The x-ray machine was taken into my ward when required, but then there was an occasion when I was taken in a wheelchair across the yard to the general hospital for x-ray and that was the only time I remember being outside my ward. By this time I was being lifted out of bed to sit on a chair by the window. However the lower half of the glass was painted for privacy (today it would be modern blinds) and I couldn't see out unless I held the window rail and stood up. This I did, but after a very short time, severe pain in my legs made me sit again.
The treatment was severe but I didn't talk about it and would never discuss it with anyone. Luckily medicine has advanced a lot in 50 years.
I lived in a wee world of my own in my isolation ward. I had a transistor radio and I enjoyed listening to music, and I liked to read. I can honestly say that I never felt bored. I wasn't aware of how ill I actually was, and was months in hospital before I asked my mother one day "what is wrong with me?".
By Christmas of 1956 I could get around a room by holding onto furniture and in March 1957 I was released from hospital, but had to go back for check-ups every month, which meant a week-long stay in hospital.
Very slowly as time passed I grew stronger and my balance improved. I was determined to get going and to do what everyone else could do, but the task I faced was huge and balance was my big problem. I was very unsteady on my feet, couldn't climb stairs or steps without a handrail and couldn't walk or stand in the dark. These are simple things, but for me they were mountains. My sister took me to a dance, I was 18. The dance floor was about 3 inches below the area where patrons stood and I remember thinking, "what if someone asks me to dance, how am I going to get down that step?". That's all I remember about that night except for the music being good which was my main reason for going. I loved to watch the jive but that is one thing I could never do because if one were to let go of my hand I would fall, or if someone bumped into me they would knock me down.
As the years passed I learned to cope and adapt to my situation and with determination I could do pretty much everything. I got married and have two adult sons and live in Dublin. I love to travel and do so at any opportunity.