Doris Benson

 

 
I was four years old in 1953 when I contracted polio. After being hospitalized for five weeks in Winnipeg I went home having reclaimed strength in most of my affected left side. I regained my speech within a few weeks but my left shoulder muscle was lost.
 
As a youngster growing up on a mixed farm I had chores to do. At the one-room country school I participated in sports. In high-school I enjoyed basketball and track.
 
I'm married and have two children and four grandchildren. Over the years I've been employed as a teacher, store clerk and a credit union employee. Post-polio syndrome forced an early retirement. Retirement gave me the time and energy to write a novel. In my book about Hecla Island (now a provincial park), I recall a vibrant and unique community in 1953 and my polio story is woven in. 
 
With polio I have known pain, frustration and disappointment; polio has also taught me patience, tolerance and acceptance. Among polio survivors, my story is not unique. Typically, we all strived to be as 'normal' as possible. And so, after years of minimizing our handicaps and working extra hard to succeed in our endeavors, we have found the loss of muscle strength difficult to cope with. Swallowing our pride and giving in isn't part of our makeup.
 
I try to stay informed through polio newsletters and seminars/symposiums. I find meeting other polio survivors invaluable. I've always been fortunate in having a family, friends and co-workers accept me with my limitations.

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