Polio Place

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Brochure from The Medical College of Virginia Hospital

Vera Moore; 1952; Mobile, Alabama

At age 14, I traveled to Mobile, Alabama during the Summer of 1952. When I began limping and within a few days could no longer walk at all, the doctor expected homesickness on the occasion of my first time away from home. It was polio.

The month spent in the brand new Mobile Infirmary was a pleasant experience as I was in the children's room with two other patients. My main concern was expressed to the doctor asking, "When will I be able to skate again?" Mother had come to be with me but needed to get back to her job so we returned home by automobile to Petersburg, Virginia. Since the nearest physical therapy was in Richmond I was admitted to the polio ward. I was totally unprepared for the rocking beds, the iron lungs, and the large number of polio patients there. My shock was so severe that I was moved to another floor.

I have since regretted this and vividly remember being embarrassed when I would meet some of the other polio patients during treatments times in the physical therapy department. This is the only failing of the medical professional during my time of hospitalization. Had I been better prepared on what to expect in the polio ward, I would have likely not have reacted as I did. My other treatment was expert and I continue to marvel at how these dedicated people were able to care for us during a time when so little was known about the after effects of polio.

A treasured keepsake is the little booklet given all patients admitted to Medical College of Virginia.


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