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A Message to Anti-Vaxxers

  
Via:  Buzz of the Orient  •  4 months ago  •  18 comments

By:   Bill Chappell npr

A Message to Anti-Vaxxers
 

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BUZZ NOTE:  There is a YouTube in the middle of this article that I am unable to open, so in order to watch it please click the SEEDED CONTENT link just below this message, which will take you to the original npr source article.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Paul Alexander, forced into an iron lung by polio in 1952, dies at 78





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Paul Alexander, who held a Guinness World Record for living the longest with the help of an iron lung, has died. Here, medical staff stand among iron lung machines in an emergency polio ward at Haynes Memorial Hospital in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 16, 1955, when the city's polio epidemic hit a high of 480 cases.  AP

Polio struck Paul Alexander in 1952, when he was just 6 years old. Within days, the disease robbed him of the use of his body. But he fought through the illness, using an iron lung for more than 70 years — and inspiring people with his determination to live a full life. He painted, wrote a book and worked for years as an attorney.

"Paul took a lot of pride in being a positive role model for others," his friend Christopher Ulmer, who organized a  GoFundMe page  for Alexander in 2022, said in a message to NPR. "More than anything I believe he would want others to know they are capable of great things."

Alexander died on Monday at age 78,  according to a notice  by the Grove Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park in his hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Ulmer says he first met Alexander when he filmed an interview with him; the two stayed in touch afterward. Ulmer launched a donation campaign for Alexander after people betrayed his trust and left him in need of better living accommodations, he said. In response, people donated more than $140,000.

BUZZ NOTE:  A YouTube appeared here.

"It allowed him to live his last few years stress-free," Alexander's brother, Philip, said in a statement shared by Ulmer. "It will also pay for his funeral during this difficult time. It is absolutely incredible to read all the comments and know that so many people were inspired by Paul. I am just so grateful."

The man in the iron lung, living a large life


Alexander contracted polio during the worst years of the U.S. outbreak, a time when hospital wards held row after row of children lying in iron lungs — seven-foot-long cylinders that use negative pressure and bellows to draw air into their lungs.

The disease progressed quickly in Alexander, shutting his young body down in a matter of days. He survived thanks to a last-minute tracheotomy; from there, he set out to push beyond the limits of his condition. Holding a rod in his mouth, he was able to turn pages in books and create art. He went to high school, college and law school — and, later in life, he used a rod to type out words on a keyboard to write his autobiography.

"My parents taught me to use my intelligence and my energy to be productive," Alexander said in  a 2017 video by Gizmodo . "I've never thought of myself as a cripple. That's the word I choose to use because I think it covers the ground in most people's perceptions."

"I'm crippled in most people's minds, except mine," he said, adding later, "I'm Paul Alexander, human being."

He was eventually recognized by Guinness World Records as the  longest-surviving iron lung patient .

At least one other American was known to be relying on an iron lung in recent years:  Martha Lillard , who contracted polio one year after Alexander. Both of them were able to learn to breathe outside of the massive respirator for hours at a time, using a technique that required them to intentionally swallow air. But each night, they would return to the iron lung.

"I've tried all the forms of ventilation, and the iron lung is the most efficient and the best and the most comfortable way," Lillard  told the Radio Diaries  project.

The polio vaccine emerged in the 1950s


In 1955, the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk and his colleagues became an essential tool to fight the feared disease — and one for which Salk  never sought a patent . It ended years of panic and fear.

"The first known polio outbreak in the United States was in Vermont in 1894," according to the  Smithsonian Museum of American History . By the time Lillard and Alexander got sick in the early 1950s, polio epidemics had been growing worse and worse, with tens of thousands of new cases reported each year, often in the summer. Different people experienced differing symptoms, from a flu-like condition to a spreading paralysis.

"Communities reacted with dread because no one understood how or why people got it, and because children were the most frequently affected," the museum said, posting images showing closed playgrounds and signs barring children under age 16 from entering cities.

The U.S. officially eliminated "wild" transmission of polio in 1979, but sporadic cases have popped up over the years, including a 2022 case involving  an unvaccinated traveler  in Rockland County, N.Y.



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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    4 months ago

I thought it might be beneficial to show this article to anti-vaxxers who think that vaccines are poison and therefore would gamble with or force their children to gamble with the possibility of either death or a very limited life.  However, this story is about a man who made the most of his limited life, a man whose perseverance for accomplishment and excellence was truly amazing, but he was a very unusual man.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1  Krishna  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    4 months ago
I thought it might be beneficial to show this article to anti-vaxxers who think that vaccines are poison and therefore would gamble with or force their children to gamble with the possibility of either death or a very limited life.

