The Monday before Thanksgiving has always been a very special day for me since 1955.
Six weeks earlier, my doctor had diagnosed me as having a severe case of the flu and had put me in the hospital.
On my first day there, I slid out of bed to go use the restroom. When I came back, I put my left foot on the stepping stool to climb back in bed, but it just sat there. So I put my right foot on the stool and was able to get back in bed.
The next time the nurse came by, I told her about that weird experience with my left foot. Her mouth dropped open. She said, “Oh my” and ran from the room. A few minutes later, she came back with a doctor and told me to lay in a fetal position. She wrapped her arms around my neck and knees and pulled with all her might. The doctor then started poking a needle in my back in about six or eight different places.
It was a “spinal tap.”
I did not have the flu. It was polio! I became totally paralyzed from the waist down and had to be plumbed into a gallon jug with a catheter. There was no hope for recovery. However, I was measured for a pair of locking knee braces for the very slight possibility that I might be able to use crutches someday.
Then, that Monday morning before Thanksgiving, I woke up knowing I didn’t need that plumbing, and that I could slide out of bed and walk. When I told the nurse, she said, “No, no, no. Whatever you do, do not try to walk! We can remove the catheter, but do not try to walk.”
Well, I was right about the plumbing, and by Tuesday, I talked them into letting me try to walk. Three doctors and three nurses gathered into a circle to catch me when I collapsed sliding out of bed. I didn’t collapse. I just slid out of bed and walked all around the room. One of the doctors said, “This has got to be an answer to prayer.”
On Wednesday, they let me go home for Thanksgiving, but “come back Monday!” On Monday, they watched me walking all around and said, “No use for him to hang around here anymore.”
I went to work as a heavy equipment mechanic at a logging camp, then drove a logging truck, and then drove a truck making deliveries of paper products for the old Zellerbach Paper Co. for 30 years.
The doctor was right when he said, “This has got to be an answer to prayer.” There were a lot of people praying for me. There can be no other explanation.
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