had migraines for years, I knew I would need that third pill. No more than 300 milligrams of Imitrex, and I would take that enormous, new, blue blood pressure pill my family doctor just prescribed. I was way too young to be having blood pressure issues. But the unexpected has a way of meandering into life.

Still recovering from my neck surgery, my Physical Therapy doc had sounded the alarm bells after taking my vitals. My PT would have to be stopped and the justification was dangerously high blood pressure. My shock had been evident as I had voiced my confusion, “Doc, you must have made a mistake. I have never had elevated blood pressure and surely haven’t developed it in a month.”

The next thing I knew, they had called my family doctor, who had agreed to see me. Dr. Elizabeth Brown, a new physician in the office, completed a pretty comprehensive physical, including an EKG. She told me with heart-warming empathy, “Mrs. Stillman, I am sorry to tell you that it appears you have had at least one heart attack. You have dangerously high blood pressure, so I am writing you a prescription and referring you to a heart specialist.” My mouth had hung open like a cheap fly trap. 

Exhausted, after getting home, I eased into my cozy clothes and took the Imitrex and the massive new blood pressure pill. I then went back downstairs and put my head on my husband’s lap.

“Honey, can you rub my temples some more?”  

“Of course, and maybe the blood pressure pill will help. You did take it, didn’t you?”  

“Yes, I did. I don’t want to end up in the emergency room tonight!”

Even with my eyes closed, I started feeling dizzy, which seemed weird. Nausea hit me like a freight train going full speed. Jumping up from the couch, I made it to the first stair landing before I felt so light-headed that I collapsed.

My headache and nausea were gone. It was an indescribable but wonderful feeling. In fact, I hadn’t felt this great since I was a youngin, as Mama would say. There was unmistakably nothing wrong with me. I felt buoyant. Then I heard some voices I did not recognize. I was detached entirely from my body, just hovering above, yet I wasn’t afraid.  

I heard every word with distinct clarity, spoken by three strange male voices. They were talking amongst themselves and apparently to someone at the hospital on another line, reporting that I had no pulse or pressure. Two of the men were talking in low voices, and I heard them repeating the same sentence, “Make sure you don’t move her at all!”  

I realized I had no sense of time and felt only extreme joy.

I then heard three more voices speaking with confidence. I realized that I was not going anywhere and felt fine where I was. 

These men were paramedics. I had no idea what they were doing to me, as I could not feel a thing. They kept repeating the exact phrases: no pulse, no pressure, and don’t move her.

Not once did I hear my husband’s voice. Firefighters were also present at the scene and were echoing the paramedics words. I felt myself floating further away and pondered what I might feel next—fully aware that my spirit had broken free from my earthly body.

From an early age, I had known that death would not be a frightening or painful experience.

They were all whispering now and reporting the same information. “Unfortunately, there has been no recorded pulse or pressure on this thirty-year-old Caucasian female since the arrival of the firemen at the scene. Our monitoring continues to show the same vitals as the initial team.”

A more expressive voice repeated, “Do not attempt to move her to another location. Leave her where she is lying!”  

Finally, I understood it all. I was legally dead, and the hospital did not want my body moved. When someone dies at home, the spouse is often guilty of murder or foul play.

It wasn’t like I could hear a voice, but I understood what God was asking. Two questions came to me. The first question was – how would you feel about leaving your daughter. It took only a moment of reflection. She was too young to lose her mother. The second question was about leaving my husband. I could feel his immaturity, as I had married a young man, and the guilt he would feel if I were to die. Hurting me the way he had, it would be difficult for him to forgive himself. Still, I had not heard his voice. I couldn’t envision leaving him this way.

I was no longer floating.

My head didn’t hurt anymore, and I could hear a male voice excitedly saying, “Wait, please be quiet, I think I am reading a low pressure, and now I have a steady but low pulse. She’s alive!” 

I barely remember the ambulance ride, but I started coming around at the hospital. It didn’t take long for them to figure out an important fact. The blood pressure pill, the one prescribed by the doctor a day earlier, was too strong and had killed me. No one genuinely understood the complete story except perhaps me.

