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A few years back when my mom was just 80 years young, she took a terrible tumble down her basement steps landing smack on her "good shoulder." Doing as she was instructed, mom was headed to the basement late at night to seek shelter during a very bad storm, when the power went out. Disoriented by the storm, she missed the last step. In extreme pain, she managed to get herself upright in the pitch dark with, what we were to later learn, a shattered left shoulder. This feat was made more challenging by a previous partial replacement of her right shoulder that seriously minimized mobility. 
 
Sure enough, through all of that, mom was able to find her iPhone, which apparently flew out of her pocket during the fall. Somehow she managed to text us for help. Then she remembered that her grandson had loaded a flashlight app onto her phone and she used it to shed a little light on her surroundings to make her way up the long, dark flight of stairs. Mom has been an iPhone/iPad aficionado for some time. She hangs out on Facebook with her friends and grandkids. She texts. She has a Bible App to follow along in Sunday School and church. She has even been known to send the occasional text during sermons. She enjoys downloading and reading historical novels on her iBooks app and watching documentaries on her PBS App. Mom can predict the weather better than any meteorologist. Of course, there's an app for that. So, using her flashlight app was just second nature for her, even under such dire circumstances.
 
Once in the ER, mom described her pain as a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. She was fearful of losing her independent lifestyle. It felt scary as we began to grasp and anticipate the challenges she would surely face. Sometime after midnight, the ER doctor gave us the news about the shattered shoulder. Mom had made a critical decision while waiting to hear. She decided to be grateful, for any and everything she could think of to be grateful for. She intentionally shifted her attention to her blessings and away from her pain. This, and looking for reasons to laugh and make others laugh, became her preferred method of dealing with pain. 
 
After it became apparent that she would be in the hospital for a time, she requested that her iPhone and charger be brought in. She quickly learned to use one hand to stay in touch with family and friends. She even googled the surgical procedure being proposed by her orthopedic surgeon to know what questions to ask. She took pictures of her flowers and sent them out with thank you emails. She kept herself and others entertained instead of worrying about worst case scenarios.
 
Mom is completely recovered now, and of course, she exceeded all medical expectations. She made a decision early on in her recovery not to let anyone do anything for her that she could for do herself, no matter how long it took her to do the task and no matter how difficult it was. Dare I say she got more done with one arm, and her iTools, than most people with two good arms accomplish.
 
Yes, there is an app for darned near everything, but I have yet to see an app that can give you such a can-do, “get out of my way” attitude like my mom's. There are some things we just have to do for ourselves. 

Jeanne Gladden

Born to be in business, Jeanne Gladden is a business coach, consultant and educator.

 

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