Finally, I stopped procrastinating and am at last making a post on my blog! I am not sure when I last made a post a bit of time has gone by!
Much has happen in the last year or two that I don’t even know where to begin. Hopefully I can start making more frequent posts because as I have said before, maybe there are some things that can help others from reading my post but most of all it helps me to put my thoughts into words.
First and foremost my life continues to be greatly impacted by PPS (Post-Polio Syndrome).
When I first came down with the virus in October 1959, at age 3, the vaccine was available but for some reason I still came down with it. For me I recall the doctors often referred to it as “Infantile Paralysis”. I was severely affected from the waist down, mainly both my legs and feet. I don’t recall it having affected my upper torso except my spine had to be supported by a corset with metal strips sown in to keep it firm. If I tried to sit without support, I would topple over without it.
If I am not mistaken, the virus entered the spinal cord by selectively attacking the neurons (killing and damaging) that sent signals controlling various muscles throughout the body. The attack (that is how I visualize the polio virus) infected the spinal cord from the brainstem down. Even with all the residuals the virus left behind, I didn’t let it beat me down. Until I read Dr. Richard Bruno’s book, “The Polio Paradox” did I fully understand the impact of what the virus left behind. Funny thing is for over fifty years I thought, “Bubba you don’t need to know how polio affected you. It’s over and (stupidly I know) ALL physicians understand how it affected you. They know everything.” Boy was I ever WRONG!
I just spent an hour or more trying to research motor neurons over the internet (for this post) but after a while, to be honest, I got bored, well that is putting it mildly I nearly fell asleep! I did find two articles that seemed helpful before I dozed off 🙂
Now let’s get back to the here and now…….
When a number of people, years ago, brought up to me something called “Post-Polio Syndrome”, I shrugged and thought, “There is nothing to that. Polio is over and done with.” I believe at the time I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s when I first heard of PPS. I even recall some folks who didn’t seem to know anything about the polio virus actually saying, “You are coming down with the virus again.” huh?
Then in my late 40’s something odd began to happen. One day after mowing the lawn with a push mower I tried lifting my leg a short distance to get up a step……..I couldn’t and from the waist down I felt limp, no strength, zilch, NOTHING! What I didn’t understand was, it was the beginning of PPS, not the actual virus but the over use of the damaged neurons from when I had the virus as a kid and thinking all those years I needed to push myself as hard as I could, all along I was killing off those damaged neurons.
I’m 59 now and no, I DON’T have polio ( I still have people ask, “You have polio?”), I have PPS. Physicians today know little to nothing about PPS but I DO know what is going on with my body. I will be forever grateful to Doctor Richard Bruno for knocking some sense into my head. PPS forced me to retire (after 34 years working in a not for profit field of work) and now having to spend a great deal of time resting and dealing with not only the physical residuals of the polio virus but also the mental and psychological side of it. You can’t imagine how psychologically challenging this can be, but I and others have been through worse and I have a lot to be grateful for.
My doctors agree that yes, my physical weakness, breathing and sleep disorders, etc is a result of the residuals of the polio virus but, almost all my doctors say it has nothing to do with mental or psychological issues. Well, that’s ok, I no longer care what they believe because I know me and I know the enemy and even though it all slows me down, it HASN’T won this second round. I still have my independence, I find ways to adapt to my continuing physical, mental and psychological weaknesses and there is a part of me that will not give up, I’m still a fighter. I am a Christian and my maker gives me the strength to get through my days.
Polio Survivors……..ARE survivors, we continue to be winners no matter what that virus from years past left behind and throws our way…..
and yes, time has gone by since I last made a post to this blog but hey,
BUBBA’S STILL HERE! 🙂
Thanks for reading and I hope you will visit my website at