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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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May You Have an Interesting Wife!

By: Sonia Lima

The front cover of Michael R. McGuire's book

Michael R. McGuire's book

Name: Bonnie McGuire
Level of injury: T5
Mechanism of Injury: Fell off a Mayan Pyramid
Date of Injury: 1978

Bonnie McGuire was a woman who traveled all over the world, both Europe, Asia and North Africa. While a student and working as a teacher, at a department store and at the post office, she would take three months out of the year to travel.

One year she decided to travel to Mexico, but it wasn't what she expected.

Forgetting the fall
While climbing a Mayan pyramid on the border of Mexico and Guatemala with her friends, Bonnie lost her balance and fell. "I have no memory of falling," says Bonnie. "I woke up with the doctor telling me to follow his finger, and I realized I was in Mexico. He told me that I had been in a terrible accident and the conclusion of it was that I was paralyzed."

It took a while for Bonnie to get the gist of what had happened to her.

Bonnie was then flown back home to California, where she was sent to a rehab center, and realized she was paraplegic and would probably never travel the world again.

Bonnie went through mental agony as well as physical, realizing that this was permanent. "I finished my Master's degree but couldn't concentrate when it came to my Ph.D.," says Bonnie. "I tried a variety of classes but psychologically, I felt I couldn't continue with it, so I dropped out."

A new beginning
A few years later, Bonnie attended a singles event where she met her husband. Michael, Bonnie's husband, says that when he first met Bonnie he noticed her smile. "She was a in a wheelchair with a blanket on her lap, but all I noticed was her smile." Michael drove Bonnie home that night and the rest is history.

They got married in 1984, and Michael changed Bonnie's life. "We traveled tremendously," says Bonnie. "There were so many experiences that I thought were gone from my life. We have been to South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand and all of the States expect for six."

"I would say that it is more difficult for the caregiver than the disabled person when it comes to traveling," explains Bonnie. "He had to help me get into cars, onto boats and trains, and on the airplane."

Michael has written a Kindle book about his wife and how they have traveled together titled, May you Have an Interesting Wife! A story of disability, love and world travel. In this book Michael writes about Bonnie's life before her accident and the journey they have encountered together traveling the world. Bonnie and Michael are now both 65.

Learn More
Here is the link to Michael's book available on Kindle.

You can also learn more about traveling in our Paralysis Resource Center

Tell us your story
Telling your story is one way to let anyone touched by paralysis know that they are not alone. We've created a place where you can share your journey for your benefit, and the benefit of others. Your story matters. Share it!

Access-Able Travel SourceHi, we are Bill and Carol Randall and we live in Colorado. We have always liked to travel and like many of you don't get to do it enough. Carol has MS and uses a wheelchair or scooter. This has given us some first hand experience with unpleasant surprises and access problems. That's why we started Access-Able Travel Source. We are an information service! We are not travel agents, just travelers. We think we have come up with a way to help fellow travelers.

Access to RecreationOffers some interesting products that may come in handy during your travels.

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Caregivers PCAs Respite (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Medical Air Transportation (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Medical Air Transportation (PDF)(Spanish)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Travel (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Mindfullness (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on New Injury Top 10 Questions (PDF) - EnglishA Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on New Injury Top 10 Questions (PDF) - Spanish

AmtrakAmtrak enjoys a good reputation among travelers with disabilities, offers information on reservations, accessible coaches and sleeping accommodations, boarding, use of oxygen, etc.

CaringRoad.comCaringRoad.com is dedicated to helping family caregivers obtain information, locate services and find support so they can make informed decisions about the care of their loved ones. An online community of family caregivers.

Caregiver.comOffers a directory of support groups for caregivers.

The Caregiver InitiativeA project of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company to help family caregivers provide care to their loved ones and reduce their own stress. Includes information on caregiver needs, and training materials for family caregivers.

Emerging HorizonsLots of information in this accessible travel magazine covering news, resources and travel tips.

Environmental Traveling CompanionsOffers outdoor adventures.

Family Caregiver AllianceCaregiver Media Group is a leading provider of information, support and guidance for family and professional caregivers.

Family Caregiving: It's Not All Up to YouNFCA and the National Alliance for Caregiving launched a public education campaign to give information and support to caregivers.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)Information on laws regarding air travel for persons with disabilities.

FacingDisability.comFacing Disability is a web resource with more than 1,000 videos drawn from interviews of people with spinal cord injuries, their families, caregivers and experts. I know that this is a lot to ask, but we'd be so grateful for your help. I'm looking forward to discussing this link with you, and to answering any questions you may have.

Mobility International USAThe National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange has programs to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange programs.

National Family Caregiver Association (NFCA)The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers' lives by removing barriers to health and well being.

National Alliance for CaregivingThe Alliance was created to conduct research, do policy analysis, develop national programs, increase public awareness of family care giving issues, work to strengthen state and local care giving coalitions, and represent the US care giving community internationally.

Red Cross Family Caregiving ResourcesInformation for caregivers.

Spinal Cord Injury CaregiversYahoo Internet Forum is a place to share information and to support other caregivers who are caring for people with SCI.

The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH)A clearinghouse for accessible tourism information, dedicated to a barrier-free environment throughout the travel and tourism industry.

ScootAround IncOffers scooter and wheelchair rentals in dozens of North America destinations

Special Needs GroupGlobal provider of special needs equipment rentals including mobility scooters, wheelchairs, powerchairs, oxygen, patient lifts, hospital beds and more. Equipment is delivered to cruises, hotels, convention centers and other requested locations.

Well Spouse AssociationA national, not for profit membership organization that gives support to wives, husbands, and partners of the chronically ill and/or disabled. Through information and support groups, the organization address issues common to family caregivers: anger, guilt, fear, isolation, grief, and financial threat.

Paralysis Resource Center The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

Reeve Foundation Online Paralysis Community Connecting people living with paralysis, families, friends and caregivers so we can share support, experience, knowledge, and hope.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.