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My post-polio patient

Posted

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

I had a delightful patient the other day with post-polio syndrome. She has vivid memories a being in an iron lung. She got polio when she was 1 1/2 years old, and was in an iron lung for 2 years. She remembers people dying, many of the people in iron lungs ended up dead. She recalls the big room full of other patients.

She had to have multiple surgeries to correct physical problems from atrophy while she was in the iron lung. It took her years to learn to walk. Her mother wasn't able to visit often because of other children in the house. She said she was paralyzed and knew nothing else, so doesn't feel like she was traumatized by something that sounds so horrible and surreal to all of us.

It's obvious that the nurses and caregivers did a nurturing job with her, because she was obviously a well adjusted lady, with a marvelous intellect. She went on to marry, have one daughter, divorce, and have a dynamic career.

'Coincidentally', polio thankfully disappeared shortly after the vaccination the population on a large scale.

GrumpyRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 39 years experience.

Interesting, remember when I was a boy there were always children about with calipers after having polio. They just "got on with it" as they had no choice in those days. There was always talk of the iron lungs and the children who were in them. My mother made sure we were always up to date with vaccinations (mid 1950's).

I know of only one person now who had had polio, in his 70's now, fully mobile but still requires some kind of caliper and a stick to walk.

I knew about post viral fatigue and other problems but had never heard of post-polio syndrome before. Does not bode well for younger people who contract the latest virus when they get older.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

I'm here on this earth because of polio. My birth mother graduated from UC Berkeley. Her Aunt Connie, who was age wise more of a cousin, contracted polio. My mother went to upstate New York to care for Connie's 3 children while she recovered.

After Connie recovered, Hoppo (my birth mother) went to NYC to be a roommate to her college friend Clare in Greenwich Village and met my handsome father, who was a captain in the Airforce at the time. And, here I am.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Grumpy - you did it! Made me look up 'calipers'! I knew the kind how to measure EKG rhythm strips. So I had to Google. Guessing it's some kind of leg brace.

Was that what young Forrest Gump wore?

GrumpyRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 39 years experience.

7 hours ago, amoLucia said:

... Guessing it's some kind of leg brace.

Was that what young Forrest Gump wore?

Exactly, there were always children around in the 1950's and 1960's with these on their legs. I wonder if it was a Scottish term rather than the correct name.

After a quick Google it appears calipers is a British term for leg braces.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

I'm a libertarian about vaccines, but I think those who buy into the conspiracy theories about them are woefully ignorant about the diseases they have virtually eliminated.

McDonald's, Burger King, Pepsi and Coke are the real destroyers of health, certainly not vaccines.

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience.

As a midwife, I took care of a pregnant woman from Bangladesh who got polio as a child and had a basically deformed pelvis as a result. She walked with a walker and had a scheduled c-section because of the deformity. She was just about the most cheerful patient I've ever met, made me humbled and grateful to have access to vaccines.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

LibraSun - TY for the reminder, humbled & grateful, as you say. And blessed for our vaccine access

Grumpy - 'caliper' was the term.

Edited by amoLucia

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

My first "job" as a "nurse" was to help my Dad with the mass community polio vaccine distributions in 1961(?) when I was around 6 years old.

1. I wouldspread the sugar cubes out on a tray.

2. Then my Dad (physician) would put a drop of the bright red vaccine on it.

3. People would line up and I would go up and down the line, distributing information handouts and telling them that I had already taken mine and it didn't taste too bad. "That is what the sugar is for."

4. I would also tell them that if they had any questions, they could ask the nurse or my Dad who manned the table and had them sign a form.

5. We did this on 4 consecutive Sunday mornings to catch people/families coming home from church. We would set up in the lobby of different schools around the county to try to give everyone a chance to come and get the vaccine.

6. I didn't earn any money, but I got to miss Sunday School and hang out with Dad. I also got to eat a few sugar cubes (without vaccine of course).

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

llg - I remember standing in line for the sugar cubes, too. And 1961ish sounds right.

When one remembers that FDR was a post polio survivor, it is a stark contrasting reminder to watch DJT on the golf course. As I recall, FDR was RARELY photographed standing. It's amazing to realize how far healthcare has progressed in some areas.

But then also, when HC science/technology has advanced, it must be incumbent upon folk to embrace it.

For anyone interested, Wikipedia has an interesting entry of the early polio vax.

Edited by amoLucia

LibraSunCNM, MSN

Specializes in OB. Has 10 years experience.

