She is a wheelchair user and she has a ventilator to breathe. But guess what, she’s ready to go fishing. Her condition did not hinder her to see the good side of everything and to enjoy what life has to offer. How she responded to the tragedy truly inspired the people around her for she remained hopeful, energetic and full of life.
Kim Haeg, a 28-year old Southold resident, survived a life-changing accident when she was about to go college. Ten years ago, she was getting ready, preparing everything for her new life. Being an enthusiastic young woman, she was excited about everything, but things did not turn out the way she expected them to be.
What seemed to be a wonderful start of a great new chapter turned out to be a nightmare. In the blink of an eye, she found herself in a hospital bed fighting for her life. The accident caused several injuries, including broken ribs, jaw, pubic bone and pelvic bone, femur on both legs and four teeth. Her liver was severely lacerated, her lungs were badly bruised and she sustained a contusion on one of her kidneys.
Haeg also obtained a closed head injury causing fluid in the brain. The condition required immediate head surgery or craniotomy in order to relieve the brain from pressure due to the accumulated fluid inside. Her abdomen was crushed causing compartment syndrome. She also experienced adult respiratory distress and an aneurysm (a blood-filled bulge in the wall of a blood vessel) due to the impact.
But what made her condition worse was the compression fracture she obtained which affected her cervical spine that rendered her paralyzed. Haeg’s life in just a minute was turned upside down.
She recalled that it was hard for her to accept what happened. She could no longer do the things she loved. She even needed the help of other people to accomplish simple activities of daily living, such as combing her hair, brushing her teeth and washing her face.
But the accident and her condition, though it changed her life a lot, did not make her give up on life. She said that even if she has a difficult time with all the physical challenges, she is still thankful that she is alive. She may not be able to do everything like before, but she can still enjoy what life has to offer.
And what makes her even more hopeful and full of life are the people around her – her family, friends, neighbors – because they shower her with love and care and make her feel that she is not different and that her condition does not make her less of a person.
Even the townsfolk love and adore her. In fact, Captain Bob Rochetta at Rainbow Charters, Inc. would arrange a day every year to take Haeg out onto the open waters and lets her enjoy one of her favorite hobbies, fishing.
Haeg, even though she uses a ventilator and a wheelchair, gets excited every time she goes out with Captain Rochetta. She even invites a few of her friends, who are also mobility device users, to have fun and enjoy a great day out on the open seas.
Despite the life-altering injuries she obtained, the changes in her life and the physical challenges she encountered, Haeg remained hopeful, lively and energetic. Her condition did not stop her from loving and living life to the fullest. Kim Haeg is one brave and optimistic woman that sees the good side of life; she is indeed one that inspires.