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Letters to the editor: More accessibility and adjusting to new normals

Limited access
When I read the article “Destination: Accessibility,” (Fall 2022) I said, “This is my life!” I’m a native New Yorker and use a Rollator, which limits my access to transportation. There are two or three subway stations with elevators — more than 2 miles from my house. The buses are usually too crowded for me to ride. Struggling to maintain my balance is a nightmare. I do use Access-A-Ride, which is somewhat unreliable. One time, I missed an appointment at the hospital because the driver couldn’t fit my Rollator into the trunk of his car and he wouldn’t let me hold it next to me in the back seat. I’ve been isolated at home for over two years. I’ve skipped getting necessary medical evaluations and treatment. I’m deeply depressed by the lack of transportation accessibility. When I could get around with the use of a crutch, I would spend so much time outside. Now, I feel so frustrated. I can only hope that Access-A-Ride becomes more reliable. Thanks for showing me that I’m not alone in this problem.

Beverley R. Hutchins, New York


Still productive and fulfilling
Please tell Diane Hammond how much I appreciated her article “A smaller life” (Fall 2022). She describes so well the difficult and emotional process of cognitive testing, as well as the process we all face with MS (and aging) of living a smaller but still productive and fulfilling life.

Georgia Pollak, New York

Still a gift
Thank you for publishing “A smaller life” by Dianne Hammond (Fall 2022). I related 100% to the story, and her title was spot on. MS physical disabilities are visible, but the cognitive ones are not and more difficult for others to understand. Is the person stupid, drunk or is it “all in their mind”? This article made me feel that I wasn’t the only one living with a shrinking brain. Diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS at 19, followed by 20 years of the regular physical bouts with the disease, I still lived my life to the fullest. Losing my mind — also known as brain atrophy — was never a concern until 10 years ago. After a difficult five years, I was finally approved for disability and told to embrace and love my “new normal.” To anyone in this situation, always remember that you have a purpose. Finding that purpose will change everything, and while the “new normal” is a smaller life, it’s still a gift. My past life was great, but my new one is blessed.

Michelle Watts. Texas

Tough decision
I’m writing to thank Diane Hammond (Fall 2022) for writing about her cognitive deficits in “A smaller life.” I have not previously found many articles about the topic. I also have had to pursue “retirement”/disability for the same issues, which left me unable to continue my previous fast and highly competent pace. It’s been a tough decision. Diane’s article helped.

Angela Gibbs, Illinois