Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


David Kelly

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California

It is hard for me to separate what I remember from what I was told by my mom. This photo shows my sister giving me flowers while in the iron lung at Rancho Los Amigos in Downey, California. I don’t remember this moment or much about being in the lung except for the hot packs. I recall the device that looked like a washing machine that they rolled into the room. I remember them running the blankets through the wringer twice and then shaking them a few times before they placed the very hot pieces on my arms and legs. They used the little holes on the side of the lung to reach inside.

It has been suggested that I talk with a professional to help me remember this time in my life. I have decided that I don’t want to recall all the details. I moved on to Casa Colina and then to my stepfather and mother’s home and then home. I rebelled against the school for “crippled children” and went to Van Nuys junior and senior high. I left the acute polio behind me. I prefer to remember the happier times. 


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