The Oklahoman just had a really interesting article up on polio support groups in Oklahoma City:
I freely admit to forgetting the real-world side of my research, at times. Especially for diseases like polio, which have been eradicated in my country since before I was born– my study/interest in them is purely academic. Its not ‘real’ anymore– its a very interesting chapter in a history book.
This article was enlightening. Polio is not just something that happened long ago in a galaxy far, far away. There are people who are still suffering from the aftermath of polio infection right here in Oklahoma City. The gentleman they chose to interview for the Oklahoman article, Frank Thurber, is just wonderful– 6’7″, full basketball scholarship for college… and then he got polio.
Six months before the vaccine was released.
God damn… all the kids who got sick right before the vaccine came out…
It was really interesting to read his (obvious) take on the vaccine:
“It would just be criminal not to vaccinate your child in America,” he said.
When the polio vaccination came out, people around the world celebrated.
“I kept thinking, ‘The generations that aren’t going to have to mess with this stuff – isn’t that wonderful? The mothers and fathers that are not going to see their children go through this.’”
And his perspective of the iron lung is something that I had never thought of before. When I see those pictures– row after row of little ones trapped in those iron boxes… terrifying, horrifying… but not to Frank:
The iron lung would help pull a patient’s chest muscles outward, which would help the patient’s ability to breath, Thurber said. It wasn’t painful but actually comfortable.
“When I see an old report on polio, and I see the iron lung, I have a warm feeling for it because it saved my life, as it did millions of others,” Thurber said.
Wow. That is a really positive way to look at things.