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cover of True Strength

My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal—and How Nearly Dying
Saved My Life

by Kevin Sorbo

US $26.00 / CAN $30.00
ISBN: 9780306820366


Introduction to True Strength

Suddenly I was awake.

“Don’t move.”

The words seemed to come from inside my head, low and emphatic. What was that incessant, droning sound? I was falling backward, but I was not moving.

“Don’t move.”

Something was stabbing between my eyes and pooling behind my head—an excruciatingly bright heat. That ceaseless noise wasn’t helping at all.

I glanced around me as best as I could without moving my head too much. Yep, I was still in the ICU, with my new friends, a collection of medical machines, ticking away, hanging over the bed to scrutinize my every heartbeat.

But just as I focused on the IV, the heart monitor next to it disappeared. What?

I looked carefully, trying to see the monitor in my periphery. No luck. So I refixed my gaze on the heart monitor directly. There it was, doing its job—I presumed.

Apparently, my new blind spot was with me for the long haul. Shit. I closed my eyes and felt . . . worse. Lightning strikes flashed through the darkness. How was that even possible? Then the dizziness hit, and every small movement generated a new, awful sensation. I was falling, spinning, freezing, floating. Nausea rolled on my tongue like a ball bearing.

That’s right: “Don’t move.”

The bed was a dingy in rough seas. Oh, no! I realized, I’m not supposed to move. How am I going to throw up?

That’s when it hit me how hungry I was. How many days had it been? At least three. I heard the ICU nurses in the hallway, talking, joking, laughing. One of them yelled to the other one, who must’ve been walking away, “Yeah, that’s what she said!”

Huh. Is there nothing original anymore, ever?

“Don’t move.”

Oh, Lord, how I wanted to get up and just walk out of there. My ass was killing me. My back ached, even the skin on it was tender, and my legs were angry for lack of use. I could just feel my muscles slipping off my bones. For the athlete in me, this was torture.

I was on a Tilt-A-Whirl, but there was nothing amusing about it. I just wanted some peace and quiet, to go back to sleep. I wished, for the thousandth time, that the nurses would shut off that infernal generator. Its relentless humming was driving me crazy.

Although the end had not yet come, I was teetering on the brink of complete destruction. So I clung clumsily to the distractions of my circumstances in the ICU of this famous hospital. And while I examined this new life, the old one flashed in my memory: playing football in the snow in our front yard with my neighbors, driving alone for the first time in my ’67 Ford Mustang, riding the subways in Paris. It all seemed so surreal and fast. Fear is an extraordinary artist, stimulating the mind to reminisce, as if to divine where fairytale meets horror novel. Through it all I couldn’t help but think: What did I do to deserve this?