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Camping with a Cuirass

Audrey King; 1958; New Brunswick, Canada

As a teenager in 1958 it was devastating to discover I must again rely on assisted ventilation. I had been out of the iron lung for five years and honestly believed I’d never have to face it again. This time it was only the "cuirass,” a chest size airtight intermittent vacuum chamber, and I only had to use it at night, but it felt like an enormous encumbrance and a new embarrassment to my life.

My parents, always willing to make the best of things, thought otherwise. 

We went camping that summer, towing a small trailer with all my gear in it, behind our car. When we got to the Bay of Fundy National Park in New Brunswick (Canada) the reserved camping site was very far from the utility complex where electricity was provided. I needed to breathe that night. What was I to do? My father went to the local Canadian Tire store and purchased hundreds of yards of electrical cord which he wound through the trees until it eventually reached an electrical outlet.  

Our holiday was saved!


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