Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Polio Lost this Round

Growing up, life wasn’t always easy.  In the fall of 1951, all my brothers and sisters came down with polio.  Most had just slight paralysis, but Ruthie, who had just turned two, had severe paralytic and bulbar polio.  Mom and Daddy rushed her to the Cody Hospital.  Her lungs collapsed and the doctors were sure she would die.  Night and day Mom was at her bedside covering her with prayer, while Daddy kept things going at home.  But Ruthie was tough, and hung on much to the doctor's amazement.  

When she was stable, she was transported to Casper, 200 miles away and because of the collapse of her lungs spent the next several years in an iron lung, first in Casper and then in the Shriner’s hospital in Salt Lake City where she also had a spinal fusion. She is wearing her halo in the picture below.  Finally after eight or nine years, she was able to return home for good.

Between hospital stays, Mom and Dad worked with her to strengthen her muscles, daily doing physical therapy that Sister Kenney had just developed for polio victims.  Dad had a large tub built that looked like a stock tank, it was filled with warm water, and Mom who learned the therapy, (there were no home health nurses or physical therapists) would faithfully help Ruthie do the exercises day after day.

Medicine has made so many advances since that time.  I am thankful for all hours that have gone into finding cures, or vaccines.  I am also thankful for the work of the Shriners.  We had no money, nor insurance, but my sister was afforded the best of care.


1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)
I make all my cards, and am planning on sending out about 25.  I usually hang the ones I get on my fake mantle, or around my hall mirror.
2. When do kids become adults?
When they don't borrow money anymore.
3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?
Well, seeing that I only use soap and water and moisture cream on my face.  It pretty well stays the same.  You just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear (as my Daddy used to say)
4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?
Oysters, all seafood,
5. Gloves or mittens?
Gloves for driving, mittens for playing outside--the fingers play nice and keep each other warm.
6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?
About the only queue I get tangled up in is the one at airport security.  Frustrating, but very worth it when I am finally on my way.
7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to in the month of December?
Being able to sit outside during the day and not get hot.  Those 70's are great.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I have enjoyed the month of thankfulness.  It was good to stop and think of all the things that the Lord has provided that I take for granted.


  1. So what is the rest of the story - how are your brothers and sisters today

  2. The rest of the story--Ruthie lived until she was 19 and then went home to heaven. Oldest brother, one leg about 1" shorter than other, other brother slight face paralysis. The rest of them no lingering problems. I was fortunate and didn't contract polio.

  3. God bless, Ruthie. We are truly blessed with all of the medical advances of this century. I hope you are enjoying makign your mini book!

  4. Oh, this is an amazing story of courage and love--and such devotion by your parents. Thank you for sharing this with us. And yes, the Shriners are completely amazing. xo Cindy

  5. Thank you for sharing the story of your family and Ruthie.
    I agree the airport security lines are worth it. Enjoy your warm weather days. We have snow!
    Have a blessed day.

  6. Thank you for sharing the story of your sister Ruthie! Amazing all she went through. Thankful for the advances in medicine as well! I have another friend whose mother had polio as a young child and is now suffering from sort of a return of the disease. Don't know too much about it but I do know she is in agony every day from the pain. You make all your cards? Must be a beautiful gift to receive! Enjoy your day!

  7. Marti, I really enjoyed reading about your sisters, family, etc. Can't wait to see what you do with tomorrow.

  8. Ruthie sounds like quite the fighter. So sorry your family had to go through all of that.
    I was born in 1951 and was lucky to have had the vaccine.

  9. A wonderful history lesson for all of us. Iron lungs were just unbelievable, weren't they? So wonderful that Ruthie out did the Polio!
    xo, Cheryl

  10. I enjoyed the month of thanks too. So glad Ruthie beat that terrible disease.

  11. Oh, my goodness - what a memory regarding your siblings and polio. Unreal.

    I don't display my Christmas cards, per se; not individually, at any rate. They gather in a pretty dish on the table as they arrive.

  12. Just stopping by to thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving such encouraging comments! Very much appreciated! I am now a follower! :)

  13. What an amazing story about your family and dear Ruthie. The love and devotion your parents had is such an inspiration!

  14. That was an amazing story. I really enjoyed hearing about your sister. We take so much for granted in the year 2011.

  15. It's stories like this that remind me how thankful I am that we now have the polio vaccine. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I really enjoyed reading it :)

  16. This post blessed me, thank you.