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Novel Research: Caring for Polio Patients

Tall and Proud book
The book that inspired it all.

I’ve enjoyed exploring YouTube for research information for my #WWII #HistoricalFiction novel in progress. Laurie Adams is a feisty sixteen-year-old who has her life planned. She’s going to retrain retired cavalry horses with her new stepmother. But sometimes life has different plans, and what we want isn’t necessarily what we need. Laurie’s blindsided when she contract polio.

Now she must fight for her health in hopes of reaching her dream.

Enjoy this video of a nurse caring for a polio patient. Laurie’s condition isn’t this severe, but it does put life into perspective when you see what some patients so bravely endured and conquered.

7 thoughts on “Novel Research: Caring for Polio Patients

  1. Tish,
    This video was very informative, and yet painful, to watch. What those polio patients endured! I noticed that at about :51, you said the patients were covered with a plastic blanket, but twice in the fourth minute, you stated that they didn’t have plastic yet at that time. I mention that only because appreciate your research to avoid anachronisms–I also think that is extremely important in historical fiction. I can’t give you exact minute and second times, because when I watched this, the video and audio didn’t match up perfectly–the video got ahead of the audio about half-way through, and the audio lasted a minute longer than the video. Very interesting! ‘Sure makes me grateful for advances in immunization, medicine, and physical therapy!

    1. Linda,
      I agree, it’s very painful, and many polios didn’t want to talk about it after they learned to live different lives.
      Some, though, have talked to me about their experiences, for which I’m grateful.
      Thank you for bringing the issue of plastic coverings to my attention.
      I just love the technology of old videos. 🙂
      This video possibly is from the 1950s 0r 60s when they did have plastic coverings.
      However, I’m writing in the 1940s when they used wool coverings.

  2. I have to wonder what polio was in reality. There’s been research to indicate that FDR actually had an autoimmune disorder. We rarely hear of this happening now. So what is it the medical community isn’t telling us? Consumption is now labeled as Typhus, and is all but unheard of now.

    1. Hi, horsemom96,
      What were you referring to when you wrote, “We rarely hear of this happening now”? I’m a researcher/writer and consultant to researcher/writers with 19 years of experience in education and research in a college/hospital setting. I’m enjoying following Tish, and I hope I can answer some of your questions/wonderings. 🙂 The virus that causes polio was identified in 1908. Today the diagnosis is confirmed via lab work, but that wasn’t done for FDR, in fact, his doctors disagreed about this diagnosis. Polio is rare now. Jonas Salk and his team developed the vaccine in 1952, a year in which almost 60,000 cases of polio were reported in the US. By the mid-1960s, outbreaks had been cut 97%. Autoimmune disorders, however, have been on the increase. I don’t know if there are more cases, or more accurate diagnoses, but they appear to be very common. Just among my immediate acquaintances, three friends have been diagnosed with lupus, one friend has celiac disease, and one client has Grave’s disease.

      I think consumption is now identified as tuberculosis, not typhus. Tuberculosis is very uncommon in the US, but common in the rest of the world. It is contagious, but “hard to catch.” Before it was discovered that typhoid is a bacterial disease often found in contaminated food or water and that typhus is a group of bacterial diseases typically carried from animals by lice, fleas, and ticks, people commonly and incorrectly used the terms interchangeably, or called both of them typhoid. I have seen that mistake in early American literature. With knowledge that supports prevention and antibiotics if someone does get one of those diseases, they are all very uncommon now. Isn’t that a blessing?

      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply. The information you provided is very helpful and I appreciate your contribution to this blog.

  3. I’ve heard that, too, about FDR; some say he had Guillian Barre. As for the diseases that are no longer around, I don’t know what to say to that. (If only I were a smart person in the medical field.) I’m thankful we don’t have them, though.

  4. Yeah, when I said typhus I had a feeling it was the wrong name. Thanks. I just meant the term polio was not something you hear about these days.

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