Shared peer advice from polio survivors about what works for them.

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Relationships: An Overview

Brian Tiburzi

Every relationship is built upon unique experiences and qualities. For a relationship to succeed, both individuals will need to cope with any disability. This requires a realistic acceptance of the disability with an emphasis on what one can do, rather than on what one cannot do. The following are brief general suggestions on how to maintain personal relationships when facing …


Brian Tiburzi

Communication is a two-way street. Participants in any relationship must have a mutual respect for the values, experiences, and skills that each brings to the encounter. Everyone is responsible for his/her own feelings, and experts recommend that feelings be expressed in the first person. Acknowledge them but do not place responsibility for them on someone else. For example, saying, “When …


Brian Tiburzi

HINTS FOR RAISING CHILDREN BY MOTHERS WHO HAD POLIO One: I had polio at 23 and was married at 25. I had one daughter and two sons. I wore a white cotton support garment with shoulder straps and laces that expanded with girth. I also wore a right leg brace. Now, I wear braces on both legs, because with time …


Brian Tiburzi

Facing new functional loss is one aspect of the late effects of polio. While a positive focus is healthy and contributes to adjustment, to focus only on the positive, and to ignore the loss and its pain, separates one from his/her own experiences. Individuals need to adapt to, or grieve, loss. If grieving is incomplete, further psychological growth and development …

Not Just Polio: My Life Story

Brian Tiburzi

Excerpts from the autobiography Not Just Polio: My Life Story of Richard Lloyd Daggett, polio survivor and ventilator user: July, 1953 My mother drove to the hospital to visit almost every afternoon and both pafarents came in the evening. I’m sure it was a difficult time for them. I was their youngest child, and I was very, very ill with bulbospinal polio, the …

A Paralyzing Fear

Brian Tiburzi

Kathleen A. Navarre My reaction to the film “A Paralyzing Fear” ran the gamut from objective film critic to the very personal reliving of a long repressed event that seemed to happen to someone else, or in another lifetime, but also clearly happened to me. The event, polio at the age of six in 1952, is at once an intimately …

Maintaining Health and Wellness

Brian Tiburzi

Good health is being the best that one can be – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and socially. Polio survivors do not need to constantly struggle from one health crisis to the next. While some health problems require professional assistance, your loved one can manage others. In addition to seeing appropriate health professionals to alleviate and manage the late effects of …

Past and Future

Brian Tiburzi

Grace Young When I had polio at age 9, I was happy to have a wheelchair – any wheelchair – that would allow me the freedom to leave my bedroom. The only model available at that time was all wood with a cane back and wooden wheels. Undoubtedly it’s featured in the Smithsonian now. Large, heavy, clunky – forget taking …

Spirituality In Stillness: To Transcend, Transform, Then Transfuse

Brian Tiburzi

Spirituality: It’s Personal Alison (Sunny) Roller, MA Presented at PHI’s 11th International Conference: Promoting Healthy Ideas (2014) Definitions Spirit is “an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms.” Spirituality is defined differently by a variety of authors. There does seem to be a recurring theme, however. Spirituality is awe-inspiring and gives life meaning. It refers to the …

A Sister Remembers

Brian Tiburzi

Mary Navarre, OP When Joan L. Headley, the Executive Director of the Post-Polio Health International, asked me to be on a panel of family members of polio survivors at the convention in St. Louis, I was hesitant to do so as it was, and still is, difficult to talk about my life with my sister who contracted polio at the …