Elizabeth Clemson Lounsbury; 1956; London, Ontario, Canada
I often wonder where I would be and what I would be doing if I hadn’t had polio. I know that polio is responsible for my best childhood memories. Each summer I spent three weeks at Woodeden, an Easter Seals Crippled Children’s camp, in London, Ontario, Canada.
I was with others who were going through the same things as I. They understood about being different and alone without friends. At Woodeden, we were more the same than different. I felt accepted, challenged, cared for and, above all, safe.
We had loads of fun on “Reversed Day.” All schedules were backwards. Morning was evening. Breakfast was at 5:00 PM. We wore PJ’s all day.
I had polio at the age of 8. I remember much of what happened. Some say I am lucky to be able to remember; others say I am unlucky. Which I am, I cannot decide. My acute weeks were spent at home being cared for by my mother, because I didn’t have breathing problems.
I had no after care until I was 12. Until that time I was told that I was malingering, making up the pain and weakness, because my mother had rheumatoid arthritis and her pain and inability to do things brought her attention.
I missed a year of schooling but since I had skipped grade three, I was still with my friends. Thanks to a caring school nurse I finally got the help I needed. I started wearing calipers at age 12 and have worn braces since then. My summers were spent having corrective surgeries and going to camp.