I was reading Brian's Turkey post and remembered reading a book (based on scientific facts although fiction) it dealt with a man's last 4 minutes of cognitive thought.
He had been hung in one life and decapitated in another - each death left his head intact, but his body dead and as he slowly faded from no oxygen, his brain still thought and rationalized and slowly he went from thought to a dream like state until nothingness.
It was interesting reading his observations, only things relative to his head could he relate to, he could hear and understand sound and speech and felt trapped like no other claustrophobic you can imagine as he waited for real death to finally come.
I know there have been extreme cases of hypothermia where drowning victims went without oxygen for 30 minutes or more, but the cold slowed down everything and often minimal damage was done.
I said "based on scientific facts" and according to the author, brainwaves continued even though the body was severed in animal testing, he fictionalized accounts of dying and said (in his opinion) the only 3 ways to die immediately are 1) having your head smashed 2) electrocution and 3 a good head-shot that disrupted electronic signals within the brain.
I know I've mentioned Zombie stories where they could "think" during the time of dying and oxygen starvation (nasty Zombies hell-bent on shooting back at you, jumping in a car and running over you, etc..) I just wonder, during heart attack/death, do you lie there thinking "well this sucks" for 4 minutes trying to communicate and having to come to the realization that you are mere minutes from death, or is it over and done with then???
And if you DID have conscious thought for that short time, would you spend it on Fox-hole religion if you are a non believer? Or just prayer that if this IS your time and please open the door cause I'm coming home?