God had been in control of the situation that night. The severely debilitating migraine caused me to take 300 milligrams of Imitrex, the maximum dose, which also causes blood pressure to rise, as it functions as a potent vasoconstrictor. For just enough time, God had allowed me to feel how wonderful it was to be one with Him in spirit.

As a little girl, I had begged God, yelling at him in the rain, sun, and out of the shame of the home life I endured, to take me with him to heaven. This death experience was God’s way of showing me the two incalculable reasons for which I would continue to live. God had known this all along, but I had not – a crucial life lesson learned through death.


Author’s Note:  This is a true story but names, dates, etc., have been changed. My account does not include embellishments and may seem dry compared to seeing angels, a tunnel of light, etc. However, as a fervent believer, this was still a comforting experience.

Joni is an internationally known and published poet, photographer, and author.  She is a co-author of the Amazon #1 bestselling poetry anthology “Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women”, and the upcoming poetry anthology, “Hidden in Childhood” to be released late January 2023 by Literary Revelations.  She is a regular contributor to MasticadoresIndia and a regular contributor to MasticadoresUSA and Spillwords Press NYC, where she has been twice nominated and won Publication of the Month for, “Love Me Like a Luna”, (November 2022).  As a surviving Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACOA), Joni’s blog is Rum and Robots and her complete list of books, anthologies, magazines and contests can be found at Joni Caggiano’s Publications.  Joni’s blog is an effort to help other ACOAs through faith and a strong kinship with nature.  Joni is also a retired nurse.

You can also read her writing on Instagram @jonicaggiano and Twitter @theinnerchild1.

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    Joni’s true story is a depiction that one can only marvel at. Having experienced death only to return to life with a sense of peace and renewed strength. I can’t even imagine the feeling of being dead but still knowing what’s taking place in the living world. This is definitely an unforgettable lesson, a sign that one can’t take life too lightly, there’s so much to be cherished with every passing breath.
    Congratulations Joni!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you so much, Terveen. You are so right. There is no way of knowing when something bizarre might happen to you. Especially a strange series of events indeed. Blessings for a beautiful week, Terveen, big hugs, and thank you for all you do!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. kenhume31 says:

    Gripping story Joni, intriguing! 🤔 Ithad me hooked from beginning to end! 👍👌👏 That’s the power of a true story I suppose.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Ken, thank you so much for reading and for your kind comment. I really ended up being diagnosed with a Pheochromocytoma (PC), and only 2-8 individuals end up being diagnosed with this annually per 1 million people. These are the statistics the Cancer Society gives for this condition. I had surgery to remove the adrenal gland on my left side, which sits on top of the kidney on each side. This is what caused the Dr. to diagnose me with such high blood pressure, and at the time, it was dangerously high I have no doubts. I felt badly she was fired the very next day. I think many family doctors might have done the exact same thing she did because the condition is so rare. Thank you Ken for your kindness. Big hugs, Joni

      Liked by 3 people

  3. michnavs says:

    I’d like to thank you Joni from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story and to Terveen too for publishing this. A lot of things are goin on in my mind right now, as i too had been seriously ill at some point. And yes, others may not believe it but for me and i am sure for you God, has a better plan for us for allowing us to see or witness our own deaths.

    Thank you truly for sharing this Joni.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Dearest Mich, thank you so much for all that you said. Yes, I am sure that there was a reason, and look at all the things that we would have both missed. I am sorry you were sick but grateful you are with us today. You affect lives every day Mich. What a blessings and thank you so much for reading. Love and hugs, Joni

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Joni what a fascinating experience and really what a gift was given to you too. I thought your style of telling was just perfect and as it is a true story, you kept it that way and it felt real, true, I saw it all visually very clearly as you inside and as those scrambling to help you.I too believe that death’s journey will be a peaceful acceptance, a beautiful feeling of returning and a joyous surrender. Thank you for sharing this and so glad MasticadoresIndia decided to publish it. It’s an amazing experience and I feel you are very blessed to have had it.It has given you much more appreciation for life and what is important to you too. Thank you for sharing this moment with us all. I found it very uplifting and inspiring my sweet friend. 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Dearest Karima, I am glad you read this piece and understood its significance. I so appreciate your very gracious comment too. It was a gift. It was a strange experience because my blood pressure spiked because of this strange disease that only 2 to 8 people get in a year, and that is per 1 million people. The Dr., not being an endocrinologist, really did what she thought needed to be done. I have often thought of that young Dr. getting fired the following day. I don’t think they were fair to her, but you are right; I was fortunate to have had this experience. I am grateful that I was given a choice too. So many people don’t. I hope you are having a wonderful week my dear friend. I am sending you much love, many hugs and blessings. Love Joni

