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FDR might not have had polio

dhermann1

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Really makes me wonder. This whole bowels thing, especially. What exactly do they mean by "lost control of bowels"? Of all ailments, that would limit a person's ability to work and especially to travel the way FDR did. He flew all over the world during the war, went on fishing trips to the Caribbean, etc. And they make no mention of sexual function. It is widely accepted that FDR was still able to "perform" in that area after he became ill.
 

sheeplady

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Really makes me wonder. This whole bowels thing, especially. What exactly do they mean by "lost control of bowels"? Of all ailments, that would limit a person's ability to work and especially to travel the way FDR did. He flew all over the world during the war, went on fishing trips to the Caribbean, etc. And they make no mention of sexual function. It is widely accepted that FDR was still able to "perform" in that area after he became ill.

Perhaps they meant that he temporarily lost control of his bowels (as in, for a few days or a few weeks during the active infection)?

I looked up Polio and GB and although I found information about loss of bowel control with polio, I didn't see anything with GB. But I'm neither a doctor nor an expert on either.

I know that polio can lead to paralysis of only the legs, if only from anecdotal evidence. A former neighbor and a former resident of where I grew up went swimming at a local retreat, the next door neighbor was sick for two weeks but came out ok, the resident was paralyzed from the waist down.
 

Dixon Cannon

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Perhaps they meant that he temporarily lost control of his bowels (as in, for a few days or a few weeks during the active infection)?

I looked up Polio and GB and although I found information about loss of bowel control with polio, I didn't see anything with GB. But I'm neither a doctor nor an expert on either.

I know that polio can lead to paralysis of only the legs, if only from anecdotal evidence. A former neighbor and a former resident of where I grew up went swimming at a local retreat, the next door neighbor was sick for two weeks but came out ok, the resident was paralyzed from the waist down.

A layman myself, it is my understanding that there are three types of Polio virus and if the virus makes it's way to the spinal cord and/or the brain stem it can cause total paralysis. Thus the images of young children in the dreaded "Iron Lung" that facilitated their breathing. What a miracle that those days are over! Polio was a scourge for eons before the late 1950's. I remember being scared of it as a little boy and how excited my parents were with the Sabin-Salk vaccines.

-dixon cannon
 
I understand the article to say: "Polio does not often affect the intestinal tract, yet the events of August 9th left FDR without control of his bowels", meaning that the bowel control loss was in the immediate aftermath of the dive into the water, while the paralysis lasted longer.

Anyway, the stuff about what ailed FDR is all speculation based on meta-analysis, contemporary medical argument, and "A 2012 study published in the Journal of Medical Biography [that] conducted a probability analysis based on Roosevelt's symptoms". Note the article uses the word "probably" to site the source of this "probably" as the statistical analysis. Not all that convincing, tbh.
 

LizzieMaine

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What a lot of people forget is that FDR's legs weren't 100 percent paralyzed -- he had sufficient use of them to be able to swim, and spent as much time in the water as he possibly could as a form of physical therapy. That being so, I'd seriously doubt that his bowels were completely paralyzed.

Speaking of FDR's paralysis, whatever caused it, you can't help but be amazed by his ingenuity in working around it. Note the modifications of his car -- a 1936 Ford rigged up so that he could operate the brake, clutch, gas, and starter pedals with hand levers so that he could drive himself anywhere he wanted to go.

polio_handcontrols.jpg
 
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I seem remember seeing a pic somewhere of a venue where FDR had spoken and they had built a huge wooden ramp so that his car could be driven up to the second story of the building
 

sheeplady

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A layman myself, it is my understanding that there are three types of Polio virus and if the virus makes it's way to the spinal cord and/or the brain stem it can cause total paralysis. Thus the images of young children in the dreaded "Iron Lung" that facilitated their breathing. What a miracle that those days are over! Polio was a scourge for eons before the late 1950's. I remember being scared of it as a little boy and how excited my parents were with the Sabin-Salk vaccines.

-dixon cannon

My mom was actually in the trials for the vaccine (the school-wide trials that they did in the mid-fifties before it was released to the general public). She was one of the kids to receive the actual vaccine (not the placebo), so she didn't have to have it re-administered later. Apparently upstate NY was one of the large testing grounds for the vaccine, and there are lots of people here who remember receiving it as a child. I believe she was vaccinated in 1954 according to her school records.

