My mom is one of the strongest people I've ever known. She's 88 years old and is fiercely independent. It was two years ago this month that she was released from a 3 1/2 week stay in the hospital to continue recuperating in a nursing home for almost two months. She ended up in the hospital in September of 2011 after suffering a "mild" heart attack (but, is there really any such thing as a MILD heart attack??), and she ended up needing surgery to remove some of her upper intestine due to the clots her body was producing. Her surgeon was cautiously optimistic after her surgery, but - months later at a check-up appointment - he admitted to my Mom "you almost died." Upon returning to her house after she left the nursing home, she needed a walker to get around. I figured she would need that walker (or a cane) for the rest of her life, but she ditched it within a few months!
In the meantime, she has dragged her twin-size mattress back up to her bedroom on the second story of her house because she got tired of sleeping on the main floor. She also removed her window A/C unit a few weeks ago all by herself by placing it first on a chair under the window, putting it back in its cardboard box, and dragging that box across the floor to store it in a closet. She performed these two tasks without telling any of her kids first, and we have scolded her plenty for not asking for help. When we all reach my Mom's age, we can only hope we're half as strong as she is :-)