We are pleased you included We Hold This Treasure: The Story of Gillette Children's Hospital, by Dr. Steven Koop, in your magazine (Information Center, February 1998). We hope news of this book will reach not only former patients and employees but also the many others who are interested in or have experienced the old-time, long-term institutional medical care that was going on in hundreds of hospitals throughout America.
Many of the memories related in the book are merely variations of the interesting stories from thousands of children who had similar experiences.
Tina Given Gillette Children's Hospital St. Paul
WHEN IN ROME
In the January issue ("Sydney, the Best Yet," Sports & Recreation), Dr. Robert Steadward, International Paralympic Committee president, stated that the Sydney Paralympic Organizing Committee should be commended for ensuring close proximity to the village for all sporting events and easy access to venue. He said, "Not since our first Games in Rome in 1960 have I seen the majority of sports so close together. That is going to save us a lot of aggravation with transportation."
Was Dr. Steadward in Rome, Italy, or Rome, N.Y.? As a member of the United States 1960 Paralympic Team, I remember awakening at 7:00 a.m. each morning, rushing to get to breakfast and gulping it down, and boarding a bus for a 1 1/2-hour trip to the other side of the city to participate in the events.
Once I got to the field, I received a box lunch during a noontime siesta. It didn't matter if athletes competed in one event or many. Everybody stayed at the field until 5:00-5:30 p.m. when the buses returned to transport us to our living quarters. Because of the heavy traffic, we didn't return until 7:00 p.m.--at the earliest. We rushed to get something to eat and then to our rooms for some rest. The next day was the same thing all over again.
Living quarters were also a problem. Although the rooms were good, they were on the second and third floors (no elevators or ramps). Italian soldiers stationed at each building carried us up and brought us down in the morning.
Not everything was bad in Rome. I have many fond memories: a personal audience with the Pope, excellent media coverage, great food, fantastic sightseeing, and camaraderie among athletes from many countries.
But Dr. Steadward, are you being fair by comparing the Sydney Games to the ones in Rome?
Saul Welger 1960 USA Paralympic Team Brooklyn, N. Y.
HAVING A BREAKDOWN
I am 72 years old and have been in a wheelchair for 53 years with a spinal-cord injury. A WW II veteran, I have my own van with a lift and a power lock. I drive from the wheelchair.
I am quite active in many organizations and am often out alone. If my vehicle has a mechanical breakdown, I use a cellular phone to call an auto-service company.
The last two times my van broke down, the towing company [responded quickly], but the driver could not solve the problem. The law says he couldn't tow a vehicle with someone riding in it. We finally found another service 20 miles away. I was two miles from home. This driver arrived two hours later.
On another day when my van malfunctioned, a dispatcher called a private firm that transports wheelers to appointments. It cost me $125 to be picked up and taken two miles to where the vehicle was being towed.
Thousands of people with disabilities have similar problems. Who makes these laws that affect us? Can a special-circumstances letter give us permission to be towed while still in our vehicles? Can we change or amend the law? To whom do we talk about this problem?
I am well aware of the liability concerns that companies have, but how often does a vehicle-in-tow break loose? It would be much better for people not to have the struggle and wait to get a second vehicle in which to transfer.
Allen Parson via the Internet