Paul Alexander, a 76-year-old man who has spent most of his life confined to an iron lung, exemplifies how the only limitations we impose on ourselves.
Paul recalls coming home one day when he was about six years old and telling his mother that he didn’t feel well. Paul had been a normal child up until that point. He was animated and enjoyed being around other children. “Oh my God, not my son,” Paul remembered his mother saying.
He couldn’t understand what was wrong or what was going on because he was too young to understand that he had contracted polio, a contagious viral illness that causes nerve injury, paralysis, difficulty breathing, and sometimes death in its most severe
Children who appear to have recovered completely can experience new muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis as adults 15 to 40 years later, known as post-polio syndrome.
Paul’s condition deteriorated over a few days. His parents rushed him to the hospital because he had a fever and muscle pain. He wasn’t alone there. Unfortunately, many children who had contracted the virus were waiting to be treated, even though there is no known cure.
Paul was initially declared dead, but another doctor approached him and decided to perform an emergency tracheotomy. He was placed inside an iron lung immediately following surgery