Diego Rodriquez works with his father installing siding on residential homes. January 19, 2018, promised to be like any other workday until another installer who was working above him misfired as he holstered his nail gun. A two-inch nail was driven into the left side of Diego's head, flush to the skin.
Even though he was in pain and lost his balance on the right side, Diego had the presence of mind to call 911 and give the worksite address.
At Ben Taub Hospital, a CT scan showed a very clear picture of the nail embedded in his brain causing bleeding. By the time he got into surgery later that night, Diego had no movement in his right arm. He was in the hospital five days and continues physical therapy.
"You're in good hands at Ben Taub. If you have an accident, that's the place to go," he says. "My care was great, and I was always at ease. The staff tried to keep my attitude up. They took care of my family too."
Diego is attending to his overall health as he recovers. "I'm sticking to a healthy lifestyle, though I've gained a few pounds since surgery. That's because of my mom's cooking." In addition to cooking, she's helped him with daily activities because he is right-hand dominant. The unfailing support of his parents, two sisters and girlfriend has been his motivation.
Though Diego fought to remain positive, there was some sadness around the accident. "You never know when life can change," he says. "Every day, I take a look at my life. It can be taken away in a matter of minutes."
It was more than a month before Diego could use his arm. In spite of its limited use and his frequent headaches, Diego's eager to return to work. His personal research tells him full recovery from a brain trauma such as his could take up to six to 12 months. He doesn't plan to take that long. "I think I'm ahead of schedule."