The needler in the haystack.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dottie Gutenkauf back at Hartwyck at Cedarbrook

Dottie Gutenkauf (seated), listens as Councilor Rebecca Williams
and Mother Carolyn Eklund speak at 2013 commemoration of
Muhlenberg Hospital's closing.

Dottie Gutenkauf is back at JFK's Hartwyck at Cedarbrook Rehab Center in Plainfield.

I spent a pleasant hour visiting with Dottie Sunday afternoon and delivering a birthday gift (some cigarettes, what else!) that had been delayed by her recent stay at RWJ Somerset Hospital.

Feisty as ever, the first thing she wanted to know was what has been happening on the political front in Plainfield while she has been out of commission.

I told her about last week's Town Hall meeting, and the city's newly refurbished website (see here).

"That's it?" she asked.

"Well, says I, the Board of Ed has moved the school board elections back to April."

"What!" she said, "Was there public discussion of the move?"

On hearing there was none, she wanted to know what the justification was.

The board has given no explanation, says I.

Hrumph! says she.

Dottie, as most folks know, has been struggling for several years with a rare cancer (ocular melanoma).

Among its effects has been the development of glaucoma in the affected eye and reduced acuity in the other -- to the extent that she some time ago gave up her driver's license.

Her balance has also been affected, and Hartwyck rules require her to use a wheelchair when she goes outside for a puff.

I called her during her previous stay there on the afternoon of the election to say I would stop by after dropping in to Democratic headquarters for a few minutes.

"Hurry," she said, "I need a babysitter."

She explained that house rules would not let her go out to the smoking booth unaccompanied, so she needed someone to push her wheelchair. I went right over. Her smoke break stretched for four or five ciagrettes before we went inside because of the chill.

It's one of the few pleasures remaining.

At the end of yesterday's visit, Dottie asked that I send her love to all -- which this post is conveying.

She welcomes phone calls and brief visits (always call first!), and can get emails once her laptop is set up today (her email is: Hartwyck at Cedarbook is on Park Avenue at the entrance to Cedar Brook Park. Visitor parking is in the Park Avenue lot.

Send well wishes to one of Plainfield's treasures!

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Karen Glencamp-Daniel said...

Inform Dottie she will be in my prayers

Dottie Gutenkauf said...

Oh Dan, that was so sweet--and your visit was fun--and thanks for the smokes!