My mom remembers getting vaccinated, but she never knew she was part of the trials until she was older- she just remembers everyone in her grade got it at the same time. Years later, a physician noticed her vaccination date was before the vaccine was readily available. She checked with her school and she had been in the trial.
 

Dixon Cannon

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My mom was actually in the trials for the vaccine (the school-wide trials that they did in the mid-fifties before it was released to the general public). She was one of the kids to receive the actual vaccine (not the placebo), so she didn't have to have it re-administered later. Apparently upstate NY was one of the large testing grounds for the vaccine, and there are lots of people here who remember receiving it as a child. I believe she was vaccinated in 1954 according to her school records.

My mom remembers getting vaccinated, but she never knew she was part of the trials until she was older- she just remembers everyone in her grade got it at the same time. Years later, a physician noticed her vaccination date was before the vaccine was readily available. She checked with her school and she had been in the trial
.

How uncanny is that?!! I was born in '54 in upstate NY (Binghamton). I didn't get a vaccine until probably about 1960 after our move to South Florida.

-dixon cannon
 

sheeplady

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How uncanny is that?!! I was born in '54 in upstate NY (Binghamton). I didn't get a vaccine until probably about 1960 after our move to South Florida.

-dixon cannon

Yeah, my mom was one of the lucky ones. She was sent to school early at her request (I believe when she was four- she graduated at 17). Apparently doctor's volunteered to do the immunization, and I could see her school being selected because of it's size (small rural, semi-centralized). There were several doctors in my mom's area that participated, and I imagine they lined up every school they could (or at least it seems like it if you talk to people!) Apparently kids were given cards to announce/ display their participation, but my mom doesn't remember any of that (my grandparents wouldn't have answered her questions about it or kept the card, and I kind of doubt they would have really understood giving her consent to participate in that kind of study). It's also possible that she never got her card because the family moved to a new school district only a year or two later.

My father (born the same year as my mother) didn't receive it until at least 1956 or 1957 if I remember right- he was also from upstate but in a different rural school district. His parents made sure he got it as soon as it was available to him, which is why he was so surprised to learn my mom had been vaccinated two or three years earlier before it was readily available. If my father had been in a school district that did the experimental vaccination trial, my grandmother would have made him participate, but he obviously wasn't.
 

dhermann1

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I remember the epidemic of the early 50s. Bad stuff, very scary. I remember being lined up (about age 5?) to get gammaglobulin shots. That was a very weak, maybe totally ineffective, thing they had to combat it. I got the shots pretty early, too. Maybe 1955.
I knew a girl, born in 1948, who got it at age 2. She was unconscious for 2 weeks, When she came to, the left side of her face was totally permanently paralyzed.
 

MikeBravo

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A layman myself, it is my understanding that there are three types of Polio virus and if the virus makes it's way to the spinal cord and/or the brain stem it can cause total paralysis. Thus the images of young children in the dreaded "Iron Lung" that facilitated their breathing. What a miracle that those days are over! Polio was a scourge for eons before the late 1950's. I remember being scared of it as a little boy and how excited my parents were with the Sabin-Salk vaccines.

-dixon cannon

Well, those days are comin' back, baby

There are sufficient people now refusing to vaccinate their children for anything that these once "extinct" diseases are set to return. Looks like part of the Golden Era is returning
 

kyboots

Practically Family
My mom was actually in the trials for the vaccine (the school-wide trials that they did in the mid-fifties before it was released to the general public). She was one of the kids to receive the actual vaccine (not the placebo), so she didn't have to have it re-administered later. Apparently upstate NY was one of the large testing grounds for the vaccine, and there are lots of people here who remember receiving it as a child. I believe she was vaccinated in 1954 according to her school record.
Unfortunately with those first vaccines trials not all of the virus was killed and they actually injected live virus into children giving them a more virulent form of polio. That was the one of those "risks" with a trial. later this was taken care of and by 1956 the vaccine was more perfected. My understanding Roosevelt had control of his bowels, but during the acute illness he was very ill and this would make more sense. In one book ?? "Sunrise" they talked about the "pain" he had which is classic for polio and not GB. Dr. Sabin was from Univ. of Cincinnati until 1969 when he left for other universities like South Carolina. He gave our commencement address, and would often spend hours with the students. When I was 25 I had the opportunity to spend lunch and dinner with Dr. Sabin, one of those lifelong memories.
 

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