During a family gathering, when Madelyn Louis volunteered to pick up something from a store less than a mile from her home, her 6-year-old nephew asked to ride along. Leaving the store, both seatbelts fastened, her car was t-boned on the driver’s side. She remembers nothing of the accident, the ambulance ride or her time in the emergency center at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.
Her only memories are of pain and of gratitude that her nephew was unharmed.
The emergency team quickly removed glass from the side of her head and stitched the area. Nothing could be done for the ribs on her left side—all of them were fractured. Each breath and each movement were painful reminders that recovery would be slow.
Madelyn was in the hospital more than a week. “Trying to get out of bed hurt so much,” she remembers. “I’ve never felt such excruciating pain. I wanted to cry, but that hurt too. I didn’t want to move. The nurses were so compassionate and nice. They had tears in their eyes as they helped me.
“I’m a home health caregiver and can tell the difference in doing a job and being compassionate. The nurses at LBJ are models of care and concern.”
With their help, she made slow progress. She also depended on her partner, Craig. “He was awesome. He was a trouper, an encourager. He kept pushing me to get better.” Her adult children – a marketing executive and an accountant – also inspired her recovery.
“Now I’m very cautious about everything. I don’t take life lightly, in the blink of an eye, your life can change.”
This wasn’t Madelyn’s first opportunity to evaluate her life. In 1992, she won a battle with thyroid cancer. With the help of her Harris Health medical team at Settegast and Smith clinics, she stays on top of her healthcare. Her doctors throughout the system are informative and helpful.
Today, she’s back at work and considering returning to school to pursue occupational therapy.
Like her caregivers at LBJ, Madelyn has a “soft heart for helping,” she says. “My heart goes out to people who hurt, so I’ll always work in healthcare. It’s my destiny.”