In 1948, at the age of eleven and before the advent of life-saving vaccines, Martha Mason contracted polio. Although she survived the disease itself, it left her a quadriplegic confined to an iron lung, and her parents were advised that she would not live out the year. Martha not only exceeded those discouraging estimates regarding her potential life expectancy, but graduated as valedictorian from high school, earned a college degree, and lived to the astounding age (under the circumstances) of 71. She lived in her iron lung for 61 years, and this is her autobiography.
The experience, or even the idea, of an iron lung is more or less foreign today, so this was a quite fascinating read, as well as a curious peek into a time gone by. NB: As of 2014 there remained 10 people worldwide still living in iron lungs.
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