SAPP Saskatchewan Awareness of Post Polio Society Inc.


DON'S STORY


Date of Birth - July 1939

I was helping my father hay and developed a severe headache in August of 1953. The headache was so severe that I was in bed for three days and the family doctor was consulted. He must have suspected polio as he did a spinal tap. That relieved the headache but then I was unable to swallow, fluids ran out of my nose and I was not trying to eat solids. All my body started to stiffen and, the doctor decided I should go to St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon. So my father and uncle took me in by car. It was an agonizing trip that I will never forget.

I remember very little of the next three weeks, visitors were not allowed and my family was given very little information. I do know that they used hot packs on my extremities. They must have done a procedure similar to a tracheotomy so I could breathe but only know I came home with a scar that I had not previously had. When I left St. Paul's Hospital, I went to the rehab unit at the Airport where the physiotherapists worked with me, teaching exercises to do at home. I recall only being able to eat soup for a long time after getting home. I missed six months of schooling and I would be walking across the yard and would frequently fall due to muscular weakness. Gradually things returned to normal and we thought I was a lucky one recovering so well from polio.

My lifestyle would have been considered normal,always doing physical labor, until 1992. At this time I was a long haul truck driver, I found muscle weakness increasing rapidly plus extreme fatigue being the order of the day. This probably was a gradual onset but seemed to be only noticed suddenly. I had to quit my job as my muscular weakness would have interfered with doing my work safely. I had noticed I was having more aches and pains, but I was getting older!

Although I do pace activities, I am noting a gradual deterioration but mostly in the chest and throat at night, so have to sleep elevated in bed. Breathing is becoming more difficult as time passes but is not related to specific activities, etc. Activity has become more difficult due to the deterioration of the spine/hip area, reflected with increased weakness and pain.
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