1 hour ago, llg said:

My first "job" as a "nurse" was to help my Dad with the mass community polio vaccine distributions in 1961(?) when I was around 6 years old.

1. I wouldspread the sugar cubes out on a tray.

2. Then my Dad (physician) would put a drop of the bright red vaccine on it.

3. People would line up and I would go up and down the line, distributing information handouts and telling them that I had already taken mine and it didn't taste too bad. "That is what the sugar is for."

4. I would also tell them that if they had any questions, they could ask the nurse or my Dad who manned the table and had them sign a form.

5. We did this on 4 consecutive Sunday mornings to catch people/families coming home from church. We would set up in the lobby of different schools around the county to try to give everyone a chance to come and get the vaccine.

6. I didn't earn any money, but I got to miss Sunday School and hang out with Dad. I also got to eat a few sugar cubes (without vaccine of course).

That's amazing! Can you imagine such a thing nowadays?

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

2 hours ago, LibraSunCNM said:

That's amazing! Can you imagine such a thing nowadays?

I guess I can imagine it ... but I don't believe it would happen in real life. Today there would be all kinds of complications that wouldn't let such a simple, straightforward approach be attempted.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

On 7/31/2020 at 9:19 AM, amoLucia said:

llg - I remember standing in line for the sugar cubes, too. And 1961ish sounds right.

When one remembers that FDR was a post polio survivor, it is a stark contrasting reminder to watch DJT on the golf course. As I recall, FDR was RARELY photographed standing. It's amazing to realize how far healthcare has progressed in some areas.

But then also, when HC science/technology has advanced, it must be incumbent upon folk to embrace it.

For anyone interested, Wikipedia has an interesting entry of the early polio vax.

It's actually now believed in many quarters that FDR suffered Guillain-Barre, not polio.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

16 hours ago, Emergent said:

It's actually now believed in many quarters that FDR suffered Guillain-Barre, not polio.

TY. Interesting to know. My next 'look-it-up' endeavor.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

I remember standing in line to get my sugar cube Polio vaccine (live virus) at High school near my grandmothers home - I was 6 in 1961. Other than tetanus, it was the only vaccine I received as a child till the flu vaccine as young adult.

What a sugar cube can teach us as we develop a coronavirus vaccine

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/23/opinions/polio-sugar-cube-coronavirus-vaccine-kinch/index.html

Pictures of leg braces/ calipers/ Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis =KAFO used for post-polio syndrome, partial paralyis and spina bifida today

https://www.Google.com/search?q=polio+leg+braces&client=firefox-b-1-d&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=h0BK9iGdrQxAJM%2CtJ-68K5H479ClM%2C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSTK5jLRQYO2oj7tm_8Lan1VblRXA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiJhPhyoPrAhVlTt8KHQgRDiEQ9QEwA3oECAcQMg&biw=1649&bih=834#imgrc=h0BK9iGdrQxAJM

GrumpyRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 39 years experience.

4 hours ago, NRSKarenRN said:

I remember standing in line to get my sugar cube Polio vaccine (live virus) at High school near my grandmothers home - I was 6 in 1961. Other than tetanus, it was the only vaccine I received as a child till the flu vaccine as young adult.

What a sugar cube can teach us as we develop a coronavirus vaccine

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/23/opinions/polio-sugar-cube-coronavirus-vaccine-kinch/index.html

Pictures of leg braces/ calipers/ Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis =KAFO used for post-polio syndrome, partial paralyis and spina bifida today

https://www.Google.com/search?q=polio+leg+braces&client=firefox-b-1-d&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=h0BK9iGdrQxAJM%2CtJ-68K5H479ClM%2C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSTK5jLRQYO2oj7tm_8Lan1VblRXA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiJhPhyoPrAhVlTt8KHQgRDiEQ9QEwA3oECAcQMg&biw=1649&bih=834#imgrc=h0BK9iGdrQxAJM

Interesting read. We are exactly the same age so our experience of the sugar cube is the same. 😂

I don't remember getting other vaccines (except smallpox and BCG) because I had had mumps, measles and rubella, that's what happened in the 1950's and 60's. Interestingly when I started nurse training in the 1980's I had to have a vaccination against rubella even though I told them I had had the disease and I promised not to get pregnant.😜

In UK vaccines were seen as mandatory, you really needed a good excuse not to give your children them and I don't recall any parent refusing vaccines until that idiot and charlatan Wakefield came along. (Sorry, don't want to turn this into a discussion on antivaxxers.)

That is pretty much the Google search I did for calipers. really takes me back to my boyhood.👍