I belonged to a book club for many years. When it became too difficult for me to get around in my wheelchair and in and out of other people’s homes, I decided to drop out of the club. I still keep in touch with some of the members.
I had an interesting encounter last week that really made me think. One of the women who was in our book club for many years, an engineer at Motorola, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. It had come to the point where her husband had no choice but to have her admitted into a facility that could care for her.
Some of the ladies in the book club decided to go visit her and asked if I would like to come along. I said yes. When we got to the facility and found her room, there she was, 80 pounds sitting on the bed with a blank stare. She did not know who we were or why we were there. We had brought cookies and milk, and we sat at the table and tried to make conversation. But there was no recognition. I suddenly began to cry. How sad.
As we left to go home and my friends were trying to get me and my wheelchair into my van, my friend turned to me and said, “At least you are still you.” And then it dawned on me how lucky I really was.
True I can't walk, I can't work, I can’t drive, and I need help with so many things. But inside, I'm still me. I can talk to friends on the phone. I can read books. I can play on the Internet. I can write this blog. I have a wonderful husband who takes good care of me. I have a dog that is my joy. I'm still me.
Every day I try to remind myself how lucky I really am. I have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in. I have food in the refrigerator, a husband who loves me, and family and friends. And most importantly, I AM STILL ME.
Originally posted on February 2, 2013.
About the Author
Originally a New Yorker, I moved to Arizona in 1988 with my husband Phil. I worked as an engineering administrator for TRW for many years. In 1999, I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease, and later it was determined to be a slow-progressing form of ALS. I now use a power wheelchair full time, and I need help with many daily activities. I refuse to let it stop me. I still love to travel. This past March I put together a group of seven people, and we took a wheelchair-accessible tour of Israel. I began to write a blog to tell some of my stories ... and vent some of my frustrations. My motto is never take NO for an answer.
Bonnie Guzelf lives in Tempe, Ariz. Check out her blog, Wheelchair-Accessible Arizona and More.