Brrrrrrr,It is cold outside.

Blog #2                                  Brrrrrrr, It is cold outside.


In the Midwest we have been experiencing extremely cold temperatures. We are in a 72 hour weather warning which started on Saturday, January 16, 2016. It will continue into Monday. Forecasters warned of being in the temperatures for extended periods of time. Our rural church was cancelled last evening in anticipation for today’s Sunday worship. With many elderly folks we do not want them to be out in minus -40 degree weather. With social media I hope all got the message to stay home and be safe. Our church prayer chain was also activated last evening to get the message to as many as possible.

Winter is a time to slow down and stay inside. For me, a time to get things accomplished that get overlooked during the rest of the year. The only occupation that does not feel this slower pace would be a dairy, cattle farmer or rancher. With the extra work that comes their way with caring for their cattle it can require a lot more time and energy.

My father’s occupation was a dairy farmer. He loved those cows. Hard work, yes, but he did it his whole life until retirement. Tomorrow will mark the third anniversary of his death. After years of his battle with cancer his journey ended on January 18, 2013. The weather was much as it now. We looked at the upcoming weather and decided that we should have his funeral service on January 22, 2013 because the weather should have been not so cold. That plan did not work out so well because when we arrived at the church and started getting things ready for the service we discovered that the water was frozen. We could not begin to start making coffee and then realized that we also could not flush the stools. With 150-200 people going to be arriving soon that was not a good thing. The local well digger came, thawed out the pump and things would be just fine.

My father-in-law had his wake on the eve of the Midwest Hall-o-ween storm of 1991. Another Midwest winter snow storm. His service was postponed for five days and moved to a church in town from the same rural church because of no electricity.

Tomorrow schools, in our area, will be starting 2 hours late as the –temperatures continue into Monday. A break will follow the next day. Our 72 hours will be over.

A time in my past was shared with a very good friend as we enjoyed some time in the snow on the farm. Lots of fun things do take place in the winter with snowmobiling, skating, sledding and hockey. When our children were small a horse pulling a sleigh through the woods made a wonderful Sunday afternoon activity. With 63 days until spring we will need to find beauty in the snow covered trees, hoarfrost, sundogs and enjoy the beauty of winter. It will soon be over.

Spring is just 63 days (March 20, 2016) away. Camping season is just around the corner. Really—Camping is just around the corner. Stay warm.


Living with Polio

It could happen at any age, it didn’t matter if you were 10, 20 or 30+. The virus would attack the body with a fever, headache, fatigue and sore throat. For many a full recovery was made and nothing went beyond this point. Since I was so young when I contracted the virus I couldn’t tell my mother what was wrong when I was so ill at 6 months.  My mother visited our local Doctor every day for a week before he directed my parents to take me to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. From that day to now I have lived my life with the effects of infantile paralysis (polio).

polio, crutches, all the steps,

Linda at the age of 4

As a young child I learned to navigate my way around with the use of braces and crutches.  I learned to walk after being admitted as a patient for therapy and taught how to use braces and crutches. I was so young that I don’t remember this process, I’ve only been told and shown pictures. When I look at pictures from the past, I’ve noticed that I always had a contagious smile on my face and was always happy despite my challenges!

Polio, crutches, survivor, all the steps

Linda at the age of 10. In the background you can see a small remaining section of the fence.

I grew up on the family farm. My parents put a fence around the yard to keep me safe from machinery and other farm equipment.  It didn’t take long for them to realize that they were not going to be able to fence me in, because I used my crutches to reach the latch and undo the fence and I was off. They later took the fence down, and decided to let me try and do anything I wanted to do, without limitations.  As an adult I am so grateful that they let me exceed my boundaries. I have never been afraid to try anything I thought I could accomplish.

Each summer entailed yet another surgery to improve my mobility. Every summer I would have surgery shortly after school was dismissed and I would spend the rest of the summer healing so I could return to school in the fall. Sometimes I would return to school still needing to use crutches. When I was 15 I had my last surgery to get rid of my last brace.  I was so excited to finally be able to go without braces on my legs.  Forrest Gump said. “If God wanted us all to be the same, he would have made all of us wear braces on our legs.”

polio, survivor, crutches, all the steps

Linda at the age of 15 with her grandpa Reimann and cousins Cheri & Barb

My journey has made no significant change. It is  still the same challenge everyday.  This is an update with a  corrected address for wordpress.

Then and Now

                                                Then and Now

Then: 1948.

Linda at St. Mary's 18 months old

Linda at St. Mary’s 18 months old

It was hard to know what to do.  They did the best they could with what anyone knew. This was happening to my parents. Imagine a small child, 6 months old, very sick with a fever that wouldn’t go away. I was a crying baby needing help and parents not knowing how to help. In the fall of 1948 I became very sick and my mother took me to the local Doctor for advice every day for a week. Sulfur was administered for an ear infection, but the fever didn’t go away. The day came when my mother lifted my legs to change my diaper, I cried so hard.  At that point my parents were told to take me to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.  Do not call, just go. The Doctor feared that I might have Polio, poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis. He also feared that if they called they would say they were too full and send me to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Polio was a very contagious disease that crippled thousands of children in the late 40’s and early 50’s. I spent 14 months at St. Mary’s before I could go home. My older sister didn’t get to play with me, my parents didn’t get to hold me, and I became attached to the nurses that were taking care of me. It was very frightening for the nurses, as many had children at home and did not want their children to get polio.

