I was recalled in February 1952 to the
Navy during the Korean Conflict. Reported to Treasure Island,
California and assigned to a ship in San Diego, California and got
married on March 15. I spent time between our apartment in Old
Town and the ship USS Askaria that was in the harbor.
In April/May, I got sick on the ship and
was kept in sick bay for a few days, then sent to the US Naval Hospital
in San Diego. They put me in the isolation ward in a building
outside of the main hospital complex for 10 days. During that time
I was having a lot of pain and trouble swallowing. Water was the
only "food" I had as I can remember, but I didn't feel good and wasn't
hungry. At midnight I would get some medicine that let me sleep
until 3 a.m., then back to pain until the next midnight.
After the isolation period, I was
transferred to the main hospital and joined polio row as we called it.
Six beds in a row were all polio patients. When weighed in after
isolation, I had lost 50 pounds.
I had many spinal taps and boards on my
bed with a very thin mattress. I was paralyzed on my left side and
stiff as a board. A physical therapist was assigned to me and one
other patient. Each morning and afternoon, I was put on a gurney
and taken to a hot whirlpool and lifted into the pool with a crane as I
was too stiff to bend. The next step was to put me on a table and
my therapist would try bending my legs, arms and back. This was
very painful but she was very persistent. I kept getting limbered
up as she would set me up and have me reach for my toes, with her hands
on my shoulders and her weight pushing me. She told me that if she
didn't get the calcium deposits out soon, I would remain stiff.
This really hurt and I would sweat and felt like I was going to pass
out. I am very thankful to her as I have no calcium deposits
anywhere. I would love to thank her if I could find her.
I had a hard time gaining my weight back
and remained in the hospital until after Thanksgiving when they flew me
back to the VA Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. Dr. Maurice Van Allen
was my doctor and I wanted to leave the hospital because I thought I had
been there long enough. After a short time he told me if my wife
and I would move to Iowa City and would agree to come to the hospital
every day for treatments, he would release me to the apartment which I
was happy to agree to. In March the next year he released me.
While in the hospital in San Diego, the
six of us who had polio were interviewed. We all came from
different places and no one could establish that we crossed paths at any
time. No one on the ship got sick. My wife, Esther, was by
my side during isolation and in the hospital all the time and she didn't
After returning home, I took all the polio
shots and medicine that came around. The doctor recommended it.
They also recommended that I never give blood.
Several years ago I started getting pain
in my right leg. I was paralyzed on my left side. My leg is
two inches shorter than my right side. The VA Hospital and the
University of Iowa Hospital did a series of tests and said that I have
post polio. I heard about post polio but never thought that I
would get it. It seems to stay in my right leg with pain and
shooting pain at times. There is a lot of weakness and both legs
give way at times. I haven't fallen to the ground as yet. I
have been on several kinds of medicine but the side effects have been
worse than the problem, so they have been taken away.
I am getting along with taking apple cider
vinegar...and using a swinger for my legs. This keeps the pain at
a low enough level that I can get along with it. When the pain
gets too bad I take Etodolac in addition.