In my opinion, I loved the book. It was one I would have NEVER GRABBED OFF THE SHELF. But guess what? I am pretty glad that someone in our group knew Peg Kehret and recommended it, because it made me think about how polio affected people so many years ago. I have seen stories of the iron lung where polio patients stay in to help them breath, but Peg Kehret description of what she went through made it very real. She also shared a story about a boy Tommie, who was in one of these iron lungs.
We talked about since 1979, the western hemisphere has been without a polio case, but how countries in the middle east are being affected. November 30, 2013 NBCNews posted an article about 13 children having polio in Syria. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/60-years-iron-lung-us-polio-survivor-worries-about-new-2D11641456
Martha Ann Lillard, now 65 is quoted in the article
"If my mother would have had the opportunity to give me the vaccine, she would have done that,” says Lillard, who was a kindergartner in 1953 when she woke up with a sore throat that quickly progressed to something much worse — a life-threatening infection with polio virus. “To let somebody go through what I went through and what other children went through. What if people had to do that again? It would be just unbelievable.”
Published by WHO organization in the middle of November
"Seven countries and territories are holding mass polio vaccination campaigns with further extensive campaigns planned for December targeting 22 million children. In a joint resolution all countries of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region have declared polio eradication to be an emergency and called on Pakistan to urgently access and vaccinate all of its children to stem the international spread of its viruses."
Seven countries will work to immunize children through WHO and Unicef in December. What an undertaking this must be, but to read what Peg wrote in this book, it would quickly become a fear not only in the Middle East, but world wide.
We reflected on what we had for immunization years ago. One person said the whole area was immunized. They had three different times of immunization. I found some Minnesota history at the MN Dept of Health. The first Salk vaccination was May 20, 1955 to 1st and 2nd graders, only 112,000 given to students in Mpls, St. Paul, Duluth and Rochester. This site also shows data charts about the virus which is interesting. http://www.health.state.mn.us/library/dhsjournals/Chapter3.pdf
We talked about how children at that time, were treated differently then we do now. They were told about their diagnosis, and like Peg, were very, very scared. Parents weren't there with their children because of how contagious it was. Peg's parents were wonderful to connect with the girls in Peg's room. Sad that they were so far from home and didn't get visitors often, but that is how times were. We also talked about when Peg got back home someone commented about how their hair looked so bad, and Peg's thoughts were far from how her hair looked. Life's perspective had changed.
We liked Dr. Bevis. In the Epilogue of the Anniversary edition, published 10 years after her book, she shared that she was able to get in touch with Dr. Bevis. We felt that Dr. Bevis believing that Peg will walk again gave her the hope to drive her to walk again.
In the anniversary edition of the book, Peg Kehret has written "More About Polio." She shared that March of Dimes started in 1938 by then President Franklin Roosevelt to combat polio.
Life has changed our world as many people died and were affected by polio. Having this eradicated disease return is a scary prospect that many who suffered years ago and to this day with Post-polio syndrome hoped never to hear of again.
Great book, would highly recommend it!