Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


Laboratory Bill for Spinal Tap

Barbara Pastwik Oniszczak; 1949; Children's Hospital of Buffalo; Buffalo, New York

Here is the only paperwork I have signifying I had polio. It is for the spinal tap I had which resulted in a diagnosis of polio. At the time I had the spinal tap, my mother was told that I was no longer contagious. I was not admitted to any hospital. My mom was told to take me home and keep me comfortable since I was already starting to feel a bit better. I had difficulty walking and had pain in my legs. My mom and grandmother gave me warm baths and massaged and exercised my legs despite the crying I did while having these done.

This laboratory bill was one that my parents could not afford to pay; hence, the bill was forwarded to my uncle to pay. He did so willingly. There was no medical insurance in 1949, so liability for payment rested with the family.

My family never heard of any camps or social events for polio survivor children, so I never met anyone who had polio until I was an adult. At age 50, I met for the first time a person who had polio and was willing to talk about it.

Being diagnosed with PPS, my mother finally agreed to talk with me about polio, but she cried while sharing that time of her life with me. I can't imagine what my mom and family went through during my lifetime. Most will not talk about it, so it must have been catastrophic to my family as a whole.


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