Jun 20 2012

Polio Perspecvtive

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Polio Perspective – January, 2019

Millie Malone Lill, Editor        Wilma Hood, Publisher

In This Issue

Dear Pain

by Donna M. Kidner

Facing Our Fears

 by Kathy Fezza Galletly

Hot Water, Orange Juice and Kids

by Millie Malone Lill 






By Donna M. Kidner 

(Editor’s note:  This was originally published in this newsletter in 2012, but I am reprinting it in memory of of Donna M. Kidner, who left this world on December 25, 2018.  Her pain is now gone.)

First off, this should be sent directly to your “complaint” department, because I have some major “bones to pick” with regard to the way I have been treated and despite numerous attempts to contact your customer service department, little has been resolved.

 On the one hand, some would say you are to be commended because you have been quite consistent over the years we’ve done business together, but let me tell you, I would add that you’ve exceeded any previous notions I may have held about the “product” in question.

 Are you aware of the power you have to completely turn another’s life around, inside and out, sideways, backwards? Do you meet with your collegues, depression, sadness, anxiety, and devise more ways to torment your “victims”? Oh, sorry you must think of us as “customers”.

 Did it ever occur to you that most folks, were it in their power would gladly in a heartbeat put you completely out of business for all ernity?

 I would lead a national campaign to do so, if you would consider allowing me a break in the action long enough to pursue such an worthwhile endeavor.

 But as it is now, most if not all my energy revolves around “survival” and that is a full time job thanks to the likes of ‘you’,

 I do not expect any response as I realize you most likely gained as much pleasure from this litany as you do when you dispense your daily doses. Many others I know share my displeasure and disdain over your existence in our world.

 May someone far stronger than I, find the way to destroy you one day so that we all can live, love, and again contribute and have renewed purpose and a greater quality of life.


unthankfully yours,

 P.S. no need to sign my name, you are fully aware of who I am for we have “spoken” often, have we not?


Facing Our Fears

by Kathy Fezza Galletly

As a polio survivor I was taught not to be afraid of anything “Don’t be a cry baby’’was something that was told to me for as long as I can remember. I was six years old when I was taken from my parents and put in an ambulance screaming in terror, when I didn’t stop screaming I was slapped by the ambulance attendant. That stopped my screaming.

While I was quarantined in the hospital I started crying for my parents, I was told if I didn’t stop crying I would be punished and wouldn’t be allowed to see my parents. That stopped my crying. Terrified that I would never see my parents again I became the star patient. Enduring torturous therapy and wearing a heavy steel brace around my upper body I never screamed or complained, and I sure as hell didn’t cry. I was always the happy smiling disabled child. I became a Stepford Polio.

When I first came home from the hospital I spent some time in a wheelchair, but since my upper body was more affected, I had to stay in the upper body brace continuing to go for physical therapy twice a week, and exercising every day after school. My brace was removed when I was eleven .From that day on I made up my mind I was going to be normal. No one would ever abuse me again and no one would ever see me cry or see my fear. I never got the use of my right arm and hand back and I walked with a slight limp but somehow I was going to be normal. So in order to compensate I became this super A personality I took care of everyone I came in contact with, plus I would work twelve hour days and then come home and took care of my house and family. I couldn’t stop because if I did I would be disabled and someone would abuse me again.

Then it happened- post polio! Now as an adult, not only did I have to deal with the physical aspects of post polio, the braces, the wheelchairs, losing strength in parts of my body that I thought were not affected. I had to deal with a terrified six year old child that I kept hidden for over forty years. As I got weaker I began to have nightmares. I would dream about a little girl who was being kidnapped. I started to have panic attacks. I would make appointments to have physical therapy and then cancel them. I refused to do what I had to do to feel better. For someone who was who was so overly responsible, when it came time to take care of myself I became a child and couldn’t do it; that’s when I finally realized that I needed professional help-and that I had to deal with that frightened six year old child. I knew I could not face that little girl alone.

It has taken much therapy and I’m not always smiling. I have given up my title of a Stepford polio, and am finally facing my fears and that terrified six year old little girl has finally found a safe place-she is fading into the past where she belongs.

(Editor’s note:  I am using an excerpt from my book Hot Water, Orange Juice and Kids instead of a new article this month.  My last surviving brother was diagnosed with cancer on New Year’s Eve and died on Jan. 18.  I am just not able to write anything worthwhile at this point.  I’ll do better next month.)



by Millie Malone Lill

Here is my admittedly simplistic offering of a cure-all for those of us with low tolerance for medications.  Hot water.  Soak in it, dry off with a nice fluffy towel and put on a warm robe and slippers.  Then pour a cup of hot water and dip a tea bag in it.  Add lemon and/or sugar or maybe some honey to soothe a scratchy throat.  Curl up with a good book in front of the fire or use your imagination, as I do, and curl up in front of a roaring VCR.  Sip the hot tea and relax.  If you have pain, I suggest a good comedy in that VCR or if you prefer a book, I heartily recommend Dave Barry.  It is almost impossible to perceive pain when you are laughing.

