Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Day I got Polio

By Elizabeth “Biz” Adams
From Peg Cochran’s Murder, She Reported Series

I still remember the morning I woke up with a slight headache.  Mother took my temperature, which had gone up as well.  She said it was probably a mild case of flu but I’ll never forget the worried look on her face.

My muscles began to ache and my back and neck felt stiff.  That’s when mother decided to call Dr. Krause.  By the time he arrived, I had gotten worse.  Dr. Krause looked grave as he asked my parents if he could speak to them in private.  I heard my mother crying and then Dr. Krause’s voice on the telephone in the hall.  A few minutes later two men with a stretcher arrived to take me to the hospital.

I had polio.

It was a disease we all feared—we’d all seen pictures of children in iron lungs or with braces on their legs.  Still, we didn’t think it could happen to us and we complained bitterly when the movie theaters were closed and we weren’t allowed to go to the beach or to the local swimming pool.  Even the circus was cancelled!  We thought it was so incredibly unfair.

“Polio was a plague,” wrote author Richard Rhodes in A Hole in the World. “One day you had a headache, and an hour later you were paralyzed. How far the virus crept up your spine determined whether you could walk afterward or even breathe.”

Of course as children, we didn’t understand that.  All we knew was that our summer fun had been snatched away from us.  I spent what felt like an eternity in the hospital.  That’s where I met my friend Irene Nowak.  I escaped with only a slight limp that bothers me when I get tired, but she was left with those iron braces on her legs and crutches.

In 1938 President Roosevelt started the March of Dimes to raise money for research.  Prominent scientists worked to produce a vaccine and Jonas Salk finally discovered one that worked.  When asked if he planned to patent the vaccine, Salk replied “There is no patent.  Could you patent the sun?”

Today we are battling another deadly epidemic—Covid-19.  It’s been difficult—sheltering in place, missing our family and friends, praying for a vaccine.  But we can do it!  We’re strong and we’ll get through this.  Meanwhile, we can find ways to entertain ourselves and keep our spirits up.  I’ve been reading a lot and binging TV shows.  How about you?  What are you reading and/or watching?


  1. I have been reading books I bought but never read and crocheting monsters.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. I have a lot of those books on my Kindle--bought them when they were on sale. I'm enjoying working my way through them now.

    2. Crocheting monsters! Love it.

  2. It's not easy, but maybe a bit more so for us being retired and use to being at home. Miss the traveling we had planned for over a year, but there will be other years.

    I've just finished reading "NACHO AVERAGE MURDER" by Maddie Day and "COMING UP MURDER" by May Angela. Loved them both!

    Besides reading, and watching the old classics like The Andy Griffith Show, we also love photography. Weather is nice now so it's wonderful to sit on our front porch on our small plot of land and try to capture in photos the daily critters from birds to deer that come to visit us.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I have been reading all kinds of genre and finally got down to the books that I ordered which proved to be not so good as I ordered a book of a genre that I don't ever read. I have been reading mysteries, cozies,westerns and a lot of chic lit! I have two series that I want to read but just when I start I know there will be a reason to read another book that I should of read and review a long time ago as I wanted to help the new author. I also when hubby and i are watching tv crocheting another blanket for my granddaughters bunk beds I did a pink one for her bed the bottom one and then for the top for her step brother when he comes a blue one with the other colors just like hers. She is 2 1/2 and thinks she is 10 it is so funny. I have 9 grandkids as of this morning as one of my step sons his girlfriend had a baby boy so proud. peggy clayton ptclayton2 at aol.com

    1. Congratulations on the new grandson! My granddaughter is 10 and thinks she's 20 lol! Sounds like you are keeping busy with all your projects. My younger daughter is getting married (hopefully given the current situation) in the fall of 2021 so we are hoping for more grandkids someday!

  4. Salk refused to patent the polio vaccine, wanting it available to everyone who needed it.
    I wish we had people with that world view today!

  5. I've been reading a lot, making a little dent in my tbr pile.