Although Keith Roalin now lives a quiet life in Lebanon, Indiana with his 7-year old dog, Reba, his life experiences have been anything but quiet.
At the age of 23, Keith worked for Arista Records in Nashville, traveling the country interviewing local bands. In his late 30’s, Keith attended the Barnum and Bailey Clown College in Sarasota, Florida and went on to travel the country in various rodeos, working as a Livestock Coordinator.
On March 5th, 2019 while working as an engineer for a hotel in Brownsburg, Indiana, Keith tripped on a door mat and fell on his right shoulder. This seemingly simple stumble would change Keith’s life in a huge way as it created a blot clot which eventually led to the amputation of his right arm below the elbow on October 24th, 2019.
“My pain was the determining factor in deciding to amputate”, said Keith. “I met Brooke O’Steen, OTR (SRT’s Upper Extremity Clinical & Education Specialist) at Methodist Hospital who was a huge help and always communicates with me. When I finally received my prosthesis, I couldn’t believe that day was finally here. I compared it to the day when you buy a new pair of cowboy boots. You have to wear ‘em and break ‘em in. My prosthesis fits great and I wear it fifteen minutes after I wake up until I go to bed”.
When asked what he thought was his biggest accomplishment was, Keith replied very honestly and said, “Getting over my depression”. “One day the police came to my house and I thought that it was all over for me. However, my probation officer gave me a second chance and I was very appreciative. That day, I decided to give up my vices and start new. It’s not one day at a time, it’s one minute at a time. Now there’s nothing that I want for. Life is great”.
To his fellow amputees, Keith stated, “Don’t dwell. Your amputation is like a death in the family. It may be bleak in the beginning, but you will get over it. Be happy! Don’t focus on the negative. As a former rodeo clown, I have always loved putting smiles on people’s faces and I’m here to tell you that it will eventually get better”.