January 25, 2021

Grant County Herald

Community news from the prairie to the lakes

Accident won’t slow Elbow Lake woman down

Sam Lindquist with husband Karl and their boys, Issac and Trent.

This past August 11, a Tuesday, 36-year-old Sam Lindquist had about had it with her two COVID-19 stuck-at-home boys: Issac, 9 and Trent, 13. 

“I wanted to give them something to keep them out of my hair.”

So Sam decided to mow them a dirt bike trail on their farm on the north end of Pomme de Terre Lake. Driving a 30 hp tractor with a belly mower, she started off. Mowing some bottom land, she suddenly felt something weird… the tractor was sinking and tipping over. It rolled twice and Sam remembers thinking “I’m not going to get stuck here.” 

She doesn’t really remember what cut her arm, it could have been the mower blade, as the tractor and mower were still running, or she could have gotten her right arm pinched under the tractor. She was caught under the tractor with the  seat sticking in her waist, and her right arm nearly cut off. She hollered for help, but was too far away from the house to be heard, so she summoned her strength and got herself out from under the tractor and started to walk the 200 yards to the nearest road. There she met Trent. “I’m OK” she told the shocked boy. “Get Oma,” (the family’s German nickname for Grandma). Soon Oma came. She is an experienced ER nurse, who gathered Sam in the car and took her to Prairie Ridge Hospital in Elbow Lake. From there, she went by helicopter to North Memorial in the Twin Cites.

Her right arm was still attached, but badly damaged. Luckily the main artery was not severed, and there was very little bleeding. Her left hand ring finger was broken, her hip fractured and she had cuts in her head.

“I had only one appendage that still worked…my left leg. And there were no internal injuries.”

After seven days in the hospital, she was released, minus her right arm below the shoulder. She returned home to a whole new world.

“I am having to relearn how to do daily tasks… it takes some work.”

For instance, she claims cooking is real interesting, and she has just started to drive again, using a car with push button starting and shifting. She goes to therapy three times a week and it took her ten weeks before she could walk. She has just gotten to the point where she can close her left hand. 

The active family spends a lot of time outdoors, Sam used to be a softball coach and hopes to coach again this spring. She goes fishing, and is looking forward to ice fishing. But she did have to forgo deer hunting this fall. An avid skier, she plans to take a family ski trip this winter.

“That should be interesting.”

Her boys make her take it easy, telling her, “Mom you need to take a nap,” and she is hearing a lot of one-arm jokes. Her husband Karl says, “Well, I guess there will be no more two thumbs up,” and elbow bumps tend to fall a bit short.

This winter, Sam will be getting a high-tech prosthesis with battery-operated fingers. Her boys should get a big kick out of that. Soon she will be going back to work for Prime West, although working at home.

“It slows me down some, but does not stop me,” Sam said of her accident. She knows how lucky she is that it wasn’t worse.