After getting out of the iron lung, plus many months ( actually years) in rehabilation, little David learned to walk with braces and crutches. He had steel and leather braces that went all the way up his body to just under his armpits. He could only use these contraptions for a few hours a day, as they were very heavy and cumbersome, especially for a little child. David spent the rest of his days in a wheelchair. He wasn't able to go to a public school until he was in 7th grade. Numerous hospitalizations, surgeries and extensive therapy, caused him to be stuck at home or in the hospital with various tutors. Finally the day came when he was allowed to go to school. The school board had wanted him to go to a special school, one that catered to children with developmental disabilites, mainly mental retardation. David's mom fought for him to be mainstreamed into a regular school. She had to prove he was up to grade level in all subjects and basically that there was nothing wrong with his brain, just with his body. David always spoke highly of his mother, declaring she was his hero and champion, that she had made him feel that he could overcome anything and that he deserved to be treated like anyone else.
Upon entering school, David faced many challenges. Wearing his braces became more trouble than they were worth. To go to the bathroom required assistance from a couple of people to remove the braces which were not just covering his legs but his lower torso. Often he would fall and getting him up entailed finding help from several people. At age 12 David chose to live the remainder of his life in a wheelchair as it actually gave him more mobility and independence than the braces. At first David's parents fought him on this decision but after conferring with his doctors, his teachers and friends, they saw the wisdom of his decision. His legs would never develop muscles, he would never be able to stand, or walk without the extensive braces, which were getting heavier with each growth spurt in order to support his weight. David moved on from being stuck in the braces, to being permanently stuck in a wheelchair.
Life in the wheelchair did not slow my husband down. He was very popular in Jr. High and High School. An excellent student, a reporter for the school newspaper, an artist, the ultimate gearhead and an all around nice guy. When the March of Dimes asked him to give a speech at his school to help raise funds for polio research, David gave such a moving speech that his small school in Los Gatos, California became famous for the amount of money raised from one student body. The kids emptied their pockets of their allowances, their lunch money and organized fundraisers. That school raised more money per capital than any other school in America.....all due to the words from the heart of a guy stuck in a wheelchair.
To be continued..............