Gloria Guevara was always on the go. When she wasn’t working at her job of 36 years in the kitchens of United Airlines, she was tending to her four dogs, gardening or helping someone.
On a Saturday in October 2016, she was filling in at her sister’s farmers market booth.
As she stepped out of the market’s restroom, an area routinely blocked from traffic, she was struck by a car. Thrown by its impact, she tried to get up, but couldn’t.
EMTs took her to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, the closest Level III trauma center. She was immediately taken into surgery to repair a compound fracture in her left leg. A second operation lasted more than 10 hours as surgeons repaired breaks in her legs and knees. Gloria has plates in both knees and rods in both legs.
During her stay at LBJ, she had to rely on others for the first time. She had “very nice” nurses who anticipated her pain, and her surgeon “was very good. Very young. They took very good care of me.
“At my last follow-up visit, the doctor told me I was doing well for such a bad injury,” Gloria says. “He says I’m very strong.”
Yet, she’s far from where she wants to be. Gloria stayed in LBJ for a month, then went to a rehabilitation facility for another month. She built upper arm strength and learned to perform daily activities from a wheelchair. Unable to work, Gloria lost her insurance and is sad she’s no longer independent. Though doctors anticipate she will walk again, that day feels like a long time away.
“I ask God every day for strength,” she says. “When I cry, I cry very hard to let it all out.” Gloria’s sister takes her soup to entice her to eat. Her son is in and out. And her daughter, a single mom who lives in Virginia, regularly makes the trip to Houston to help. Gloria worries she won’t be able to afford a caregiver and that she’ll be disabled the rest of her life.
“I believe this is a test, a very difficult one, but God is giving me another chance.”