Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fulcrum 1951--Part 3

This story has four parts that I want to share with you.  It was a story that changed all our families lives not only at the time that it happened, but for the rest of our lives.
 Life was never really the same after that fall.  Ruthie was in the Casper hospital for a year and a half spending much time in an iron lung.  Her left leg and right arm were paralyzed, and because of her lung problems, she couldn't sit up without a back brace. 
When Ruthie finally came home she needed extensive therapy.  In those days there was no way to have a physical therapist come to our ranch so in the nature of the frontier spirit my mother learned the exercises.  Mom performed the physical therapy that Sister Kenny had developed for polio patients.  

After being home for a few months, my little sister was accepted into the Shiners Hospital in Salt Lake City where she spent most of the next six years, undergoing several spinal surgeries, and extensive therapy.  Mom would visit several times a year while Daddy took care of the rest of us kids.  And during the summer we would visit Grandma in Tooele and she was able to spend time with Ruthie

About the time she left for Salt Lake City, I had left home to go to high school in Cody, having to work as a nanny, as there was no way I could make the daily 50 mile trip is the snowy Wyoming winter weather.
When Ruthie finally came home, she had to continue water therapy.  Daddy had a small stock water tank made that would fit in our dining room.  We would fill it with warm water heated on our coal stove and carried in buckets, and Mom would exercise her atrophied muscles, then after her therapy we would take the buckets again and empty it.  Day after day,  every day, this continued, and slowly Ruthie improved until with the aid of a brace on her back and left leg she could walk.
That fall of 1951 will always bring back memories of the terror of that horrible disease, the pain and suffering that took away much of the innocence of youth and the need to face adult responsibilities, ending the carefree days of childhood.  

The rest of the story will be published June 11th.  (For Part one see May 21)

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