Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


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.

We moved to Toledo, Ohio when my father, a civilian employee of the US Army, was transferred. The picture shows me in occupational therapy (OT). My mother walked one mile each way with me for therapy three days a week. After OT I went to physical therapy (PT). I looked forward to that since my therapist was a red head like me who was named Rusty. I walked in full leg braces with crutches in PT. In retrospect, it makes little sense to me since I used then and use now a wheelchair for ambulation, something which was not ever going to change. I was enthusiastic, however, since the manager of a local Woolworth store had promised me he would give me a canary and cage if I could walk into his store. As a 5-year-old, that was a big incentive. I got that canary just before we were transferred again to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where I grew up. I remember that two day train trip with that canary singing all the time. 


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