When Maria Rios thinks of her auto accident and recovery, the word that comes to mind is “ordeal.” The fact that she overcame all it entailed makes her feel strong.
Maria was riding with her brother on Dec. 29, 2017, when his car was hit on the passenger side by two separate vehicles. Amazingly, her brother was uninjured, and the only place where the car was not crumpled was her space. Though she was in and out of consciousness, she has brief memories of being cut from the car, the ambulance ride and the trauma center at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.
She suffered three broken ribs, a fracture of her right shoulder, hairline fractures in her right leg and arm, lacerations and an abdominal hernia. She ached all over and couldn’t walk. Maria left the hospital in a wheelchair and spent two months maneuvering on crutches. Occupational therapy and outpatient physical therapy at Quentin Mease helped her manage daily activities and gain strength.
In May 2018, she had surgery to repair the hernia. “In the hospital and at all my appointments, if I needed anything, they helped me. All the physicians, all the nurses looked after me.”
Maria thinks it was the exceptional care that helped her regain her lifestyle. “I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to work again,” she says. “They gave me good care. Thanks to God, thanks to them, I’m able to work again. They did good. I’m not 100 percent back to normal, but I can do almost everything. They tell me I’m strong.”
Once she was discharged from physical therapy, Maria was encouraged to walk and exercise. She stays busy nursing seeds into plants, knitting, embroidering and participating in family life with two children and six grandchildren.
The accident is still at the forefront of Maria’s mind. “It’s not in the past,” she says, but her attitude and approach to life outweigh the worry. Her advice is to “be positive or it’s [recovery] not going to work. Have faith. Do your best and look forward.”