Student Voice


December 1, 2023




Lesson learned in skating accident

March 23, 2007

I know how I would always react when people would tell me ‘You never know what you had until it’s gone.’ I would think about it for the nanosecond it took to process the thought in my brain and then it’d be out.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a sappy column about my broken love life or a tragic situation close to me, it’s more an explanation to the sling I’m sporting.

Now, as I’m typing this one handed, I know they were telling me the truth.

As vogue a fashion choice it may appear to be in all its burgundy splendor, it’s not something I’m too thrilled about. I was literally skating along my final semester as a student at my second-to-last day of my half-credit Fundamentals of Ice Skating (Physical Education 128) course, when I was handed my reality check.

I fell, hard.

While most of my classmates adequately mastered the forward skating transitioning to backward skating maneuver, I failed to execute the technique without hurting myself.

I fell on the ice landing on my elbow, which in turn popped my left shoulder up and out. With some assistance, I was off the rink sitting on the bench, where I was told I needed to go see a doctor by a man I have come to learn is affectionately called “Stump” who works as an athletic trainer.

A friend drove me to the River Falls clinic and sat through this experience with me.

This is where I realize how silly people can sometimes be. Upon our arrival at the clinic, we were greeted by long lines at the reception area. Once it was finally my turn to be helped, the receptionist asked me if I had an appointment; I informed her I did not. She then told me they are an appointment-only clinic, as if I were thinking crazy for having come to the clinic without first notifying them I would be needing an appointment.

Trust me, had I known I was going to trip over my own feet on the ice, my meeting you, Mrs. Receptionist, would have been avoided.

She finally sets me up with a doctor who is apparently in what they like to call “a long appointment” and will break it in half to squeeze me in.

It had been about 45 minutes since I had first fallen, I was in some hard core pain and I really wanted to get some ice on my shoulder, so I asked the receptionist at the station my uber-busy doctor would be seeing me at.

She tells me she can’t give me any ice and will have to ask a nurse to get some.

Her co-worker next to her overhears this and says to me, “Honey, you’re not going to overdose on ice,” and grabs an ice pack for me.

After more and more waiting, which I’m just commenting on, not complaining about, the doctor comes in. He takes my arm and moves it all around in every direction possible. At this point, tears are streaming down my face, I’m in pain and about three seconds from making him unable to have children. He tells me I separated my AC joint in my shoulder and could have fractured my collarbone.

I’m thinking, good thing you moved my arm all around then.

He offers me a sling, and tells me to wear it for three weeks. He says it will help, and tells me to take some painkillers and sends me home.

From that moment on, I realized how easy life is with two hands.

Aside from the major and obvious incapabilities, such as driving, typing or shoveling the sidewalks, there are so many little things I never thought twice about. Putting my hair in a pony tail, serving buttered popcorn at my movie theatre job and holding a plate and cup at the same time are all tasks that require two hands that I have been unable to do for the past few weeks.

There are some that I have had to ask others to do for me, my cooperative date has tied my shoes and turned his face when I was trying to eat a taco with one hand. A number of friends have driven me around and done many errands I just couldn’t do. My co-workers have tied my apron and put my bowtie on for me; and just as he has since we were little, my little brother (who is so lucky as to live with me this year) has made me meals and put ice on my shoulder. I even got a visit from my three other siblings and my mother who drove an hour and a half to bring me some pre-made meals and do my household chores for me.

There have been some perks though. My baby sister heard I had hurt my arm so she brought the Fisher Price doctor kit I had given her for Christmas and tried to make me feel better. A co-worker at the Student Voice asked me how the “Viagra” the doctor prescribed to me was working since my arm doesn’t have impotence problems, we’re pretty sure he really meant to ask about “Vicodin,” but it was a good laugh. I have gotten the chance to build up some good muscles in my right arm by having it work harder.

If I’m being honest though, I can’t wait until I can do the dishes again and sleep unrestricted without the sling. I’m sure I just sound like a wimp, but it’s strange being used to my ability to be independent to transitioning to relying on people for so many things. I’ll be more thankful when I can get back to doing things alone. And while I appreciate the use of two arms, I think I appreciate all the people who have helped me even more.

Keighla Schmidt is a student at UW-River Falls.