Orange juice.  Look at its golden color: sunshine in a glass.  Taste it.  Lovely.  And all that vitamin C and potassium as a bonus.  Extra fluids are good if you have a cold.  And if you don’t have a cold in this weather, you just aren’t trying.  I know, some people can’t tolerate the acid in orange juice, and I feel sorry for them, as I think orange juice is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  In a pinch, one could substitute apple juice.  It also has potassium and probably some vitamin C as well, but the color and texture aren’t as satisfying.

Kids.  I recommend that you always keep one of these handy creatures around the house.  They make good slaves if you catch them young enough.  A small child, while being extremely decorative, is also handy for the little jobs of “please-could-you-get-Grandma-a-Kleenex,” and even the smaller, less trainable variety make good lapwarmers.  I find a soft hug and jelly kiss to be very effective pain relievers, too.  It’s very hard to concentrate on how miserable you feel if you are in the process of telling a story to a preschooler or listening to an older child’s version of what an ogre his teacher is, or explaining why your hair is different colors in different places on your head to a curious three-year-old.  Also, children have a way of putting things in perspective.  I remember a time when I had broken my leg and was in a wheelchair and at the same time suffering from laryngitis.  My little granddaughter said, “Poor Granny.  You broke your leg and now your throat is broke, too.”  I told her, “Yes, Granny is such a mess, you had just as well toss her out and get a new Granny.”  “Oh, no,” she said, taking my face between her soft little hands.  “There’s still such a lot left!”  Well, of course there is.  How foolish of me to think a broken leg and a broken throat were the end of the world.  Even had I stayed in the wheelchair permanently, as many polio survivors have had to do, it wouldn’t be so tragic.

So my advice for the remainder of the winter is to stock up on hot water, orange juice and kids and stay inside and keep warm.



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A Little Bit of Humor

An old physician, Doctor Geezer, became very bored in retirement and decided to re-open a medical clinic.   He put a sign up outside that said: “Dr. Geezer’s clinic. Get your treatment for $500 – if not cured, get back $1,000.”

 Doctor Digger Young, who was positive that this old geezer didn’t know beans about medicine, thought this would be a great opportunity to get $1,000. So he went to Dr. Geezer’s clinic.

Dr. Young: “Dr. Geezer, I have lost all taste in my mouth. Can you please help me?”

Dr. Geezer: “Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dr. Young’s mouth.”

Dr.  Young:  “Aaagh! — This is Gasoline!”

Dr. Geezer: “Congratulations!You’ve got your taste back. That will be $500.”

 Dr.Young gets annoyed and goes back after a couple of days figuring to recover his money.

Dr.Young: “I have lost my memory, I cannot remember anything.”

Dr. Geezer: “Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient’s mouth.”

Dr. Young: “Oh, no you don’t — that’s Gasoline!”

Dr. Geezer: “Congratulations! You’ve got your memory back. That will be $500.”

Dr.Young (after having lost $1000) leaves angrily and comes back after several more days.

 Dr. Young: “My eyesight has become weak — I can hardly see anything!

Dr. Geezer: “Well, I don’t have any medicine for that so here’s your $1000 back” (giving him a $10 bill).

 Dr. Young: “But this is only $10!”

Dr.Geezer: “Congratulations! You got your vision back! That will be $500.”Moral of story -Just because you’re “Young” doesn’t mean that you can outsmart an old Geezer. Remember: Don’t make old people mad. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to tick us off. ENJOY YOUR DAY!!!

7 Responses to “Polio Perspecvtive”

  1. Thomas Christian says:

    Ole better git a hearing ade?

  2. ruth says:

    thanks for this news letter. My sister is having the same feeling of when she had polio at 6. I am helping her learn what could be happening. thanks for this as the doctor is not talking about it.

  3. Millie Lill says:

    Ruth, read all you can online and I also suggest that you join one of the Facebook polio sites. You can learn a lot from those of us who have been there and done that.

  4. Hilary Boone says:

    Why do we still have so much hassle trying to get decent medical care. Sharing experiences really does help us realise ‘It’s not just me’ which slightly lessens the frustration and stress. Millie as usual you have done a great job.

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