Frank Muller is known to many as the voice on the Left Behind® audio books. On November 5, 2001 Frank was badly injured in a motorcycle accident near his home in California. He faces a very long recovery. Frank's brother Leo provides periodic updates, which we excerpt and present here to keep the Left Behind® community up-to-date and to remind you all of the need for continued prayers for Frank, his wife Erika, children (Diana and a boy due in mid-July), and their families and friends.
If you wish to send Frank a note or help support him through the Wavedancer Foundation, please visit the Recorded Books, Inc. website—www.recordedbooks.com, which has additional information and links.
May update from Leo Muller:
Dear Friends of Frank:
I flew in from Seattle to visit Frank on the weekend of his birthday, as did my brother Walter from Alabama. Not only was May 5th Frank's 51st birthday, but it also marked six months since his accident.
Frank is continuing his progress. According to his doctor, David Patterson, Frank is still recovering at a pace ahead of the curve. In fact, Dr. Patterson estimated that his mental capacities are at 80 percent. This encouraging news is tempered by the fact that his brain function is still mostly dominated by his frontal lobe, the locus of reactions and emotions (to use layman's terms), and often fires off without warning or in response to distorted perceptions.
In physical therapy, Frank has been slowly learning to walk, and on two consecutive days last week took several steps with the assistance of a support mechanism. He works very hard in therapy, but it is exhausting. As Frank put it shortly after I arrived at the hospital, "This is the hardest thing I've done in my life."
My brother Walter noted to Erika after the weekend, "…one of my fondest memories of the trip and the most impressive was the way you said to Frank over and over with a sweet calm in your voice 'Frank, listen to my words.'" Erika did have a very calming effect on Frank; she was able to keep him in the moment when he became overwhelmed at the enormity of his task, reminding him to take one step at a time.
Erika has been simply incredible in her belief in Frank and his recovery, along with her determination to do whatever is necessary to survive in her circumstances. She and her mother, along with several friends (including Walt and I during our visit) have been preparing the new house to move in. Old wallpaper has come down, rooms are being painted, and new appliances installed.
Others have contributed countless hours getting taxes filed, finances in order, Diana cared for, and Frank visited when Erika takes time for the new house, her daughter and her new little boy on the way. Yes, she takes time to rest, and the boy-child is actively exercising "in-utero" at seven months!
Frank's birthday party was a peaceful and pleasant event held early Sunday afternoon at the Casa Colina playground. About 12 of Frank and Erika's close friends attended, including four little girls, with wonderful food (chocolate cake, Frank's favorite!), and the swings going full blast the entire two hours. Frank managed all the attention and activity very well, with occasional laps around the walkway courtesy of one or another of us. He blew out all 51 candles on his cake, with a little help from four excited girls, and took calls from San Francisco (1) and Holland (2). Frank seemed very happy and appreciative.
Meanwhile, on the east coast two days earlier, Frank was getting attention from another group that was gathered. It was the Audio Publishers Association Annual Audie Awards. [Frank won awards for Unabridged Fiction for his reading of The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Staub (Simon & Shuster Audio) and for Male Solo Narration for his reading of Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker (HarperCollins Publishers)] Check this out from the APA web site visit www.audiopub.org/2002win.html.
As one person who was there later told me, "Frank's name was very much in the air at the Audie awards dinner and ceremony. During the reception before the awards ceremony his name could be heard in many conversations among the assembled members of the audio book industry. He received thunderous applause when he won the two awards, and was quite conspicuous in his absence. Frank was very vibrant in the minds of all those present."
A day earlier, at the APA luncheon, John McElroy and David Rapkin, the two organizers of the February benefit reading for Frank, had been asked to give a progress report on Frank, and say a few words about the Wavedancer Foundation. They provided an update on Frank's progress, noting his recent wonderful hour with Erika and Diana when he provided his accompaniment to Erika's reading of the animal book his little girl enjoys so much. They told about his ongoing physical therapy and shared how he and Erika have developed a private language they use to communicate. They said the Frank of old resides firmly within the confines of his present physical condition. They spoke of the Rancho Los Amigos scale, noting that Frank was moving towards greater independence.
They then shared that the Wavedancer Foundation was an ongoing concern, and intends to build an endowment large enough to disburse funds from the interest on its investments. They indicated Foundation wishes to help others beyond Frank in the not-too-distant future, and plans to continue fundraising, creating a strong board of directors and defining the criteria for selection of future recipients of the foundation's resources.
At the end of their report, John and David began to leave the stage, but the Master of Ceremonies said, "Not so fast…" and presented each of them with an "Audio Hero" award for their efforts on the benefit and the Foundation. She then called to the stage Bob Walter, who had been with Frank and Erika at the hospital a few days earlier, and had recorded a beautiful tribute from Erika, which he played for them. After some photos and further congratulations, John and David were finally released…stunned, humbled and deservedly honored.
In support of the efforts of the Wavedancer Foundation, Recorded Books, Inc. has recently begun displaying a prominent picture of Frank on their homepage (www.recordedbooks.com) with links to additional pages, and is planning an email deluge to their 25,000 correspondents encouraging them to log onto the page for information about how they can help. Many thanks to RB President Claudia Howard, VP Brian Downing and the whole team at Recorded Books for this great effort! As Claudia said to me, "Now we'll discover the power of the Internet!!"
Thanks to all of you who sent cards, emails and other greetings, as well as those of you who called Frank on his birthday. He had a very special day He loves to hear from you, so keep those cards and letters coming!