When Covid started to spread in the U.S., there were a number of people who were against being vaccinated.. Many acted as if this was a horrible new thing the gov't was pushing-- as if never before had vaccines be required! Or even strongly recommended.

I seem to remember that vaccines in the U.S. are not new-- in fact IIRC, Polio vaccines were mandatory for children entering Elementary school! So the idea of vaccinated was not some horrible new thing...

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @1.1    4 months ago

I seem to remember that vaccines in the U.S. are not new-- in fact IIRC, Polio vaccines  were mandatory  for children entering Elementary school! So the idea of vaccinated was not some horrible new thing...

But then I thought that, as is the cases with many laws in the U.S., vaccination requirements probably varied from state to state. So I googled it & found this:

State Polio Vaccine Requirements for Child Care and Elementary School

States that have it as a requirement are shown in Green on the map Notice the number of states where Polio vaccination is not required for admission to public school. (the results may surprise you! jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png )

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1.2  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @1.1.1    4 months ago
Polio vaccines  were mandatory

In fact, if memory serves-- there were vaccinations required for not only Polio but also a few other horrendous diseases. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.3  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Krishna @1.1    4 months ago

The anti-vaxxers were often anti-maskers as well.  I don't feel even a drop of sorrow for any of them who died, but I am sorry for those their stupid arrogance infected and killed. 

In my mind's eye I can still remember lining up on my school auditorium stage to get vaccinated for polio.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Krishna @1.1.1    4 months ago

What surprised me is that virtually EVERY State is green.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.5  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Krishna @1.1.2    4 months ago

I thought it was a combined vaccine also for mumps and measles. 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
1.1.6  Krishna  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.4    4 months ago
What surprised me is that virtually EVERY State is green.

Yes, kids entering school for the first time had to be vaccinated.

And of course I believe everyone who's served in the military. 

So its weird that all of a sudden a small group of people were freaking out over the prospect of getting the Covid vaccine-- they insisted it was a plot by the gov't!

(Some of the more extreme nutcases even claimed that the gov't put tiny electronic devices in the needles which they injected into your flesh so they could control you!).

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.7  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Krishna @1.1.6    4 months ago

That last sentence made me burst out laughing for the first time today.

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
1.1.8  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.3    4 months ago

Evening..yes we had it in Primary School and it was a pink liquid..no one gave it a second thought about not having it done..

All the parents knew of the outcome of anyone who caught polio and made sure we were all vaccinated against it..

The last case of polio here was 1972...when I was still in Primary School..

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     4 months ago

I read this story earlier today, 70 years in an iron lung how devastating.

I have only one or two words for the anti-vaxxers...Moosh noosh...Dumbass or dumb ass.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
3  charger 383    4 months ago

A few years ago, I wanted the singles vaccine before they started pushing it.  2 years after i went in for regular checkup and asked Doctor to look at a small rash on my leg, He said be glad you asked for shingles shot because you only got a little itch rather than a full case of shingles. 

I want all the protection I can get

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  charger 383 @3    4 months ago

I remember that my dad suffered with a case of the shingles.

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
3.1.1  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @3.1    4 months ago

Evening...I wasn't aware at the time there was a vaccine for shingles and I got shingles two years ago..this was the second time around for me and I still have the effects from it..these can be life long apparently..

I had the vaccine for shingles last year, cost $550 but far as I am concerned money very well spent..and I wouldn't wish shingles on anyone other than Putin..

As of January 1st this year the vaccine is now free here...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
3.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  charger 383 @3    4 months ago

I had a pt years ago who had shingles, and the effects lasted for several years.  He was in so much pain he said he didn't care if the woke up the next morning.  No meds helped at all.  I can't imagine years of that kind of pain.

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
3.2.1  shona1  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2    4 months ago

Evening Sandy..no it certainly isn't the best..for me it goes from burning to itching..it's all down the side of my head and the worst is my ear..drives me bonkers at times..

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Expert
3.2.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  shona1 @3.2.1    4 months ago

I'm so sorry, shona.  Are you able to take anything for pain relief?

 
 
 
shona1
Professor Quiet
3.2.3  shona1  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2.2    4 months ago

I find it is not so much pain but more of an irritation than anything..I know people who say it's painful but where the shingles was for me it alternates between intense itching and then a burning feeling..

The thing I find calms it down is just ordinary skin moisturiser..my ear which is the worst seems to get extremely dry and soon as I apply it seems to stop.

Heading into the third year of having it now so I can tend to ignore it and block it out...not much you can do for it as I have asked my GP and haematologist etc...

 
 

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