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Post-Polio Health (ISSN 1066-5331)

Vol. 29, No. 1, Winter 2013

On Losing A Polio Mom

Audrey King, MA, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When you are a child you think like a child, like the 9-year-old I was.
Boxed in an iron lung – trapped in a bed, the horror of food at mealtimes, resolving not to cry during therapy, saying goodbye yet again to those who mattered most. Those were the day-to-day dramas that filled my head. There were also joys: getting up first time in a wheelchair, a picnic with parents, floating to that sweet spot in the therapy pool where staff couldn’t reach me – such a powerful surge of pleasure, a momentary autonomy.

I didn’t think about survival or walking again, about the weight of lost dreams, life-long responsibility and dependence. I was but a child.

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