Broken Leg, Shoulder Not Slowing Down This Octogenarian
Lottie Stephens is an independent woman and a bit impatient. So when shopping at a local Sam’s Club and she could not find a cart, she walked into the parking lot to track one down. On her way, though, she was hit by a van.
Quickly helped, she was taken by ambulance to Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital to be treated for a broken right leg and shoulder. Stephens doesn’t remember much of the first few days at the hospital. Doctors performed surgery to repair her leg with a metal rod in her thigh and a plate in her knee. She spent a couple of weeks there and another three months in rehabilitation facilities.
“I’ve lived through this incident like I live my life. When something happens, you have to keep the faith,” she says. “Things happen for a reason. I don’t know why this happened, but I know I can get through it. I’m a happy person and take life day by day.”
On May 24, Stephens reunited with other patients at Harris Health’s annual Trauma Survivors Celebration. The event recognizes the remarkable stories of triumph and recovery of patients treated at Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals, sites of Level 1 and Level 3 trauma centers, respectively. The celebration is held in May to coincide with National Trauma Awareness Month.
She continues physical therapy two times a week and exercises at home. Still, she moves much more slowly than before. She retired from a thriving real-estate business a couple of years ago at age 82, but she’s not ready to slow her life down.
“The hardest thing is not being able to do for myself,” she says of her recovery. “I’ve always been independent, so it’s tough to depend on other people.”
Her shoulder injury makes it difficult to care for her face and hair. She eats more slowly. Thankfully, she lives with her daughter’s family—all of whom are eager to help.
“By coincidence, one of my real-estate clients works at LBJ Hospital as a nurse,” Stephens says. “She took me under her wing and her circle of nurses cared for me. I’ve been blessed through it all. I had the best of care at LBJ and now at home. I have no complaints.”
Lyndon B. Johnson and Ben Taub hospitals are vital parts of the Houston/Harris County emergency response system. The hospitals are staffed by renowned medical experts from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and Baylor College of Medicine, respectively. Both facilities combine to treat nearly 172,000 emergency patient visits and trauma cases annually.