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Access: Persistent Polio

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  • RichardBody,

    (Apologies for the double post - my wife has now passed her eye over the comment and I'm unable to edit the earlier one. Feel free to remove it)

    Hi Hilary,
    Thank you for your writing. My late father-in-law, Bob Thaine, had polio and your post has triggered family memories here; it has served as an excuse to put together a history of Bob. Hopefully this response will be followed by something far more substantial by either myself or my sister-in-law, we’re just going to have to pull together some information from different places. It’s particularly pressing as mother-in-law is in her mid nineties and suffering from dementia. A brief disclaimer: as I never met my father-in-law some of my knowledge below is sketchy at best.

    Bob (who died many years before I met my wife) caught Polio in the mid-late fifties. He caught it on a Russian ship on the way to NZ from the Australia with his wife Sheila and daughter Madeline. Apparently he caught it because the ship’s crew were running out of water and started to reuse the water from the dinner tables. Bob was paralysed and confined to a wheelchair. Bob was a plant physiologist at DSIR and lived in Palmerston North in his later life, which is where my, now, wife grew up. His early research was sponsored by the same Nuffield Foundation that donated the iron lungs (Bob spent a year in one). Bob and Sheila were involved with setting up the Ryder Cheshire Home in the Manawatu, amongst other things before he died in the early 1990s.

    Apparently Bob had a zest for life, loved his cricket and rugby, but also battled depression for much of his illness. I’m told I would have liked him.

    When we get his history together we’ll share it with you; it may just take some time!

    Abingdon, Oxfordshire • Since Nov 2014 • 5 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to RichardBody,

    Thankyou RichardBody. I really like the idea of people gathering and sharing their own family histories, particularly when it involves our largely unrecorded polio history (or other disability themes). Even the DSIR is now merely a memory.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Gordon, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I certainly don't refer to myself as a "Polio" - I am a polio survivor because I'm a person who survived polio and live with the paralytic after effects and now some late effects. However I don't define myself by an illnes i once had. As one of the younger ones who had polio and I have been a activist for most of my life on many issues and yes there are many from an older generation who are not politically active on disability issues, but that doesn't give them the right to talk for talk rest of us.

    Thames • Since Aug 2015 • 1 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Gordon,

    Good to hear from you, Gordon.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Gordon,

    Thanks Gordon. I didn't feel comfortable using that term although it seems to be readily used by some, and is even on the Polio NZ website. The other contentious word - and one I avoid - is 'victim'.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Seriatim, in reply to Gordon,

    I've had polio too but have never referred to myself as "a polio" - ew - or even heard the expression before this article.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Seriatim,

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report

  • George Darroch, in reply to Seriatim,

    It seems likely that we will need to continue vaccination in a number of countries for some time after polio is eradicated.

    This isn't actually as bad as it sounds. Mass polio vaccination has created the infrastructure for universal vaccination for other communicable diseases, and helped establish healthcare systems in places where they are absent. The continuation of vaccination will bolster these.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    We spoke to more than 20 Kiwis who believe they are suffering from post-polio syndrome. Most complained their GP did not know about the syndrome, or did not take it seriously. Many had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's.

    Of the 20 DHBs contacted by the Star-Times, only two replied to say they had staff who were aware of the syndrome.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Thanks Rosemary.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

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