I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries about my illness, ALS. So today I’ll give you an update.

I think you know I’m in a wheelchair, but on nice days, I like to get outside and ride up the road in my chair. My wife Linda walks beside me and quite often, someone driving by stops to visit. That’s very nice.

We have a van that allows me to ride up a ramp and into the front passenger place for our rides. The really good thing about this is I can give Linda lots of driving instructions (she disagrees!). Linda and I enjoy a couple of drives every week, and one day we drove up to Rangeley and Oquossic to enjoy the stunning fall foliage.

My voice has gotten very soft, and people have a hard time understanding me. It’s especially hard to talk on the phone, so I encourage people to email me rather than call. I can’t swallow food now so I take my nutrition through a tube into my stomach. And I have several pieces of equipment, including a machine that blows air into my lungs while I sleep.

We started Beacon hospice recently. They cover everything we need, including a hospital bed, which we got recently. They’ve also provided lots of help, from nurses to a nurse’s aide to help Linda with light chores.

The real hero here is Linda, because she has to do so much for me.


The ALS Association’s Northern New England group has been a big help, and I really enjoy the Zoom meetings they do each month for people with ALS.

I’m losing strength in my hands and arms, but I’m very happy that I can still write these columns, although I can only type with one finger, so it takes longer. I was pleased this month to be recognized by the Maine Press Association for writing one of the best newspaper columns in the state. I hope you agree!

And please don’t think things are all bad. We have lots of family and friends that will do anything for us, from bringing in our wood for winter fires to cutting brush.

My birthday was Oct. 15, and the entire week was special. My granddaughters each gave me a sheet of paper listing things they know about their Grampy. The 3-year-old said I was 10-years-old and 1 foot tall, and the 6-year-old said I was 40 feet tall. She also said I’m really good at fishing, and I like to talk. She knows me so well!

On the afternoon of my birthday, Linda got me out to the end of our driveway and a long line of cars with our friends from church and town drove by with signs and shouts wishing me happy birthday. That was so nice.

On the Sunday after my birthday, we were Zooming with our kids and grandkids and my brother and sister when Gov. Janet Mills, Rep. Jared Golden and Sen. Angus King joined us to celebrate my birthday. That was very special.


I really am enjoying reading and reviewing books for Maine publishers and authors. You can read those on my website, www.georgesmithmaine.com, along with my outdoor news blog.

Every night, I enjoy watching the news (Linda doesn’t) and after the news, we watch shows on Roku and Netflix. If you’ve never watched any “Madam Secretary” or “West Wing” shows, check them out.

So, even though my ALS is progressing, I’m enjoying life. I hope you are too.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or georgesmithmaine@gmail.com. Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.

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