Jesus Guillen is an all-around good person. On May 9, 2013, the night his life stood still, the 29-year-old law student was studying for exams at South Texas College of Law. At 11:30, he met a friend in the lobby to escort her to her car. The gentleman got her safely there, but he doesn’t remember. He was hit by a drunk driver walking back to his own car.
He woke up a few hours later, desperately trying to remove a breathing tube, and learned he was at Ben Taub Hospital.
“I’ve never liked hospitals,” Jesus says. “I thought only bad things happened in them. This experience taught me that good stuff can happen too. I’ve heard many times that Ben Taub is the place to go for trauma. It’s true. I was fortunate to be taken there. The nurses, doctors and residents were great.”
And Jesus would need good stuff to happen. He had a series of surgeries to repair his broken right knee, left tibia, left shoulder and left elbow. He now has enough metal in him to set off alarms in airports, and lost vision in his left eye.
His friends and family crowded the hospital. “It must have been a nightmare for the staff, but they made a place for everyone.”
He spent 10 days at Ben Taub and the rest of the summer in bed at his parents’ house. He spent months learning to read with reduced vision. He also worked with a Ben Taub physical therapist. She noticed his golf clubs and developed a series of in-bed exercises that restored upper body full range of motion.
Jesus reflects, “This showed me that there are no bad experiences. There are things we can learn: the love of God, how great Ben Taub is, the importance of slowing down. I’m more empathetic now. I connect with people who have been through things.”
He will use his empathy in family law. “My father always asked how my law degree would serve God. I want to make a difference in children’s lives.
“I learned that there isn’t a situation that can’t be overcome. We can’t let things like this get us down. We have to set a goal and take one step at a time. Things will look up.”