I wish I had a nickel for all the people I’ve met who have either fallen on the ice and injured themselves or know of someone who has.

It’s that horrid time of year when the slightest misstep will land you in a cast, sling, brace or worse yet, flat on your back in bed.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you.

When you least expect it and with no notice, you’re on the ground, breathless and wincing in pain.

Take it from one who knows. You might call yours truly the queen of ice follies.

My first ice mishap was as a young college student, showing off my figure skating skills in Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Conn.

My friend, Kimberly, and I were whirling around in circles, pretending we were Dorothy Hamill and not paying attention to anything except two handsome young boys passing by.

Seeing this as a great reason to ramp up our showing-off skills, we sprung to action.

I immediately twirled around and skated backward, faster and faster, stretching my arms out like a ballerina, ponytail flying, and promptly struck a bump in the ice, crashing flat on my back.

As I was going down, I reached behind me with my left hand in an attempt to catch myself and — whack — felt the most dreadful pain in my wrist.

I won’t go into detail about what happened next except to say that Kim convinced me it wasn’t broken and that we should go shopping instead of to the nearest hospital.

“You’d know if it was broken,” she reasoned.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I was in trouble and drove myself to the hospital, where X-rays showed I had a broken wrist. They wrapped it in a cast where it stayed for the next six weeks. Being left-handed, I had to re-learn how to write with my right.

Not easy — trust me.

My second duel with the dreaded ice was in the early 1990s when I left my folks’ home one night around 9 and headed to my car in the driveway, which was a sheet of ice.

I had a briefcase in one hand and a handbag in the other and, wearing tall black boots with no tread, promptly slipped, catapulted through the air and landed squarely on my hip, the wind knocked completely out of me.

I quickly discovered I could not move without a screeching pain piercing through my hind end. Neither could I crawl to the car nor drag myself back to the house.

Not only was the ice cold, it also was wet, and I found myself soaked in an inch of cold water. I was helpless. All I could do was lie there in the dark and holler.

“Help!” I shouted to an empty sky. I knew my folks were watching television and there was no way they would hear me.

I lay there for what seemed hours (actually it was only about 30 minutes). Fortunately for me, my brother lived next door and his collie started barking when she heard me wailing, and wouldn’t stop.

My brother eventually came out of his house to scold her for being so noisy and I managed to get his attention by screaming out his name.

An ambulance ride, emergency room visit and several hours later I was at home, flat in bed, unable to move and in agony.

That’s the way I stayed, cracked pelvic bone and all, for a week. It was no fun, believe me. Neither was walking on crutches for a couple of weeks after that. Graduating to a cane was merciful.

I relate these pathetic tales only in an effort to save you from meeting a similar fate during these ice-ridden days of February.

I realize bad things happen in threes and I’m determined not to be part of that statistic.

I’ve figured out how to fool Mother Nature and it only cost me six bucks — on sale — at the local department store. They’re called crampons and you slip them over the soles of your shoes or boots. They’ve got spikes so sharp they dig into the ice and keep you upright when everybody else is flailing around on the sidewalk.

Take it from me, they work.

Oh, and by the way, cruel winter: eat your heart out.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 24 years. Her column appears here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]

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