      Liked by 1 person

  5. haoyando says:

    High blood pressure can be dangerous. I know a person who really feels dizzy sometimes due to his high blood pressure. And he has to be very careful with salt intake and everything else. I was not sure what would happen in the beginning since it could be a health scare, or it could be a murder, or…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      It was a strange thing as I was very young and healthy. The spike in blood pressure was caused by a tumor on my adrenal gland. Thank you so very much for reading Haoyando. I think the hospital did not want them to move me because they always suspect a family member of murder. Then I was back, and am grateful I am still going strong. You are right; high blood pressure is nothing to mess around with and should be treated. Sending you big hugs Joni

      Liked by 1 person

  6. byngnigel says:

    A buddy on his way out once told me, you don’t know how much life is worth living until you’ve died and come back. Joni, this was a fantastic and gripping story. I’ve been on deaths door, twice now..there’s always a peace that God gives. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you stuck around. You’ve been a blessing and the world appreciates you Joni. This story was good. 💪🙏💙

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Dearest Nigel thank you so much for reading. Yes, I did feel so peaceful and I can’t even begin to explain how great my body felt, or what was likely my spirit. I am glad you are still around too Nigel. You touch my heart with your kind comment Nigel and I am so glad you enjoyed the story. Sending you lots of love and hugs my friend. Have a blessed day!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. byngnigel says:

        Same to you joni

        Liked by 1 person

  7. HensBlooms says:

    You’re an amazing author Joni🌸💕I love your writing and was hanging onto every word.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Oh, thank you so much Henrietta, for reading me here, and I am so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, my experience was much different than many you read about, but after I saw how wonderful I felt, I know that crossing over will be a wonderful experience. Blessings to you, dear Henrietta, sending my love and hugs

      Liked by 2 people

  8. An absolutely amazing and magnificently written story! And, without a doubt, extremely comforting for me as well. Brava, Joni!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you so much Nancy. Your comment really touched my heart. I was very comforted and grateful I was given a chance. How can I not have faith. Too many things have happened to me in my life, I know God exist. Thank you dear Nancy for reading. Sending my love and my blessings, Joni

      Liked by 2 people

  9. smj55 says:

    Such a birthday treat for me to read your story Joni. I also felt like I was right there witnessing this scene. Praise to God you are still on this earth, love you dearly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Thank you dear Janette you are such a sweetheart, reading my work on your birthday! I truly hope you had the most magnificent day. I wish I could have been there with you. I love you my dear friend. Big hugs and thanks for sending the pic it made Scott and I both smile, trying to imagine you, as tiny as you are eating all that food. Never happen. Love you and happy birthday sweetheart.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. An incredible true story!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. jonicaggiano says:

      Dearest Dawn, thank you so much. I was blessed to have experienced this, even though I always expected a tunnel and light, and I guess we always imagine how things might be because of what we have read. I am just grateful I had the chance to stay and glad that what was really wrong with me was diagnosed and fixed with surgery. It is the most incredible feeling of peace, and I felt like air. It felt pretty amazing, but then I genuinely believe for all who do believe it will be an incredible experience, just like I had. I also had no sense of fear or worry. Thank you so much for reading me here, Dawn. Have a blessed day tomorrow and a great week ahead. Big hugs, Joni

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so glad you survived and had a good experience! It takes away so much fear and doubt. God bless you, Joni!


        1. jonicaggiano says:

          Thank you Dawn, yes it is true, I can honestly say I don’t want to suffer from a long illness but once I die I will not be afraid, and I know it will not only be a peaceful process but I will not be afraid. I will also feel weightless and without any pain or sorrow..

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Americaoncoffee says:

    A very touching story. We are more spirit then flesh. Pain and suffering are awful. There are lessons in pain and suffering but I cannot say what they are. I truly believe that life is a journey that interludes with more of life instead of death.

    Liked by 1 person

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