My grandmother, Vera, had six children. In 1949, five of them were stricken with polio before they had reached their teenage years. My father was severely affected, losing the use of one arm and one leg. But by far the hardest hit was my Uncle Rudy. At age 8, he was nearly killed by the disease. He needed an iron lung, but none were available. Machinists in Bloomington, Illinois heard of his plight, got together, and came up with a "wooden lung."
That wooden lung saved my uncle's life, and he proceeded to live longer than anyone could have anticipated.
The one who took care of him day in and day out for nearly 60 years was my grandmother. She passed away last year before I had a chance to ask her how she did it.