A Polio Victim Still
I was only two when this horrible virus swept through the Carolina's. I can remember playing with my cousins on a Sunday afternoon and I can remember getting sick to my stomach. Mom and Dad thought I just had eaten something that did not agree with me and too out the pink stuff out of the cabinet. The next day however, I had a very high fever and had lost the use of my legs. My parents were horrified because the dreaded Polio was in our area. They quickly took me to see my doctor who diagnosed me with Polio. I remember sitting on mom's lap and them discussing what steps would have to be taken. I didn't feel very good but not so bad that I could refuse Dr. Smith's Juicy Fruit Gum he kept in a box on his desk. When we left his office my mom was crying but I didn't know why.
My dad was in the United States Army and it just so happened they had a division in Monroe, N. C. which was very close to us. I'm sure God had a big hand in the recovery I had and scheduling all the therapy at the army hospital. I remember the hot tubs that swirled around and around. I was asked to climb some steps and I can remember not being able to do so. My legs were useless to me. So for months my mother and my grandmother exercised my legs in all sorts of ways. I would lie on my back and look at story books while they moved my legs as if I were riding a bicycle. This went on for a year. Finally they ordered me a pair of white boots that came up to my knees. These were not the normal boots children were wearing for these had steel braces on the inside of them. I didn't mind wearing them but preferred the black patent slippers all the other girls were wearing. Dad promised when the boots came off he would buy me some black slippers. For two years I struggled with this walking issue. Slowly my leg muscles regained some strength and after another year I was able to walk. It was wonderful to be able to walk and play with the other children. I also got my patent leather shoes Dad promised to get me.
All through my school years I was able to do pretty much what all the other students did. I married and had two beautiful children. God has been wonderful to me. He has kept me in the hollow of His mighty hand for so many years. Today I am retired and stay home with my beloved dogs. I thought the problem was over but suddenly I began to have pain in my legs once more. This time I was diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome a disease which follows the actual Polio virus. The virus so damaged my muscles that they cannot continue to maintain the strength they once did. Each year I find they get a little more tired and less strong. I have been to many specialist and they have no cure for Post Polio Syndrome. It appears the nerves in the spine were affected as well and will continue to deteriorate as I get older. I'm so very thankful to Dr. Jonas Salk who discovered the cure for the Polio virus and also Dr. Albert Sabin as well as all the other scientist who have given life and hope to millions of people just like me.
I pray one day soon they will find a cure or treatment for the Post Polio Syndrome as well. Until that time, let's walk hand in hand to see that other people in other countries live free from such devastating viruses that invade our childhood and then return only to complicate our senior years.
About Author / Additional Info:
Sybil Shearin is a international published author, writer and poet from North Carolina. Visit her websites at