Who are some famous people with polio

Life as a polio sufferer

  • Life as a Polio Sufferer
    If anything is causing you fatigue, pain, or weakness, slow down or stop!
Carola Hiedl, born in 1949, fell ill with polio in 1952 and has been dependent on a wheelchair ever since. Graduated psychologist and psychological psychotherapist with a focus on neurological rehabilitation and neuropsychology.
Spokeswoman for Regional Group 43 - Kassel.

Discussion group with Carola Hiedl - speaker seminar of the Bundesverband Poliomyelitis e.V.





The golden rule at PPS

  • If anything is causing you fatigue, pain, or weakness, slow down or stop!
by Carola Hiedl

Since the last major polio epidemic, several 10,000 people are still living in Germany who have suffered paralysis in their muscles due to the poliovirus infection.

Some only have a weakness in individual limbs, others are severely paralyzed and rely on wheelchairs and even ventilation. Everyone is affected differently and has embarked on a very personal path in life with his disability.

Some met “companions of fate” in specialized rehabilitation clinics in Bad Wildbad, Höxter or Thermalbad Wiesenbad, but most of them were alone among “healthy people” in their everyday lives.

Seen from the outside, commonalities among those affected by polio can be identified:

If they were discharged from hospital with permanent disabilities, they would return to an environment that had to react to this drastic change: parents worried about the future of their disabled child, siblings and friends had to adjust to the restrictions, often the apartment was no longer appropriate, even the reputation of the family in the neighborhood had changed. Those affected, even if they were still children, came to terms with these events

With these experiences, many polio sufferers developed a "lone warrior mentality" with which they achieved a respectable place in society with above-average success - famous examples of these achievements are Margarete Steiff, who founded a large company in a wheelchair, or Theodore Roosevelt, who became a US President was elected with his own goal: “I will walk without crutches. I will enter a room without everyone being scared to death at the sight of me. I will stand in front of people so casually that they forget that I am a cripple. ”(Quoted from BRUNO, The Polio Paradox, p. 92)

On the basis of this experience, many people affected by polio had to accept a second clear limitation: new weaknesses caused by the post-polio syndrome. This posed an additional challenge to them, having to grapple with the difficulties of neediness, loss of resilience and skills.

It has been shown that the mental lone warrior posture can worsen PPS because it leads those affected to demand more and more performance, even if they are already feeling pain, weakness or dejection. You will not find the jump to protect yourself by withdrawing, but impose additional stress on yourself through inner slogans to persevere. This stress leads to physical reactions in the autonomic nervous system that overwhelm the motor nerves damaged by the poliovirus even more. This means that those affected by polio are in danger of robbing themselves of further physical strength in a vicious circle of physical and mental overload.

The common concern of the post-polio syndrome helped for the first time that many people affected by polio broke away from their role as lone warriors and took the step into the common self-help organization - the polio association. The Association Polio e.V. now has members who have often exchanged experiences for the first time in their lives and have supported each other in many matters such as the procurement of aids and therapeutic measures.

The resulting network has proven to be a great relief for the overexerted and aging polio sufferers. The aim of Polio e.V. is to keep mutual relief alive through the encounters in the regional groups. In the regional groups, those affected by polio learn from each other to try out new ways of coping with the effects of the paralysis. The "10 commandments at PPS" have proven their worth:

10 commandments

  • Pay attention to the signals of your body and do not fight them!
  • Moving does not only mean training, but skillfully using the remaining strength with care, passive movement and the use of aids!
  • Frequent breaks make PPS easier and preserve strength!
  • Aids save energy - try out without prejudice whether aids such as crutches, walking frames or even wheelchairs and ventilators give you back lost options!
  • Sometimes medication can help alleviate the PPS effects - such as pain relievers!
  • Sleep gives strength back - so use every opportunity to sleep well and - if you wish - to sleep for a long time!
  • Get yourself comfortable temperatures - many PPS sufferers have an increased need for warmth!
  • A good and protein-rich breakfast gives you strength for the whole day!
  • Treat yourself as well as you treat others: Don't be strict, but be loving with yourself and your new weaknesses; accept help without feeling dependent and small, but see this help as an enriching gift!
  • Pass on your knowledge of PPS to the doctors treating you according to the motto: "Doctors should cooperate before they operate!"