Lund: ‘I’m determined to walk again’

Kim and Ashleigh Lund at home in Cayman, with their family dogs, Friday. – Photo: Brent Fuller

Visiting Cayman Islands real estate broker Kim Lund’s home on Friday, an observer would not have thought anything much had changed since an Aug. 13 fall that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Mr. Lund was on the phone in his study, which overlooks the Britannia golf course, talking business.

“I’ve just done a WaterColours deal this week and I’m working on some other sales right now,” he said, adding that he planned to go back to work at the RE/MAX offices along Seven Mile Beach Monday.

The only difference from before the accident is that Mr. Lund was negotiating while sitting in a wheelchair with a heavy back brace on. It’s a situation the long-time real estate broker/owner said will be temporary.

“I’m determined to walk again,” said the 59-year-old. “I’m determined to make that happen. It’s going to be a long and difficult road, six to 18 months, but the doctors have said there are no medical reasons why I won’t walk again.”

What occurred during the early morning of Aug. 13 has been the subject of considerable speculation after it was made public that Mr. Lund fell from the second story of his Britannia condominium in the early morning hours. Mr. Lund and his wife Ashleigh told the Cayman Compass Friday they wanted to set the record straight.

Mr. Lund said he had been out late the night of Aug. 12 at a friend’s home just down the street in the Britannia development and fell asleep on his friend’s couch. When he woke up, he said it was about 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13 and Mr. Lund decided to walk home. He found the door locked when he arrived and realized he’d brought the wrong set of keys with him. At this point, he said he decided to climb up to the home’s second-story entrance to attempt to gain entry. That door was also locked.

His wife and two children were off island visiting relatives in Texas, and the housekeeper had gone, so there was no one to let Mr. Lund in, he said. He then sent a text message to his friend at the Britannia complex, letting him know that he could not get into his own home and would be coming back to the friend’s house for a while that morning.

It was fortunate for Mr. Lund that he sent the message.

“On my way back down [from the second story], I slipped on the roof and fell,” he said. “It was about five minutes later he came looking for me and found me. I was lucky.”

The property around Mr. Lund’s condo is heavily landscaped and it’s possible he might have laid there, unable to move, for hours or even longer without anyone noticing. “I was in shock,” he said. “My first thought was ‘oh my God, I can’t feel my legs.’”

The fall left Mr. Lund paralyzed from the waist down. He also suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung. Between Saturday morning, Aug. 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 17, he had two surgeries at the Cayman Islands Hospital. He was then flown off island to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for recovery and rehabilitative efforts.

“George Town hospital was excellent,” he said. “Dr. James Akinwunmi [the surgeon] was excellent.”

The next five weeks were spent in what Mr. Lund described as agonizing recovery in Miami. He said his wife stayed in the hospital with him each night, convincing the hospital staff to let her sleep there. “She was with me every day for five weeks, and thank God she was, it made it so much easier,” he said.

Although being partially paralyzed cannot be considered positive, Mr. Lund said doctors were pleased to find there had been no severing or puncture wounds to his spine from the fall. Once the bruising and swelling associated with the injury recedes in a month or two, a better assessment can be done of what condition the spine is in. It’s likely Mr. Lund will have to be flown off island for further treatment.

The Lunds returned home to Cayman on Monday, Sept. 19, and Mrs. Lund said the family has been overwhelmed with the community support they received in the form of well-wishes, prayers and even people bringing cooked food to the house since they have returned.

“Ashleigh doesn’t even cook anymore,” Mr. Lund laughs. “We just go to the front door and hey, there’s some lasagna.”

“You can’t even go out to the gas station without someone asking ‘how’s Kim?’” Mrs. Lund said.

“It shows what a loving, caring place it really is,” Mr. Lund said. “This is Cayman, it’s absolutely incredible. Just coming back here itself is therapeutic.”