Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I was born a healthy, vivacious, robust baby. Barely seven months later, the polio virus invaded my little body and changed my life forever. Or did it not...?

Now, as time has gone by, I receive some looks full with pity from people who the only thing they get to see is a -maybe beautiful- woman riding a red scooter-wheelchair.

For instance, when I have to give my marital status and I say that I am divorced, that announcement is immediately followed by me volunteering that "oh, I wanted it!" and a smile, to reassure my interlocutors that I am not the poor crippled girl abandoned by her husband(s), because I was married twice, and to two wonderful men. Alas, both marriages did not work, but it was due to life developments and to the fact that men and women have once and for all to accept that marriage is a mission that requires two to succeed.

In all, I see polio like the most inherent part of me, a part that though I sometimes have hated because it made me different than so many beautiful-legged women, most recently I have come to learn to love and be grateful for.

For, what, who, would I have been without the polio.

Maybe a superficial beauty, spoiled by an adoring and boring husband and some kids, or maybe one of those spoiled-rotten young women in Manhattan, born to adoring parents who would rush at their baby's least call.... but most likely without the strength of character, the indomitable passion that I feel for life and for the world.

Yes, polio became my impediment for so many aspects in life.


Rather than complain about it, I prefer to think of all the good things that came out of it. Because having to wake up every morning to the sunshine of life, it is a special -not to say a hard- task to get out of bed and walk around... but, that's what it's all about, despite the challenge still get to enjoy the warmth of the sun, of life; still enjoy each pleasure that life gives us.

I wonder what many people may think when they see me on my little red scooter. Obviously she cannot run or jump or even walk like all of us.... so she may not be that much fun.... Yes, probably all that goes through their heads and, who knows, even more daring thoughts -or not. Like, does she even make love, and if so, does she even enjoy it....

Well, that's all very amusing to me, because far from being an ice queen, the reality is totally the opposite.

Yes, what G-d took away from my legs, did give me back in my overgrown very analytical mind. What G-d took away from my legs, my arms, gave me in an exceeding passion for life in all forms, including my communication skills that are so critical in this age of connections and internet but most of all of intense personal interaction.

The magic of polio will continue to influence my life till the end, and I will never regret it, because I am who I am also thanks to that devastating polio.

My friend Eric Haseltine, who is one of the American leading brain scientists, has told me that there are so many scientific progress done lately, that there may be a way to implant a chip on my brain to make work some of the debilitated muscles of my legs or my left arm. That's so wonderful. Yet, the only reaction possible was to tell Eric that nobody will touch my brain to implant that chip, I am very well as I am, thank you very much.

The curious thing is that, sometimes, I forget I have this impediment, that I cannot walk 'normally', like you or the others.

The other day, I had forgotten my blackberry which I had placed on a lower bench, so I turned around to pick it up, but it so happened that I had forgotten that I could not walk well!!! And, I almost fell. I just smiled, because this proved me something else that I will address in another piece where I will try to explain it from another angle.

Meanwhile, let me just say that my mind sometimes actually 'forgets' my physical impediment, and I find that fascinating.

Monday, August 10, 2009


We live in difficult times and it's true all over, but walking down Madison Avenue in New York City these days has become an increasingly disturbing view, as one finds store after store closing and going out of business. Stores that have barely set up shop less than a year ago, have already packed and left. One more recent case has been the store a block past the Carlyle Hotel, which barely had unpacked its merchandise composed of baby clothing, and within one single day decided to pack everything up and leave, thus cutting its losses. One cannot stop but think 'which one will be the next store to go...'

The situation in the US is disastrous. There is no other way to say it.

Naturally, in the middle of this disaster, there are going to be the lucky ones who will be able to build their empires because they are the only ones who will be terrificly positioned to purchase and acquire, for instance, buildings and residences at very inexpensive prices, among other areas, though I tend to think that probably the only one area to invest in, within one or two years, once the real estate market has gone completely down, will indeed be real estate.

Friends are no longer friends, the dire economic and financialsituation is giving place to further greed, not to further understanding and compassion.

No matter which the religion, people are now not thinking of how they can help their friends and their loved ones to go over this very critical situation, but they 'wash their hands' purposelly oblivious of their moral obligations and unwilling to accept the social responsibility that lies upon each of us to be there for the loved ones in need.

This society has produced a serial of criminals, like Madoff, that are the result of the lax morals that inadvertently is taught to its citizens. People no longer have time for discipline, parents are negligent in raising children who are, instead, placed at the mercy of uneducated nannies. And, this situation has deteriorated tremendously with the inexorable passage of time. Thus, as one could expect it, that laissez-faire has produced this generation where leaders are almost nowhere to be found.

Sadly, my only thought right now is, "Quo vadis, America...?"

Saturday, August 8, 2009


As summer continues giving us its warm days, and so many things become uncertain to many among us, yesterday my son Gabriel showed me a segment on television, at ESPN. The best known sports channel in the US, was showing a very special program which you can access at

I had polio since I was 7-months old; it certainly gave me a different position and approach to

life than the one the majority of body-abled people have in and towards life.

Sure, it was a hard infancy, with major surgeries along the road in the life of the vivacious little girl. As a teenager, with normal hormones, it was even harder, as no one boy would want to look at me. As a university and college student, it was hard because I could not go at the speed of all others. But, I learned so much and so many things. I studied languages, psychology -which I abandoned because there was too much suffering and realized that I would not be able to actually help someone in pain- studied history and political sciences, which I adored, and then it was time to learn communications and to enlarge my experience in life through a variety of positions. Until I decided to be my own boss.

But, to make a long story short, things definitely changed for the better for me the day I decided to move from my crutches to my scooter.

However, my crutches have given me the physical training that I, sadly, do not get with my scooter. But, the advantage, on the other hand, is that my speed is multiplied by hundred with the little red scooter.

So, at the beginning of my days on the scooter, I was crossing Madison Avenue on a Friday afternoon when I see a young blind man turning around, seemingly disoriented, and while there was a huge crowd of 'busy' people going around him, there was no one who stopped to ask him "do you need anything?," "are you all right?," "may I help you in any way?..."

Naturally, I did ask him. It happens that he was disoriented and indeed lost. So, he told me where he was heading, and I volunteered to go with him. I just asked him to hold on to the back of my scooter wheelchair, and promised him to go very slowly, at his speed. I took him almost 4 blocks until his destination. As he was saying good-bye, he said thank you with tears in his eyes.

And, my heart was just too moved thanking G-d for allowing me to help him. Me, and not all those other body-abled people, who had not one second to tell a fellow human being,"let me help you..."

That's why I found the story of Dartanyan and Leroy so wonderful, a lesson of human love and care.

Precisely what we need to be reminded in these very trying days.