Vicky Tulle, Cornwall Dreaming, Acrylic on canvas, 2020
Vicky Tulle | Student Reflection
M will be 95 years old this August 2020. She had polio when she was 18 months old after contracting measles as a result of what was then called, ‘Infantile Paralysis’. M has always worn a calliper on her left leg and uses a mobility scooter when required. M said that in England you must have a licence and she believes there should be a test for this here too. M still lives on her own at home and enjoys freedom and independence as well as visiting the riverside. M lived in Manchester, England, where her husband worked for 25 years in the Royal Air Force earning three stripes and a crown. They also lived in Scotland, Wales and Singapore. M found Singapore hot and humid and eventually left for Australia.
One of M’s most cherished memories is the cliff-face views of the ocean at Cornwall in South West England. Her daughter was born there while her husband worked in the forces. My painting depicts M and her husband enjoying a spectacular view of the Cornish coast. The callipers symbolise the medical affliction that has been her lifelong companion.
Patient Story | 'Survivor'
I wanted to walk and something went wrong; my left leg froze. My support worker was with me and called the ambulance. In hospital, I thought I wasn’t going to walk again. It filled me with fear. I am still frightened that it will happen again.
I was unable to volunteer for charity organisations when this happened. Now, I am having physiotherapy to help my recovery. I hope to God that I can continue to manage at home. While in hospital, at least I could talk to others and make them laugh. I will talk to everybody. I am not a grumpy old woman.
When I was 14 months old, I had polio after having measles. Since then, I wore a splint on my left leg.
I never knew my family until I was 16 years old as I was sent away to live – that was the way in England if you had polio. I have always been independent – if I can do anything myself, I will.
In current circumstances (CoVid-19), my family from Sydney haven’t been able to see me for some time.
Advice to others: “When in hospital accept anything that is going on with your care medically and most of all keep your sense of humour”.
Poliomyelitis is caused by the poliovirus. The infection is transmitted faecal-orally and is highly contagious. Complications of polio can include lifelong paralysis which can worsen with age. Vaccination is recommended in all infants to prevent this debilitating disease.