After accident, Cobleskill's Brian Kaiser needs our help


By Jim Poole

Brian Kaiser, the man who helped Cobleskill in so many ways, now needs your help.
Battling back from a surf accident that left him paralyzed in June, Mr. Kaiser faces a long, uncertain recovery.
Mr. Kaiser’s at Magee Rehab Center in Philadelphia with his wife, Jacqui Hauser, who said he’s making progress.
To help, Cobleskill Partnership Inc., the downtown organization the couple were deeply involved with, set up a bank account for donations. (See end of story.)
That’s in the future. Right now, she’s as optimistic as she allows herself to be.
Mr. Kaiser, 65, was paralyzed from the neck down, and in rehab, “he’s responding really well,” Ms. Hauser said.
“They’re working him hard, and he’s working hard. His legs are very strong, his brain is sharp and he can talk.
“But it’s very much a wheelchair and bed existence.”
Mr. Kaiser’s already traveled a long road just to get to that point.
The couple were vacationing in Costa Rica and at the beach. Mr. Kaiser was walking out of the surf when a strong wave struck him from behind, knocking him down and rendering him unconscious.
“A guy on the beach saw Brian go down and then realized he should have been up by now,” Ms. Hauser said.
“He ran to get Brian out of the water. If he hadn’t gotten him out, it would have been a very different outcome.”
Mr. Kaiser was airlifted to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital, and was in a coma for three days while hospitalized there
Initial concerns were that his lungs were full of water. Only later did the spinal injury become the major injury.
“When he woke up, we touched his arms and legs, and he didn’t respond,” Ms. Hauser said.
Mr. Kaiser was in an ICU in San Jose for 10 days; improvement came gradually.
“He could blink, and I would point to words and he would tell me that way what I should be doing,” Ms. Hauser said.
“It never felt so good to be bossed around.”
They flew in a small plane to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where Mr. Kaiser had surgery and again was in ICU, this time, for three weeks.
His lung problems eased up, and the focus became more on his paralysis.
“And then he coughed,” Ms. Hauser said. “That was really a big improvement.”
Mr. Kaiser’s paralysis was termed ‘incomplete;’ that is, there was a better chance for recovery than a ‘complete’ injury.
The couple then went to the Magee Rehab Center in Philadelphia, and as Mr. Kaiser continued his work, support came from Cobleskill.
People have been sending cards, cards and more cards.
“I made a card wall, and as corny as it sounds, that’s a huge reason he’s doing so well,” Ms. Hauser said. “He’s so encouraged by people telling him they believe in him.
“He can think, ‘I have a community to go back to.’ ”
Even though there’s been improvement, Ms. Hauser is unsure when they can return to their Cobleskill home. Recovery will take “six to nine months and beyond,” she said.
That’s where the bank account comes into play. It will help pay for costs not covered by insurance, especially when Mr. Kaiser is an out patient.
A wheelchair, something to transport the wheelchair, a special bed and “all sorts of devices he’ll need during the day,” Ms. Hauser said.
The account is at the First New York Federal Credit Union in Cobleskill and is titled “Brian’s Fund.” The staff at the credit union is aware of the account.
“If there’s a chance he’ll walk again, I’ll invest in that,” Ms. Hauser said.