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AFM: After a disease that had paralyzed her son, Mum turned to polio survivors



It was 2012, and her one-year-old son Lucian was suddenly paralyzed from the waist down. While receiving excellent medical care from his doctors in California, she yearned with her husband for emotional support and guidance that could only come from the parents of a child like Lucian.

But that was the problem. Lucian was one of the first children in the United States to be diagnosed with a debilitating disease called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM).

Even on Facebook, his mother could not find any kindred spirits.

Then one day a random class assignment gave Olivera a solution that proves that the story sometimes repeats itself.

Olivera was in her last semester at the Nursing School and was assigned to visit a support group that had a meaning for her life. She chose a support group for polio survivors, as her son's illness and polio are similar.

The members of this support group ̵

1; older people who had long been suffering from illness in the United States – would change their lives forever

AFM and Polio: Eerie Similarities

In the late 1940s and late In the early 1950s, polio paralyzed an average of more than 35,000 people a year, making it one of the most dreaded 20th-century diseases the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Polio and AFM are eerily similar: Experts believe that both are caused by the same family of viruses. The patients, mainly children, start with a cold or flu and then paralyze.

  Young survivors of a rare, polio-like disease that is now thriving

However, there is no cure or vaccine for AFM and health care practitioners have had to find out for themselves how best to care for these children.

Some have retired into the polio era to help their patients. Melissa Murray, a physical therapist in Oregon, used to scour old articles in polio medical journals to find out what exercises she should give to her patient, Bailey Sheehan, who was diagnosed with AFM at the age of seven. Her entire right side was paralyzed. [19659002] "I was insecure and a bit nervous because I wanted to help, but this was such a new territory," said Murray. "I never thought that I would come back in time to read about polio."

Bailey, now 11, has frequent headaches and is weak in the right arm, but she can go – something her mother owes to Murray's historical research: "Melissa and her ingenuity – I think that's 100 percent the reason Why Bailey is leaving, "said Mikell Sheehan.

  Bailey Sheehan's Physiotherapist, Melissa Murray, researched care for children with polio Help Bailey recover from AFM.

It was a very specific movement known to Olivera, because that's how Lucian moved his leg.

She knew she was doing the ri suitable place.

Likewise the survivors of the polio.

"The boy has awakened memories of us, it was like déjà-vu," said Sherrill Boyd, 79, who got polio at the age of nine.

The Council of Survivors came almost immediately, some of them quite by accident. As Lucian grabbed him by the thigh and lifted his leg A table, Olivera, who went to the etiquette school as a girl, winced. The survivors of the polio laughed.

"They said," He stretches his leg. We do that too! It is good! "Olivera remembers. "Now I say – break all the rules of etiquette!"

When Norma Puch watched Lucian and heard his story, she was reminded of her own story. Both she and Lucian got sick. They were very young – Puch was 18 months old and Lucian was 11 months old. Like Lucian, she wears an orthosis on her left leg from the ankle to the hip.

When she saw him, she remembered a painful incident when she was a young woman who worked as a receptionist at a construction company in Los Angeles. One day she went outside to take a break. She wore a classic miniskirt from the 70s.

"Hey, cover the thing," shouted a passerby.

  Polio cases no longer declining; WHO fears a resurgence of the world

He referred to her leg orthosis.

I was so crazy – I thought, what an idiot! "Remembers Puch, who is now 65 years old." I should be ashamed because I have this metal On my leg? "

She told Olivera not to listen to the haters and think Lucian just like any other child.

" When I was a girl, I did not think I was different or compromised, even if I was not so quick could go like other children, "Puch said.

This piece of advice made Olivera realize that she and her husband had to treat Lucian as well as his three older siblings at the time we had him in a bladder. or he was always right next to us, but that would not help him at all, "she recalls." After the meeting, my husband and I talked and we decided not to raise Lucian to this disability, we wanted Lucian to have a disability educate. "

Today at the age of 7, Lucian is a cheerful little boy with no signs of Self-pity, he walks with his stretcher and a stroller or trotti on the floor and does his duties like his brothers and sister, but in a modified way – for example, when he cleans his room, he picks up toys, puts them in a bag , which is attached to his stroller, and then puts them back on the shelf.

Since Olivera does not want to lose the wisdom of the older generation, he arranged Kurt Sipolski, a polio survivor, who wrote a memoir, "Too Early for Flowers," to be on the board of a group she calls parents of children created with AFM. Sipolski regularly advises this new generation of parents whose children are paralyzed. 19659009] After the meeting, one of the polio survivors Lucian knitted a pair of thick woolen socks, as people with paralysis often behaved. I have cold feet.

The socks have become a keepsake for Olivera from a day that has changed her life.

"This meeting calmed me down and gave me such insights," she said. "They all said that polio did not limit their success, they had a career, they had families, they made me realize that Lucian is going to do those things as well."


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