Mrs. Atlas

Hero | Wellcome Images Shortly after my stroke, at the rehab gym, I met Mrs. Atlas. She had had a stroke when she was 80. She took very short, careful steps with a four-pronged metal cane. She would regally enter the gym, greeted the other members like a homecoming queen. No athletic clothes for her; her silver hair was styled like a female executive, bright red lipstick, a muted turtleneck, slacks, and brown shoes that were as close to fashionable as old-lady-shoes can be.

In addition to being the best dressed in the gym, she had the gym’s best posture—perfectly erect. She wore an ankle brace and had an arm that was bent even further inward than mine. That didn't stop her, though, because 84-year-old Mrs. Atlas would stay for two hours each visit, working out on every single machine, with some help from her assistant getting on and off. Then they departed in a brown Jaguar with a cream interior.

I decided to be like Mrs. Atlas when I grew up. Do you have stroke heroes?