Who is a Hero? by Darlene Franklin
Who is a hero? What makes a hero? I never saw myself in that light until I faced my own hero’s challenge. I had to battle back from a month-long hospitalization. I had never fully recovered from the crippling weakness and arthritis which had led to my moving to a nursing home.
On my first day of therapy, my physical therapist worked with my lower extremities and core strength. The occupational therapist focused on “activities of daily living.” Could I raise my arms enough to brush my hair? Dress myself? We had a hundred days (according to government mandated guidelines) to accomplish the task.
Weakness and pain nibbled at my motivation. In one of my first sessions, my physical therapist asked me to stand up.
I pushed myself to my feet and tottered there for a few seconds.
“Sit down. Don’t plop.”
I reached for the wheelchair arm and carefully lowered myself into the chair. I was spent.
“That was good.” She applauded “Do it four more times.”
Every muscle screamed with pain. I adapted the mantra of the winner of The Rock’s competition as my own: “I will not let pain or fear defeat me. I will stop only if I’m physically unable.”
I stood four more times. I learned an essential lesson in facing an overwhelming task: success has more to do with attitude than with ease.
My health continues to fluctuate. I’ve just completed another hundred days of therapy.
I will not let pain and fear defeat me. I began with enthusiasm, drive, and a definite goal: to walk around the nursing home.
More lessons headed my way.
- Accept a different normal.
Another hospitalization reminded me congestive heart failure has created problems for my other organs. They pick and choose when to work. I decided to stop waiting for things to get better.
- Do it anyway.
So what if I’m sore and tired? Go ahead and write. Sing. Attend church. Live life in the now, because that’s all I have.
And sometimes. . .
- Miracles happen.
For four years, I’d worked to improve range of motion in my arms. We’d worked as hard on it as much as we’ve worked on everything else, but nothing had changed.
Until one day this session, my arms lifted a few inches higher. I can wash my hair and tie on a chin strap.
- The miracle you receive may not be the one you wanted.
My arms can move farther but I can’t walk around the building. My legs will support me but my lungs won’t.
A hero is a person who is admired for. . .courage.
A lifetime has taught me courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of fear.
In that case, maybe I am a hero. Maybe you are too.
Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. Mermaid Song is her fiftieth unique title! She’s also contributed to more than twenty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears in five monthly venues. Other recent titles are Wilderness Weddings and Opposites Attract. You can find her online at: Website and blog, Facebook, Amazon author page