A young Stettler woman is grateful that dancing helped save her from major injuries after she fell four storeys alone in a University of Regina elevator in mid-September.
Olivia Clutterbuck has been home in Stettler for the past month as she recovers from the incident, which forced her to postpone her studies at the University of Regina.
“Doctors say it’s a good thing I’m a dancer, because it helped hold my bones together,” said Clutterbuck, 20, who has been dancing since she was three years old.
“So the muscles took the worst of it, not my bones.”
Along with a concussion, she sprained “virtually every part of her body,” except her arms, said Clutterbuck, who was starting her second year of studies in arts education with a dance major.
At about 10:30 p.m., she was returning to her room on the 10th floor when the elevator inadvertently stopped, and then dropped four floors, she said.
“The elevator was stuck for a couple of minutes and because they were having trouble with that elevator, I decided I would just wait for it to start working again.”
Clutterbuck is a 2011 graduate of William E. Hay Composite High School in Stettler. She’s active with Danceology.
She credited that background with helping her recover.
“After a couple of minutes, I reached for the emergency button and then it dropped four floors,” she recounted.
“I walked out and waited for the other elevator, so I could go back to my room.”
She said her knees sustained the heaviest impact, as the elevator hit the bottom.
Clutterbuck said doctors believe physiotherapy isn’t required at this time in her recovery.
Still painful inside, she views life positively, but slowly.
“I just have to do what I can do every day and keep physically active, but I can’t carry anything heavy,” Clutterbuck said.
“I’ve always been a glass-half-full girl, so I just keep that going.”
Doctors predict that by January, she will reach fuller recovery and be more mobile.
“A lot of times, muscles can recover and be strong, but they will never be as strong as they were before,” Clutterbuck said.
While the accident occurred late on a Monday night, she was able to visit a chiropractor the next morning and a physician on Thursday, though no MRI or CAT scan were conducted to examine her body.
“We’re still trying to find out the extent of injuries, because at the time of the incident, medical staff did not perform any immediate tests to determine what is all injured,” Clutterbuck said.
Since arriving home, her mother said Clutterbuck has made great strides.
“I see progress, but it’s slow,” Joyce Kiryk said.
“With the progress she’s made, her attitude is positive.”
She is also grateful for a local chiropractor who gave her decompression, which helps relieves some of the pain for a time.
Meanwhile, she’s waiting for a provincial-inspection report of results of an investigation into the malfunction.