Local business owner Nick Colquhoun is on the mend following an on-the-job accident in early March.

“(It) feels so much better being at home,” he said. “I can’t put in words how much I appreciate everyone with calls, texts and showing up at hospital. I’m truly a lucky man to have this many friends.”

Colquhoun broke both of his ankles March 9 while attempting to load a skid loader.

“I just didn’t get my feet out of the way,” he said in an interview Thursday. “I was in a hurry.”

Accident and treatment

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The accident itself took only a matter of seconds, according to Colquhoun.

“I was trapped for about a minute or a minute and a half,” he remembers.

But thanks to the quick actions of his friends, he was able to be freed relatively quickly.

“I thank God a buddy of mine was there. We knew what we had to do and we did it. I’m very lucky,” Colquhoun said.

“I thought my feet were in the cab and they weren’t. I smashed them between the body of the skid and the arms.”

Colquhoun was transported to South Central Kansas Medical Center, where he said he received excellent care.

“Everybody at the hospital was fast,” he said. “The care was awesome there.”

Colquhoun said the same of the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department’s response.

Because of the extent of his injuries, he was transferred to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where he stayed for a week.

Surgeries and recovery

Colquhoun has had two surgeries to correct the damage done to his bones.

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“There’s a plate and pins in one, and pins in the other,” he said.

As a result, he has to keep his weight off both ankles for eight to 12 weeks.

“It could possibly be six months for a full recovery,” Colquhoun said.

In the meantime, his wife and two daughters are helping him through the process of healing.

“The girls have always been very helpful,” Colquhoun said. “My kids have always been responsible, but this has made them more so.”

New perspective for Colquhoun

Although he is only wheelchair-bound for a while, Colquhoun said the experience has given him new insight into the difficulties facing individuals who have more permanent physical disadvantages.

“I am going to be okay, but the respect I have for those who are disabled is so much greater,” Colquhoun said.

He said he struggles to let people help him. Even with his injuries, he still makes it into work three or four times a week.

The biggest thing Colquhoun has taken from this experience is a reminder to himself, and to others who will listen, to take that extra second.

“Slow and steady is better than fast and dangerous,” he said. “With all this downtime, I’ve looked back over the years and (seen) how busy I am.

“If anything, I think this is going to slow me down a little and make more time for the ones that mean the most to me.”