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It was the summer of 1950

It was the summer of 1950, about the 10th of June as I recall. It was one of those hot muggy summer days that hang on you like wet clothing. The three of us kids were anxious for mom to come home, because we wanted to go swimming in our favorite lake, Tosier lake. Besides, it was Friday and we knew that mom would not have to work tomorrow, so there'd be no excuses for not going swimming.

4:30 pm and Mom drove into the yard right on time. By 4:25 we were all in our swimming suits and sitting in the car, anxiously awaiting mom. Then off we went for an hour of swimming and water fun at Tosier Lake.

My cousin Billy, like a big brother, who at 12 years old looked after my sister Susan, 4 years old, and me a mere 6 years old. I really loved him. He taught me how to bat and throw a baseball, catch frogs and get the dog to chase his tail. We were best bud's and I thought he was way cool.

swimming never lasted long enough, so when we left the lake and headed home we were anxious to go again the next day. Mom said sure if the weather was warm enough. So we headed home happily thinking about the next swimming day.

It was that night after supper that I hear my mom and my Granny talking in the kitchen. Granny was telling Mom that there were 4 new cases of Polio in town. The looks on their faces were concerned and grim. I knew right away that tomorrow might be the last day of swimming for us for quite awhile. I knew that when Polio was around that people stayed home and avoided crowds and gatherings of people. There was no cure for Polio in those days, no shot or pill that could protect you. I knew that sometimes people died from it and sometimes, even when the didn't die they were crippled the rest of their by it.

We did go swimming the next day but I could see that Mom was not comfortable with us being at the beach and it is not surprising to me now that she took us home after only 30 minutes of swimming.

For the next two weeks we didn't get to go swimming. It was clear that the summer of 1950 was going to be another big Polio summer, just as we had been experiencing since 1946.

Then suddenly, without warning, both my sister and I became sick and in two days my cousin also. We had high fevers, achy joints and were just generally miserable. After 3 days of all of us being sick the Dr, a new young doctor from Chicago, told Mom, Granny and Grandpa that we had polio.

He was most concerned about my fever of 104 and asked if there was anyway that we could get ice. Now remember that most people had "ice boxes" in those days not refrigerators. Grandpa said sure. The ice house in town would have large blocks of ice covered with saw dust and that he could get some. The Dr told my folks that he expected the fevers to go higher and that we would need to be packed head neck and chest in ice to keep the fevers down.

The Dr was right in 48 hours, my fever was crowding 105 and I was seeing things, dark figures at the foot of the bed. These visions caused me to be afraid to sleep. My sister's fever hit 104.4 and my cousin, like me hit 105.

For 3 weeks we had high fevers. For three weeks my grandpa made 4 trips a day to the ice house to get a big block of ice and a bag of saw dust. For 3 weeks, my parents chipped ice by hand from those big blocks and packed each of us to keep our fevers down. Slowly in week 4 our fevers went under 103 and now the worry was would we be paralyzed?

My parents asked the Dr what about paralysis, what can be done?

The Dr. told them that the only thing that he had learned to do was taught him by an Australian Nun who had, had success treating the Aborigines that had contracted Polio. She used alternating Hot and Cold bathes every hour to relax and to stimulate the muscles and better tan 90% of them had avoided being crippled when they recovered.

For the next 6 weeks, Grandpa, Granny and Mom gave the children alternating Hot and cold bathes every hour 24 hours a day And they prayed!

Grandpa was still making 3 trips a day to the ice house and we were all still being packed in ice. But we all got bathed every hour for those 6 weeks, even though having hot water meant that the wood burning stove in our farmhouse kitchen had to have a fire in it all day and night, in spite of the hot humid summer. You see we only had cold running water in the house. To have hot water we had to put 4 or 5 pails of water into a big copper boiler that sat on top of the wood burning stove and heat it up for bathes.

It was Monday or Tuesday of the 6th week when my sister's fever broke. Mine broke the next day. My cousin's fever broke on Friday night.

On Saturday, we were all "out of the woods" as the doctor put it.

I am happy too tell you that none of us had any crippling affect from out Polio encounter, but so that you understand how frightening this disease was during those summers I want you to know the rest of the story.

During that summer and within 10 miles in all directions from our family farm there were 36 children that came down with Polio. When that summer ended, 22 children were dead, 11 were crippled to varying degrees and only 3 came through it with no after affects. Those three children were my cousin my sister and me.

There is good reason to believe that the final seminar that our doctor attended before graduating from medical school given by Sister Elizabeth Kinney concerning her success treating Australian aborigines with bathes to avoid the crippling affects of Polio, may have had something to do with our not being crippled. But, it is my firm belief that it was the prayers every night by my mother, Grandfather and Grandmother for the protection of the three sick children upstairs that made all the difference in the world. Every night after supper, these three wonderful parents got on their knees and prayed, praising God and asking his protection and healing for their three sick little kids. Every night, no matter how tired they were, no matter how exhausted they became, they prayed. God heard their prayers and answered them and I am whole and well today because of them as is my sister and as was my cousin until the day he went to be with the Lord.

Sister Kinney is listed in medical history as the mother of modern physical therapy. Not only did she bathe the aborigines, but she worked their legs and arms through their full range of motion so that muscles would not stiffen or atrophy. Just as my parents did with us at our Doctor's suggestion.

It should be noted that it would be another 4 years, 1954, before the Saulk Polio vaccine would begin to be available and that the defeat of Polio would begin. Jonas Saulk and the Saulk institute, were successful in developing a highly effective vaccine for Polio. But the AMA and the medical community almost didn't let him use the vaccine, because he was using a dead virus in his vaccine. The AMA and the medical community believed that the virus needed to be alive for people to develop immunity to the disease and in 1956 Dr. Sabin began to provide a oral polio medicine based upon a live virus.

Since that time our knowledge of medicine has increased greatly and a whole new area of medicine called Molecular Biology has emerged. Because of our knowledge today looking back we can say Doctor Saulk was right. Dead virus
was the safest medical approach to a vaccine against Polio.

Today, both the oral vaccine, Dr. Sabin's live virus, and the vacination, Dr. Saulk's dead virus, are still used to give our babies immunity from Polio. But parents who give their children the oral vaccine should know that for 30 days after the oral dose is given the parents are at risk of exposure to Polio, the live virus, whenever they change their child's diapers. Each year about 30 adult cases of Polio per 150,000 orally vacinated children occur. There are no known cases of adult polio associated with Dr. Saulk's dead virus vacination.

I tell this story today because I honor my mother, grandmother and grandfather who for one challenging and fightening summer waged war with this disease and by calling upon our heavenly Father won that battle with His help.

I also tell this story so that people will know that Jonas Saulk, Doctor and research scientist, father of molecular biology, extraordinary individual should be remembered for his great contribution to medical science and the peace of mind of parents all over the world.

Thank you Jesus for my parents. Give them all a hug today in heaven and tell them I will see them again.

In His Name and for His Glory

That is an Amazing Story and before my time too.

That is an Amazing Story and before my time too. Thanks for sharing! DeaconBob3, :love: :boy_hug: Bob :thumbs_up

In :love: of JESUS the Christ, Our LORD, the ONLY begotten Son of GOD.
thanks for sharing this wonderful story....
i dont know what polio is for a desease...but it sounds like a somethin bad...
i think the story ushared with us is great cause it shows how fast god can answer prayers...and it also shows that he is always there and protets us..

god bless