Hi, this is me, Peter Thwaites. I am a Polio Survivor from the 1950s living in England, where I actually caught the Polio virus in 1953. I was 4 years old, totally paralyzed not even being able to speak, After spending some time in an iron lung, I eventually 'walked' out of hospital.
I realise that now I don't look disabled, except, perhaps, my scoliosis, but like another 15 million of us, I am seriously disabled as a result of the damage caused to 98% of the motor neurons throughout my body by the Polio virus
I have a new condition called Post-Polio Syndrome, which is a very debilitating condition much like the Motor Neuron disease, with the major difference being that I can control the rate that the damage progresses, unlike the Motor Neuron disease which progresses extremely quickly with devastating results.
My disabilities are hidden, to quote the well used comment "Not all disabilities are visible" but extremely debilitating. I have difficulty in breathing, swallowing, and talking, extreme fatigue, mind blowing nerve pains in my legs, and a general weakness down my left side, which makes for walking very difficult, and painful.
When we left hospital we were told to live our lives to the mantra "Use it, or lose it", the exact opposite to what we should have been told, "Conserve to Preserve", and consequently we have been seriously damaging the already damaged neurons, resulting in many of us, with paralysis. Fortunately I lived a fairly sedimentary life, so my neurons have survived up until now.
To survive in this busy world we worked hard, studied hard and ended up with degrees, Masters, and Doctorates. If we needed help or support we met with other Polio Survivors as the Medical Profession knew absolutely nothing about our condition, so consequently we were ignored and neglected..
Now, however we are all becoming very tired, and need support from the Medical Professions, Governments, Health Authorities, and funding bodies.
The World-Wide Fellowship of Polio Warriors is working hard to raise the awareness of Post-Polio Syndrome and improve the lives of so many of us without medical, welfare, or social support.
Why not help us to be heard, so that we have access to Specialist Medical support, the survivor 'locked' at home because they are unable to afford a $100 wheelchair, can at last go out into the fresh air, and the tired and lonely survivor can have access to local support groups?