Author Tammy Schuman led an active, charmed life. She was healthy and worked as a registered nurse in a good career; she was able to run and travel, and she had a great family and friends. Her entire life changed, however, in 1996 when she was diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia, a progressive neurological movement disorder. Everything she had built her life on shifted. She still had great family and friends, but the rest was slipping away.
In the Scooter Sagas: Coping with Ataxia, Schuman narrates her experiences by sharing her snarky emails, private journaling, website chatting, and public blogging. In this memoir, she describes the reality of living with ataxia and the ways in which it affects every aspect of her life. She also relays her motorized scooting experiences with Skeeter, the inanimate best friend who gives her the freedom to get outside and be more mobile.
With humor, the Scooter Sagas: Coping with Ataxia provides firsthand insight into one woman’s battles with a movement disorder and her fight to maintain her independence and dignity.
When I thought about what I needed as my ataxia progressed, I realized what I missed most was being able to do the things I used to do. Housekeeping? Nope, I’d never be good at that, and it is better left to a professional; Yard work? Nope, I’d never be good at that, and it is taken care of. Companionship? Nope, I have family and friends. The solution––a personal assistant, an extension of me–only with good hands and feet, willing to do what I ask without offering unsolicited input. An assistant could also help me maintain my new found organization.
Wanting to avoid an over reliance on favors, I hired Sandie for a few hours a week. So far, four to six hours are enough to make me feel as if I can still manage my home and not depend on family and friends. I prefer to minimize the “honey-dos” when my spouse gets home after a long day. I only have Sandie for a couple hours, so I need to think about what really needs doing by someone else. She and I have a routine that starts with a “Sandie-do list” (a little OCD). …
I save the things I can do, even if they take forever, for later in the day. I hate to be sexist and say, “I needed a wife,”
but there you are.
Tammy Lanning Schuman is a retired registered nurse who spent the last seventeen years of her career at the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Nursing. She lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with her husband of forty years, Earl. They have two children and four grandchildren. This is Schuman’s debut book.