A Special Insight into the Tragedy That was Polio

Dennis P. Anderson

This review is from: When Polio Came Home: How Ordinary People Overcame Extraordinary Challenges (Paperback)

Congratulations to Connie Anderson for creating a meaningful and educational look into the polio epidemic. I was one of the lucky ones in Minneapolis in the early 1950s as a kid who escaped what made so many suffer from and even die by the thousands. I also grew up a couple of blocks away from places described in the book called “Michael Dowling School” and “Sheltering Arms.” I never knew what went on inside these schools until I read the accounts in “When Police Comes Home” this week.

You will learn a great deal about polio and coping. For example, I was not aware of the Post-Police Syndrome. Nor had I read any first-hand accounts of what it was like to be told, “you have polio” and be swept away to a strange hospital filled with strangers in white coats or be inside an iron lung. The survivors and next-of-kin who contributed to this wonderful book have the ability to explain their sense of loss or shame or denial, and definitely their commitment to overcome in special ways. The theme of enduring despite adversity comes across loud and clear.

The book’s accounts, from survivors who were polio victims at a wide range of ages, are presented in random order (good choice). All contribute pieces to understanding the demon puzzle that was called polio. I hope this book becomes mandated in nursing schools and hospital administration programs. It is a book that also deserves high visibility with individuals who are suffering and need to hear, “I made it. You can make it, too” from people who came back from hell. Those survivors and their family members who took the time to tell their stories in such a personal and hard-hitting way, have that thought as their legacy. God bless them.

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