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'I was pretty close to dying': How Kiwi woman cheated death on Bali holiday

Author
Heath Moore, NZ Herald,
Section
Health,
Publish Date
Sunday, 20 January 2019, 9:33a.m.
New Zealand fitness trainer Kobi Bracken was hospitalised after she was in a horrific motorcycle accident when she was holidaying in Bali. (Photo / Kobi Bracken)
New Zealand fitness trainer Kobi Bracken was hospitalised after she was in a horrific motorcycle accident when she was holidaying in Bali. (Photo / Kobi Bracken)

It was supposed to be a holiday of sun, sand and surf - the perfect getaway for Kiwi Kobi Bracken.

Instead, she ended up in a Bali hospital bed fighting for her life.

Now six months on, she still struggles with flashbacks to the accident that left her with life-threatening injuries.

On July 22, 2018, the Kiwi fitness instructor was heading back to her accommodation on the back of a motorcycle when she was hit by a van at high speed, leaving her with a snapped femur, fractured eye socket, smashed cervical spine, an exposed knee cap and extensive blood loss.

The 25-year-old doesn't remember the accident, instead, her first memory was waking up alone in a foreign hospital unable to move.

Kobi Bracken's x-ray shows she suffered a broken right femur. Photo / Kobi Bracken

Kobi Bracken's x-ray shows she suffered a broken right femur. Photo / Kobi Bracken

"I was pretty close to dying and no one knew what was wrong with me," Bracken told the Herald On Sunday.

"I remember waking up being very drowsy and I couldn't move my right leg and I thought it was gone, that it had been amputated.

"There were all these lights and I just remember thinking what is going on?. I didn't know what was wrong. I couldn't move my leg. I was screaming."

Bracken is reminded every day of her close call with death, and said a regular walk can leave her in a lot of pain.

"For a month I was housebound. I spent my first day bedridden. Putting any weight on my leg was excruciating and I felt depressed. It was hell, but I decided I can't let this beat me so I made myself get out of bed every morning and gave myself a list of things to do to keep me motivated.

"I try not to focus on the negative. Instead, I tell myself what can I do next to help my recovery."

Kobi still has difficulty walking for long periods following her recovery. Photo / Kobi Bracken

Kobi still has difficulty walking for long periods following her recovery. Photo / Kobi Bracken

It was more than three months before the 25-year-old was cleared to drive again, and six months after her brush with death she's still attending physio three times a week.

Despite regular pain, the inability to jog and perform everyday tasks, Bracken's biggest hurdle to date is the mental stress of overcoming a life-threatening accident and trying to move forward.

The Aucklander revealed the accident was so severe she has been seeing a trauma counsellor, something that has helped her overcome flashbacks and fears following her ordeal.

"I'm lucky I still have my leg. It could have been so much worse. I convinced myself I'd be walking after three months, yet six months on I still have a limp.

"It has been a real mental struggle. I'm thankful it's a new year.

"I've been seeing a trauma counsellor and that's been the best thing for me. It's helped open my eyes to my thought processes and dealing with trauma you didn't realise you were necessarily subconsciously focusing on.

"The accident has brought back a lot of things that have happened in my life. With talking to her she's taught me ways to deal with moments, such as driving, where flashbacks occur or where you begin to feel anxious and stressed out.

"It's really given me the tools to deal with flashbacks or nasty thoughts."

Kobi, six months on following her near-death experience. Photo / Kobi Bracken

Counting her blessings the Kiwi model has taken away many life lessons. And she wants her terrifying ordeal to serve as a reminder for others to live life to the fullest.

"Life is so short, it can be taken away in a second when you least expect it. Enjoy every moment and every day," she said.

"Stop focusing too far ahead into the future and stop looking at the past, live in the now and love hard, love your family.

"Apologise, and don't hold grudges. Don't let life weigh you down, because it could be over in a split second."

 

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