Like most moms, Samantha Kaul doesn’t have time for injuries. But last winter, she slipped on a patch of ice, resulting in breaking her wrist for the second time.
The injury, which left her unable to complete even the most basic daily tasks, such as driving her kids to activities, making dinner and typing, happened as these things often do — during a routine, normal day.
Samantha, a realtor, was checking on a property when her foot found a patch of ice on a sidewalk covered by a fresh layer of snow. She fell, landing on her wrist, leaving her right side immobile. Fortunately, her co-worker was with her and helped get Samantha to the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.
“This certainly wasn’t on my agenda for the day,” says Samantha, who has a fifth-grade daughter and a son in high school. “The whole thing felt like I was in a scene from a medical television show.”
Because she had broken her wrist before, her injury was severe. Although the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team was able to avoid surgery, they reminded Samantha to be extra careful as any future injury could result in permanent damage to her wrist.
“Everybody was amazing,” says Samantha. “As horrible as it was, I have a lot of respect for everyone who assisted me, including the poor woman in the Emergency Department who helped me take my coat off even though I couldn’t move my arm. I don’t know how she did it.”
Just five hours after arriving at the Emergency Department, she was able to help pick up her daughter from dance class. “They put me back together and sent me on my way,” laughs Samantha.
Throughout her ordeal, Samantha has maintained a positive outlook. During her recovery, she even took the advice from the Orthopedics team to heart, proceeding with extra caution. “I like to be challenged. If I put my mind to something, I like to think I can take it on. But, I admit, ice is a concern of mine now.”
In fact, the Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team says they see a spike in winter weather-related injuries with wrist injuries being among the most common.
“We see a lot of these of injuries, especially after snowfalls, when ice patches are harder to see,” says Jacqueline Corona, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and hand surgery specialist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. “This year has been especially dangerous. I often advise patients to take their time walking, assure they have proper foot wear and use assistive devices as needed. I keep removable ice cleats in my car to wear in poorly shoveled and salted areas. Fall prevention is key.”
Samantha, who is a huge baseball fan, is now doing well. By summer, she was back to driving her daughter to dance class, chopping vegetables for dinner, typing with both hands and spending time at the ballpark. In fact, last summer, Samantha threw out the first pitch at the Mankato MoonDogs baseball game and was honored as a Mayo Clinic Health System extraordinary patient.
“Our goal is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place,” says Dr. Corona, “but when they do happen, we want to help get people back to their active lives as soon and as safely as possible.”