HOOKSETT, N.H. (CBS) – Looking at Kelly Dwyer in her hospital room it is almost impossible to believe what she has survived.
“I love snowshoeing, I’m an Audubon trustee in NH, always in woods surveying birds,” said Dwyer, a mother of two from Hooksett.
That’s where she was two Sundays ago– deep in the trees behind her house– when she fell through some ice in a beaver pond and got trapped in a few feet of frigid water.
“I don’t remember anything. Nothing whatsoever.”
WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.
But marks on her fingers make her think she must have clawed frantically at the surface. Her husband David went searching when she didn’t return home and found her in dire shape, partially submerged in the pond. He called their daughters, who called 9-1-1.
Said Dwyer, “I think I was in the pond for about three hours, based on my routine. So when they did get me out, it was another 2-3 hours of constant CPR by firefighters in Allentown and Hooksett to keep me pretty much alive.”
Her 14-year-old daughter Laura said the gravity of the situation became apparent when she saw her mother, bundled up on a stretcher, being carried out of the woods. “Once they took her into the ambulance, my dad said it looks really really bad. Get ready to say goodbye.”
Laura and Kathryn Dwyer– and they weren’t alone– believed their mother would die.
By the time Dwyer arrived at Catholic Medical Center, her body temperature was still only about 80-degrees. A surgical team had to remove her blood to warm it via cardiopulminary bypass.
“We take blood, we run it through a pump and it warms it and returns it into the body,” said Dr Alex Karavas.
Then, Dwyer spent days in an induced coma, with no guarantees.
Said Karavas, “I think Kelly did just great. Everything slowly started working.”
To the relief of two girls who were perhaps heartbeats away from losing their mom.
Said 12-year-old Kathryn, “You learn to not take for granted what you have.”
Added Laura, “I just thank God, I’m going to thank God every day for the rest of my life that she was given back.”
Kelly Dwyer said she feels healthy but tires easily. “I feel very blessed that I ran into the people that had the expertise the ff to hospital to save me. I obviously wasn’t able to save myself.”