By: Patricia Hill
I was diagnosed with polio in 1944 when I was 18 months old and living at Balmoral Beach NSW. I spent 3 months in Wade House, Camperdown Children’s Hospital, was sent home supposedly cured and had physiotherapy until I was 5 years old.
I was not allowed play any sport (except swimming) due to a collapsed foot and shortened left leg. Eventually at 8 years of age l convinced my parents to let me learn tennis wearing one thick soled sandshoe and one thin soled sandshoe to balance the shortened leg but of course that didn’t last long as I snuck out the other thick soled sandshoe so I would look “normal”. I did quite well at tennis, was selected in school teams and played at No. 1. My father did not care how I went at school as long as I was healthy. So I left school after the Intermediate Certificate, did a secretarial course and worked in legal/education for many years, travelled overseas at 19 years of age and hitch hiked/camped around Europe with a cousin and friend. I was our district Open Singles champion, grass court Open Singles/Doubles champion, played the tennis circuit in New Zealand and won the South Island and National Open Ladies Doubles Championship titles and won numerous country tournament championships.
At around 50 years of age my body started to break down and since then I have had both knees replaced and both hips replaced. I currently wear a built up left shoe, ankle brace and orthotic for support. I have been having falls for no apparent reason – my leg just gives way. My voice is raspy and at times I have trouble swallowing food. I am not sleeping well and am constantly tired. I attend a Health Department exercise class for strength and regularly do exercises at home.
Other than the above I am happy, glad to be alive and still functioning at 80 years of age.