Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thank You, Dr. Salk

Today's Doodle on Google honors Dr. Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine...
I owe him a big THANK YOU!
From 10/28/14 Google Doodles

My father contracted polio in September 1951 and suffered the aftereffects from it for the rest of his life. Because of the complications that came with contracting polio (paralysis, difficulty breathing, etc.), my dad spent time in an iron lung at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in California. The iron lung was a cylinder shaped machine that helped him to breathe. Without the aid of the iron lung, few people with severe forms of polio would have survived.

This photograph was used in National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis
 and March of Dimes publicity.

Once my father came home, my mom had to lift and carry him during his recovery time. My mom did all of this while caring for two toddlers. My dad had to learn to walk again and spent years relearning to walk without the aid of crutches, but eventually lost both legs below the knees and spent his later years confined to a wheelchair. My aunt and one of my sisters contracted a lesser case of polio and recovered without some of the severe complications my father and others dealt with. Because of Dr. Salk's vaccine, my children and their children don't have to suffer the way my dad did.

Polio can easily spread from person to person because it is highly contagious. The virus resides in the intestinal tract and mucus in the nose and throat. The virus can be spread by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the polio virus and is commonly found in sewage water. This is probably why my sisters and I were told to never play in the gutter water on our street out of fear we'd catch it from contaminated water. It is also spread by touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated and then placing the hand in the mouth. Less commonly, but possible, polio can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, like when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

Minor symptoms of polio are fever, muscle pain, stomach pain, but in some cases severe paralysis occurs (which happened to my father.) Approximately 95 percent of the people who get the virus will have no symptoms, but can still transmit the virus and cause polio in those around them.

It must have been so scary for my family and everyone else during that time!

Once again, Thank You Dr. Salk for finding a vaccine that stopped this!

If my dad hadn't survived polio, I wouldn't be here. 

23 comments:

  1. Great story! And aren't we all lucky he survived!? Thanks Dr Salk!

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  2. I know I am very grateful for Dr Salk. Love Ya!

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  3. Carol,I am so sorry that your father went through this. I honestly didn't know about how easily this was spread. I am so very thankful for all the people that have found cures for the horrible things in our lives. Someday I hope someone will find a cure for cancer. I have lost too many friends and loved ones from this disease. Take care.

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  4. How very difficult this had to be for your Dad and your family. I remember getting the polio shot as a kid and soon thereafter, it was switched to a sugar cube with the medicine in it. Much easier. I'm grateful to all who pioneer in the medical field to wipe out disease and illness. We have a long way to go, but any victory is progress.

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  5. I remember my parents being so terrified that we would contract polio and we were the first in line to get our sugar cubes.

    My mom is a paraplegic and we have encountered many post polio syndrome patients in her many stays in rehab facilities. The after polio symptoms are dramatic so I can imagine what your family and your father went through. THANK YOU Sr. Salk.

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  6. I too thank Dr. Salk. In 1955 my Dad contracted polio, ended up in an iron lung and died all in the same week. I am so grateful that so many did survive and even more grateful that Dr. Salk stopped polio.

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  7. What a heart felt story. I knew people with polio but never anything about the disease itself. Thanks for the class. So glad your dad and other members of your family were survivors.

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  8. what a sentimental journey...so glad he survived....look how much joy you brought to our world

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  9. Oh Carol I am very touched by your personal story. I know several men who had childhood polio and suffer its after-effects the remainder of their lives. Thank you Dr. Salk. Bless you for sharing.

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  10. I have been a pediatric RN for over 20 years. It's so nice to hear a "thank you" and other encouraging words in regards to vaccines. Thank YOU for sharing your family's story.

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  11. Thank you for sharing, Carol. Those of us who lived during the awful polio scare will always be thankful to Dr. Salk. I often wonder how current parents can make a decision not to have their children vaccinated. My parents had 6 children and our home was surrounded by polio. My 18 month old cousin who lived across the street came down with a major case of polio. The next door neighbor also got polio at the same time and spent months and months in an iron lung - he was 11. Two brothers whose family lived behind us also had milder cases of the virus. I know that it was a scarey time for everyone but it wasn't until I had my own children that I realized how nerve-wracking it must have been for my parents. Thank God and Dr. Salk.

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  12. I saw that on Google and had no idea what it was. Thank you for the information and taking me through your dad's journey. You ARE a blessing and I'm grateful for Dr Salk.

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  13. I lived in a great kid-filled neighborhood until I was 7. I recall a little girl a few houses down from us who had polio. We were just told she had to go to the hospital and that she was there for a long time. When she came home she had heavy metal braces on her legs and used crutches. We would all go to her house to play and invented a ton of games that didn't require a lot of walking or any kind of running, so she could join us. We had no idea, at the time, what she had gone through. I still remember the party her parents had for her when she came home. Now I realize the horrible time they lived through while their baby was in an iron lung.
    So glad your dad survived!

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  14. Rosemary B here:
    ^As everyone else has stated, this is quite a story. Not everyone had an easy life. Your dad endured suffering and gained great courage. God Bless him.
    We are so fortunate today for so many medical advances. I remember getting the polio vaccine, I still have the mark on my butt.
    It is incredible to think about the trials our parents and their parents went through and the miracle it is that we are here today, Carol.
    <3 <3

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  15. Thank you for sharing your story and the article on Polio. Now with this new virus, that is effecting children, I am praying for quick discovery for the cause and a cure.

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  16. I had polio in1950 at the age of 5. After 41/2 months in the hospital, I returned home with a heavy brace and crutches. The hospital was 200 miles from my home and my parents weren't allowed to visit for the first two weeks. My mom would come and watch me through a window, but I never knew she was there.

    As a teacher, I always smiled when students would ask why I wore that thing on my leg. I would tell them that I had polio as a little girl and then they asked what is polio. I smiled because their parents never worried for their children. It is amazing to me that some parents make the choice of not vaccinating.

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  17. I am so sorry to hear that your father and your family had to go through such a horrible disease. I am very happy that he survived. I got to know you!

    -Soma

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  18. Carol, I didn't know polio was that close generationally. What a trial. I appreciate hearing the the effects of vaccines. Thank you for sharing. So glad you are here.

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  19. Such a fitting tribute! We had a family member that had polio as a child and it does have such devastating long term effects...it weakens the immune system as well....in a world of the turning on vacinations...not condemning here either, but diseases like this can again become a concern...Thank goodness there is a proven solution for this particular illness that has held the test of time in prevention...worth giving at least this vaccination a second look if you lean toward not vacinating....I would at least choose this one.

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  20. Thanks for sharing your story Carol...I learned a lot about this terrible disease...especially how easily it was spread!! So glad your Dad was a survivor and had a sweet little daughter named Carol...who inspire us with each blog posting!! Love the picture of you and your Dad. Hope you are enjoying your weekend!!

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  21. What a wonderful tribute!! My mom had polio, luckily without the most severe effects, and recovered. But, as a Peace Corps volunteer, I regularly saw people who had been devastated by this disease. Dr. Salk truly is a hero. Vaccines save lives!!!

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