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John Kespert
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John Kespert   My Press Releases

Tale of a Grade School Drop-out Pt. 1

Published on 10/10/2015
For additional information  Click Here

Tale of a Grade School Drop-out Pt. 1

   You normally hear of high-school drop outs, but in my case, I didn't wait anywhere near that long to drop out of school. I quit right while I was in First Grade.

   Of course I did give school a try for a while. For two whole weeks! Each day I walked with my sister and other neighborhood kids to the Divine Elementary School. It seemed as though I was OK with the new regimen of learning letters and numbers and such (there was no such thing as kindergarten back in 1955).

Divine School


   But then one night I woke my parents up, complaining about not feeling good. I remember standing with my bare feet on the cool tile floor in the bathroom as I tried to explain to my Mom and Dad what was wrong. I felt hot and ached all over.

   When the family doctor came to the house the next day (they did that sort of thing back then), what he said didn't make me feel any better. He gave us the unhappy recommendation that my parents bring me to the hospital. I said no, I didn't want to go, but sadly sat in the back seat as they drove me there.

  The people at the hospital made me even more unhappy. They decided it would best if I stayed there. And my Mommy and Daddy explained to me that I'd have to be there for 6 weeks until I wasn't something called “contagious” and that they couldn't come back to see me until then. It was the worst day of my life. At least up until then.

   Well, I went from feeling sick to feeling very sick. And weak. I had had trouble using my hands, arms, and legs. I even had trouble breathing. Those people dressed in white did what they could to try to make me comfortable, but I kept feeling worse.

   Then those people tried to cheer me up by telling me I was going to get to be in a “rocket ship” that would help me feel better. They wheeled the bed I was on into to a room with that “rocket ship” which looked very much like this:

iron lung


   They opened that rocket ship up, revealing a bed inside. They carried me from the bed I was on and placed me on that new bed, and slid me up so my head stuck out so I could see things, and have my head resting on a cushioned shelf. Then they rolled the rocket bed back inside and sealed it shut. Then there was a noise, like the noise of a motor.

   Right when that noise began, I took a breath. It wasn't a struggle to do so. That noise continued and I continued to breathe. It felt a little weird, but it was ever so good not to strain to breathe. I still didn't feel good, but at least this was better, even if I could no longer move my arms or my legs.

   After only two weeks my Mom and Dad came to visit me. They told me it was because I had been such a good boy that they weren't made to wait the 6 weeks. I was happy to see them but I still felt really sick.

   They came to visit again, every day, either both together or one at a time. They tried to cheer me up. The weeks went by. Thanks to the “rocket ship” I could breathe. Gradually I felt a little better. But I couldn't move anything at all below my neck. That went on for weeks, then months.

   Then one day during a visit, while my Mom was talking with me, and she thought she saw something different through the window of “rocket ship.” She didn't mention it to me at the time, but later I learned it had looked like I'd moved one of my hands. The doctor confirmed that it was true. Apparently some of the nerves to my muscles were recovering. Only time and a lot of arduous therapy would determine how much movement I would regain, but at least it would be something.

   My Mom and Dad were happy for me. Any movement I could do on my own would mean I could something for myself, even if it was only to scratch an itch or shift my position a bit to be more comfortable. And maybe even some day I would be able to come home from the hospital.

   It wasn't until I was much older that I learned that it wasn't because I was such a “good boy” that my folks were allowed to visit after just two weeks. As you might have guessed from reading this, they were given permission to do that because it had been determined that it was very unlikely that I would live long enough for them to wait those 6 weeks.

   As it turned out I did survive through those 6 weeks and beyond. Polio did not end my life. That was 60 years ago, and although I still live with disabilities caused by the polio, I'm still alive and for the past 13 years have been very happily married to a wonderful gal who knows a little about disabilities herself, seeing how she was born with Cerebral Palsy, and has been a quadriplegic all her life. Yet even with those limitations we have so many things for which to be thankful. We thank God for His blessings to us and that He allows us to be a blessing to others.



    I hope you've enjoyed the first installment of “Tale of a Grade School Drop-out.” If you'd like to take a look at the others, here are the links to them: Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6, and Part 7.


   I invite you to visit my IBO Social Page to see the online business endeavors in which I am now involved.


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