(In 1952, polio reached its peak in the United States with 21,000 cases of paralytic polio. The first polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. By 1965, the total paralytic cases had fallen to 61. In this fictionalized history series, we will be experiencing the aftermath of polio, before the dramatic triumph of a vaccine. If you're just joining us, go back to Part 1.)
Julia set the stuffed animals aside.
She was tired of playing.
The rabbit saved the frog from the bird with the curving beak. The frog saved the rabbit from the squishy snake.
Boring. She was tired of talking with a lisp.
Downstairs, her mother was on the phone. Talking about her fever dropping, probably. The close call. The illness she never named.
Her bladder weighed on her. Kind of suddenly. It was full enough to go.
She slipped her legs from under the covers.
Tipped them over the edge of the bed.
She moved to stand, but her legs moved like syrup. The touch of the hardwood floor on her skin felt prickly and numb.
"Julia?" her mother called from the bottom the stairs. She sounded scared.
Julia couldn't get those heavy legs under her.
"I'm, I'm okay," she said.
Nothing's wrong. Nothing's wrong.
But she felt the pressure let loose.
The urine flowed.
And nothing she did could stop it.
On to Part 5.
Back to Part 3.