Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International

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Selma Harrison Letter to her Grandmother

Selma Harrison (Calmes); 1948, age 8; Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Long Beach, California

I found this letter recently. Like so many post-polio patients, I'd deeply buried memories of polio. When I saw the last sentence - "I can stand up now and walke (sp)" - a rush of memories came back.

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Twelfth Birthday Party at Lincoln General Hospital

Nancy Baldwin Carter; 1948, age 12; Lincoln General Hospital, Lincoln, Nebraska

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Soonja Cho; mid-1950s; Seoul, Korea

My story with polio began when I was one year old, and my leg was paralyzed.

At that time, it was the beginning of the Korean War and my family had to flee our home. To escape the advancing North Korean army, we traveled from Seoul to Pusan in the very south of Korea. It took us many months because our family had to walk the entire distance, over 200 miles. We could travel only at night. My older sister carried me. If we could have gone by bus, the trip would have taken about 5 hours.

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Hubbard tank

Marny Eulberg; 1950; Aberdeen, South Dakota

In the fall of 1950, as part of a story about the ongoing polio cases in the community, the Aberdeen Daily News published a photo of me in a Hubbard tank.

The warm pulsating jets of water and the ability to move my legs in ways I could not on land felt great! Time in the Hubbard tank was also a nice break from being wrapped in the smelly hot wool blanket “hot packs” used for the rest of the day.

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Poem by Richard L. Daggett

Richard Lloyd Daggett; 1954; Rancho Los Amigos, Los Angeles, California

I wrote this poem in May - June 1954, when I was finally able to sit in a wheelchair and walk short distances. I was thirteen years old. Before polio I was left handed, but my left hand was no longer strong enough to hold a pen or pencil. I had to learn to write with my right hand. The school teacher at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital knew I liked poetry and encouraged me to compose poems as an exercise.

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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.

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Sabin Oral Polio Vaccine Record

Charles Quimby; 1963; Glenwood Springs, Colorado

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Occupational Therapy

Saul Morse; c. 1952; Toledo, Ohio

I was 21 months old when I came down with polio in Brooklyn, New York. I have few memories of that time but know I was in an iron lung for about six weeks and my parents were told not to expect me to survive. I was kept from family and sent to a hospital for rehabilitation. That took almost two years . During this time I saw my parents and grandparents on weekends but was not allowed to see my older brother for extended periods.

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Admission Papers for Bonnie (Moore) Levitan

Bonnie E. Levitan; 1951; Children's Hospital of Michigan; Detroit, Michigan

It was August, 1951, and I had just turned 11. My pregnant mother, new stepfather, three year-old sister and I had just returned from a trip to Scranton, Pennsylvania. My mother noted that I had a fever, but assured me I would feel better in the morning. Climbing the stairs to the bedroom was exhausting and I discovered my aching muscles would not allow me to climb into the upper bunk.

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Robert M. Eiben, MD; 1955; Toomey Pavilion, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Pediatrician Robert M. Eiben recalls his experience working in the respiratory care and rehabilitation center at Toomey Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio:

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