Michael Booker was a safe driver throughout his career with the City of Houston and after retirement, but no matter how careful he was, he couldn’t control other drivers. That was painfully obvious March 2018 when a man, whose alcohol level was 1.67 and was driving 70 mph in a residential area, ran a stop sign and crossed a railroad track without braking. Michael woke up in Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital; the drunk driver woke up in jail.
Michael suffered a broken clavicle and 10 fractured ribs. “If I pushed a button, nurses were there to help me. Physical therapists taught me how to handle my injuries at home,” he says of his four days at LBJ. They scheduled outpatient physical therapy to begin soon after discharge, and he looked forward to a full recovery.
Then, just a few days later, he exhibited signs of a stroke and was rushed to Ben Taub Hospital. “They wasted no time and ran every test imaginable. Thank goodness they did. My mother died from a stroke, and I’ve always had a fear I would too,” he says. Doctors told him the stress of the accident probably brought on the symptoms.
With that scare over, Michael started physical therapy, and made life changes. He moved from a third-floor apartment to the ground level. He started looking for a job that doesn’t involve driving. Not only does his clavicle continue to cause discomfort, he’s still leery of getting behind the wheel. “I’ve worked since I was 16. This is my first stretch of time without working and it’s hard.
“It’s also hard to accept help when you’re used to giving it. The accident made me even more careful than I was. You have to be mindful, whether you’re driving or walking to watch out for drivers. They may be drunk or on their cell phones. Just watch out.”
In the course of two weeks, Michael got to know two Harris Health System hospitals and found them both to be “excellent.”
He adds: “LBJ and Ben Taub staff, keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re doing a fine job. I appreciate everything you did for me.”