Thousands of children are being stricken down by one of the most punishing, disabling diseases ever known. Victims are paralyzed. Their lungs are weakened and breathing is impossible without help.

Parents watched as their healthy, loving and playful children were locked up in an “iron lung”. Many spent the rest of their lives in those horrible, yet, lifesaving boxes. Imagine for a minute ……you can’t breathe…..a doctor lays you down in a container the size of an empty hot water tank box, about 2 feet by 2 feet. Your life is changed immediately……..YOU CAN BREATHE.

Now let’s finish the story about the rest of your life. You are enclosed from the neck down in the BOX. You cannot breathe if you leave it. The pressure inside the box drops to near zero to let you fill your lungs with life giving air and oxygen. The pressure rises in the box to push your breath out.

Your lungs don’t have to compete with the earth’s 14 pound plus pressure around all of us all the time to bring air in. Then the box’s heavier pressure applied to your chest helps your lungs discharge the breath of air you took in. Your weakened lungs can supply your blood with needed oxygen with very little effort.

I’ll give you some fun notes here. The first iron lungs used 2 vacuum cleaners. One sucked out the air and lightened the pressure in the box and on the victim’s body. The other vacuum forced air in raising the pressure. The price of an iron lung was about the price of a home…….$1,500.

Enter me in elementary school in 1956.

Polio was infecting 60,000 people yearly and killing 5,600. These numbers included adults as well as children. Hundreds were paralyzed. All the kids at my school took a vaccine in a sugar cube designed to stop the poliovirus. The actual recipe, so to speak, for the vaccine worked well but some batches were not made right and gave some folks polio rather than preventing it. GUESS WHO WAS ONE OF THOSE THAT GOT THE BAD STUFF?

I became weak and had to be carried back and forth to the doctor weekly for a few months. BUUUUUT, luckily, I got over the polio I got from the vaccine. Unfortunately, some did not.


The poliovirus vaccine was tweaked and given to most folks over most of the world.  By 1959 hundreds of thousands of people that would have been paralyzed and/or killed were walking around, well and healthy.

You could say that since then as many as 4,000,000 (that’s 4 million) cases, if not more have been prevented.

Since 1959 the number of deaths possibly have been  500,000 ( that’s half a million”) ……….prevented. These numbers vary and who knows how many folks would have became victims to polio, maybe more.

Polio has been called the most feared and devastating plague  known to modern man.  “One day you had a headache and an hour later you were paralyzed. Summers seemed like winters, since swimming pools and other group entertainment and gathering places were closed. Most children were cooped up indoors like the winter months………Sound familiar?  

Many of us today, October 1, 2020, know polio survivors. My wife and I have friends and relatives that have polio disabilities ranging from one leg a little shorter than the other to wheelchair ridden.  While teaching school I saw kids pushing Mom/Dad in a wheelchair to functions. Unknown to me at the time, many of those parents were polio survivors. There are over 250,000 polio survivors in the US alone, possibly over a million worldwide.

A note; The disabilities acts in the 1970’s that passed wheel chair ramps and elevator requirements to schools and federal buildings came from the multitude of folks disabled by Polio.

I didn’t have any leftover health problems and I continue to support vaccines totally. Thank goodness more safety rules and regulations have been implemented since I got my “rough” dose. Countries and groups of people that refuse vaccines are still plagued with such diseases as whooping cough, mumps, measles, chicken pox and even STILL polio.

There is a risk to doing anything, even taking a drink of water. I taught school and some kids could die from eating one peanut, even smelling a friend’s pb & j sandwich put them in the hospital.

I’ve always taken the flu vaccine and I have friends that get from a little sick from the shot to missing a couple day’s work when they have to take it. Health care folks; nurses, doctors, aids, in home care folks, bus drivers etc. are asked or required to take the flu shot every fall.

I have never had the flu so I will take it every time. I will take the “Toyoto Corrolla”, I call the corona virus, shot when it comes out as well. My engineering background directs me to follow the numbers. If 9 out of ten folks survive a car wreck because they had a seat belt on………hmmmm…..a no brainer here……I’ll buckle up. Since vaccines have already saved millions of folks………….hmmm……another no brainer……I’ll take the shot BUT ONLY when it passes all the safety tests and trials.

“You decide and make your own call. I would just ask that if you live around my family, grand and great grandkids please take the vaccine to protect me and mine.”

Actually, I hope you take the vaccine to save yourself and lots of other folks. The elderly, breathing compromised folks and just good ole child raising moms and pops will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

          “Lack of Positive action can be cured with knowledge.” Einstein…..hmmm…..maybe Mestein.

Thanks for your reading patience and to agree or disagree with me is your choice. This is the good old USA.

          Please visit Natures Nest Books often for my additions to children books and some experienced based hints on;

Health; bananas, green tea, CoQ10, check”stuff”daily, I minute cooking, 1 minute walks.  

Fishing…small better..worm action ….45 degree cut off.

Teaching….My kids learned a lot right beside me at work and play……Help them write about IT, WHATEVER IT IS. Answer “most” questions.

Help explain to your kids what happens….If a gator and a huge python attack and begin to swallow each other. Do they both disappear? This was an old Florida joke I heard while working on a Disney World project. Have fun with it. Another good one is an old engineering question about Daffy Duck jumping up unhurt just as a falling elevator hits bottom. Note; He is traveling the same speed as the falling elevator.   

Again thanks, especially to my 1000’s of readers

Floyd P Knipe, Natures Nest Books, teacher, author, speaker

Fisherman, cook, farmer, animal lover, semi-retired designer/builder.