Close your eyes for a moment and imagine being on a plane, taking a trip like any other day.
Open your eyes and imagine yourself plunged in the middle of the sea. You’re wet, cold and unable to move.
Now you are in the position of Kaydeen Bartley who suffered a near death experience when an aircraft she was traveling crashed landed in a sea off the Turks and Caicos island just over a decade ago.
Bartley was one of the five passengers who made it out alive. The pilot, died on impact.
They were all on a personal trip to a nearby island intending to only spend the night. Bartley said that this wasn’t the first that she was travelling that route therefore she was comfortable on the trip.
Bartley remembered how happy she was on the trip but soon after everything changed.
She was sitting near the pilot and she remembered looking at him and him looking at her and that’s when she knew something was wrong.
“I don’t know when the plane crashed, I just remember that I was pinned and my entire body was numb,” she said. “I tried my best to remain calm during the entire ordeal”.
She said she looked over at her pilot and realized that he wasn’t moving.
“I could tell he had passed. I called him three times and he didn’t answer. I began hearing other people groaning but they sounded so far away,it was devastating,” Bartley said.
Rescue came soon after and she was airlifted to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos then rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital Hospital in Florida.
“I remember arriving at the hospital, there were so many flashing lights and so many doctors,”she said.
Bartley suffered from many major injuries. She had a broken neck, a damaged spinal cord, laceration in the head and shattered ankle. She was also paralyzed on the entire left side.In addition to this the C5-C6 facet of her neck was broken.
She said “ I was told by the doctor that due to the extent of my injuries, I may never be able to walk again and turned to him and said “you are lying!”
Physical therapy was then recommended and the journey to recovery began.
“Therapy was hard. I suffered from depression and I was told by family and friends that I had spells in my memory,” she said.
Bartley attributed most of her recovery to her faith and the determination she possessed within.
“One of the main things that kept me going was my children. I begged God not to let me leave them. I just had to be strong for them,” she said.
Fast forward to years after the accident, Bartley gave birth to her last child and later got married to her life partner, Randy Barltey, police officer.
She further explained that she wanted to do more with her life academically, so in 2017 she enrolled in a health aid and geriatrics nursing program where she got her diploma.
“Before I graduated, I was assigned to the Mustard Seed Children’s Home on internship, I was assigned to assist children with disabilities, some of them were paralyzed and needed constant attention. This reminded me of myself and the fact that I survived. I could help them survive too and this was my purpose,” she said.
In 2018, with the encouragement from her family and late sister, Opal, she later opened her own business, Kay’s mobile Healthcare. She is also the manager and head nurse at the New Dawn Assisted Living.
A conversation was held with her supervisor and friend for over 30 years, Nadine Forbes. She expressed her thoughts on what Bartley means to her.
“Working with Kaydeen has built my self confidence and has allowed me to be a [better] person, she has motivated me in so many ways which has helped me to accomplish the position I am in now,” she said.
Bartley believes that being in the healthcare profession is her calling and she is grateful she survived the catastrophic ordeal so that she can care for others.
“I don’t see myself leaving the medical field anytime soon, I love this area and I love that I can do more for those who need my help,” Bartley said.
By: Farrika Green