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Polio and My Parents

Polio and My Parents

Both of my parents contracted polio as children. My mom, thankfully, did not suffer any long-term consequences. My dad, on the other hand, did. He was 4 years old when he contracted polio in a little town in the prairies. He was sent away by train to a hospital in Red Deer Alberta, hours away from his parents and older brother. He spent 6 months alone in the hospital convalescing with other polio patients. His family had very little money for travel, so were unable to visit him during his stay in the hospital. He has distinct memories of children in iron lungs. My father ended up with damage to both his legs, but primarily affecting his right leg, causing his calf to be very small, with very little muscle tissue. He has always walked with a slight limp. Over the last 10 years or so he has experienced something called "post-polio syndrome" which causes him a lot of pain in his legs, and increased weakness. Of course, very few practitioners have experience with polio, so he has had great difficulty finding a specialist who can help with his pain and discomfort. His mobility is becoming increasingly affected.

Clearly the fact that no practitioners have seen polio or have very little knowledge about its effects is a direct result of the introduction and use of the polio vaccine. Whlle not good news for my dad... good news for us as a whole because it means we are not exposed to the disease in Canada.

Last modified: 
Oct 26, 2017

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