Life savers



To the Editor:

On Thursday, Sept. 3, my daughter and I were kayaking on Long Pond. It was a hot day, the water was as smooth as a mirror, so my daughter removed her life jacket.

As she was paddling, she hit her ulnar nerve and was in a great deal of pain. This led to another nerve response, which triggered a full-blown seizure.

My daughter is 26 years old and has no history of seizure disorder. Her body was seizing so hard it flipped her out of the kayak. Unconscious, she dropped into the water and sank. I could see her thrashing, trying to find her orientation. I jumped in and fortunately had my life jacket on, without it, I am convinced we both could have drowned. As we surfaced and I managed to get us to the overturned kayak, I could tell my daughter was in shock and barely keeping it together. At one point, I thought she was going to slide off the side of the kayak and sink again.

I am a weak swimmer at best and doubted my ability to save her if this happened. That we were in 8-10 feet of water and the fact that I had a visual on my daughter also helped to save her life. Had we been in the deepest, darkest area of the pond, it is very likely I would be making funeral plans today.

I write and share the background information for several reasons. First to express my deepest gratitude to three local residents who responded immediately to the situation. I was unaware of their presence until I heard shouting. It was Connie, coming towards us in her boat, giving directions to Kevin and Jessica, who also were speeding towards us.

Connie was calm and gave me clear directions and assistance getting my daughter onto her boat. She comforted my Cara and kept her talking on the drive to the shore, an important skill to prevent someone going into a deeper shock.

Kevin and Jessica took care of me. They reassured me that Cara was going to be okay, and they took care of retrieving the kayak and equipment.

All I know about Kevin is that he owns a restaurant in Bar Harbor. He said he saw “things looking not quite right” on my kayak just before Cara went into the water. And he didn’t hesitate to take action to see if he could help.

These three beautiful people always will hold a special place in my heart, as well as Cara’s. Their willingness to get involved, to offer such compassion and kindness to total strangers will never be forgotten.

Should a similar situation arise, I pray I will be able to return their life-saving actions, paying it forward with equal grace and expertise. We were beyond fortunate to have these three angels on the pond, watching out for the welfare of others. As Kevin said, “We are all family on this pond. We take care of each other.”

Every experience is a teaching experience. This is what I have learned: life can turn on a dime, take nothing for granted; when in any boat always, always wear a life jacket, water is deceptive – it may appear calm but the current lies just underneath; and never take the people you love for granted.

Susan Raskin

Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

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