Now: 2012

Because Jonas Saulk began his work at the University of Pittsburg in 1947 to find a vaccine for polio many children have be spared. In 1952 Salk first tried the vaccine on kids who already had polio and were recovering and found that their antibodies increased. In 1954 more than 1.8 million school children in 44 states participated in the filed trial of the new vaccine. It was the largest controlled study in the history of medicine. A vaccine became available in 1955. Rotarians by the thousands are working so hard to eradicate polio world wide so we will never have to see children affected as I was as a child. By 1964, only 122 cases of polio were recorded in the United States. The World Health Organization certified the Americans were polio free in 1994. But, polio is still crippling children in three countries today.  They are Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Polio can easily jump the borders. India will soon celebrate that they are polio free. By 2008, Rotarians had contributed more than US $700 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more the two billion children in 122 countries.  Rotary is still working today to “End Polio Now”. We can’t stop. I wear my “End Polio Now” pin every day. I will share my story in  Schools to help children understand that some children are different than they are, as I was growing up.

” The Final Inch”

The Final Inch

“The Final Inch”

                                                “The Final Inch”

The polio vaccine has been around for 50 years yet we are still trying to eradicate the disease polio. Poliomyelitis is a disease that had three actual types of virus. One of them caused vomiting and flu type systems. Children and adults usually recovered from this type with no ill effects. The second type caused paralysis to arms, legs, shoulders or in combination of places. The third type is Bulbar and this is the one that can kill. It is the one that tells our heart to beat and our diaphragm to push and pull air. Polio is a virus the spreads by drinking contaminated water. One must wash their hands.

Uttar Pradesh, India has 187,000 million people and has the largest concentration of polio.  The World Health Assembly, Unicef and Rotary are working very hard to “End Polio Now.” India has had 4 million volunteers to work to eradicate polio and in January 2013 they will celebrate no new cases for 2012.  It will be a Celebration.  It hasn’t been easy but the work has been completed there.  Now Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan still are in need of volunteers to get the job of vaccination completed. It is down to the last 1%.

Rotary is today the quiet army that is working so hard to finish “The Final Inch”. We are this close. The foot soldiers in the war to end polio, have become the largest non-military organization in human history working toward the final goal of ending polio cases world wide.  We must reach the poorest areas in the world. If not, polio will be just a plane ride away.

The History of the Polio Timeline reported from 1945-1949 that there were 20,000 new cases each year in the United States. In 1952 the largest number, 58,000 cases of polio were reported in the United States. The following year in 1953, Dr. Jonas Saulk started his field trials. In 1955 the vaccine became available to the public and we all remember lining up to receive the vaccine at local schools nation wide.

We must keep working until the last 1% is reached so that no more children will have to live a life of challenge, with the effects of poliomyelitis, as I have since 1948. I live each day with prayer, patience, prioritize and persistance to make my day as normal as possible.

End Polio Now “We are this close”

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a serious disease caused by a virus the affect’s a person’s nervous system, by causing paralysis and death. Polio is mainly spread by ingesting items that are contaminated by an infected person. Polio can also be spread through, water, and uncooked food.  It mainly affects children younger than 5 years old, but all unvaccinated people of any age are at risk.

In the late 40’s and early 50’s polio crippled around 35,000 people each year in the United States.  It was the most feared disease of the twentieth century. By 1979 the United States became polio free.

Because Dr Jonas Salk knew he had a highly effective vaccine in 1953, he vaccinated his wife and sons against the disease. It became available to the general public in 1955. Dr. Salk and the March of Dimes brought relief to the nation. When  President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March od Dimes in 1938, he could not have imagined that on the 10th Anniversary of his death, April 12, 1955 it would facilitate a medical miracle that was to reduce the incidence rate of polio in the U.S. by 96 percent.

“We are this Close.”  This is the campaign for Rotary International.  Now the polio vaccine must make it to those who are hardest to reach in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan where the disease still exists.  In 2010 India reported forty-two cases. In 2011 only one case was reported. If India makes it to December 31, 2012,with no cases, it will be celebrated as having irradiated polio.

linda at Rotary meeting

Linda at 11th Rotary Foundation Celebration District 5960

Polio vaccination campaigns take place about every six weeks in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  More than 50,000 teams fan out across 60 districts to inoculate millions of children.  It is the most remote villages in the world.  The vaccine travels primarily by jeeps until the road runs out. Then donkeys, horses and boats and the teams take it to the children to give doses of the vaccine every 3 to 6 months.  The vaccine is kept cold in ice filled cooler for transportation.

Eradication of polio is a global goal.  The entire world must receive the vaccine to “End Polio Now”.  “We are this Close” to reaching the last 1%. Please help the Polio Plus program, sponsored by Rotary International, to make this happen. Polio is only a plane ride away until all children world wide receive the vaccine.

Vaccine recommendations: Infants and Children. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all infants and children in the United States should receive 4 doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) administered at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years of age. This information is current as of October 18, 2012. Vaccinated adults who travel to an ‘at risk’ area should receive an adult booster dose before departure. Unvaccinated adults should consult their doctor before departure.

Go Above and Beyond or do Nothing? It’s your Choice.

Go Above and Beyond or do nothing?   It’s your choice.

Polio, Dad and daughter, Surviver, All the Steps,

Dad and me at ST. Mary’s

“I didn’t choose polio. I didn’t choose the crutches, cane, and braces; I chose to thrive.”  Thriving is what I did from as early as I can remember.  So little I was when polio had a chance to slow me down. I do not remember those days when my parents had to leave me at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. How heart breaking it would have been for my young parents to come to visit me and I didn’t respond to them as my parents. My hospital stays were long and I am very sure the nurses did the best they could to provide the nurturing care that I needed as an infant, but there is nothing like a mother and fathers love.

It has always been, and continues today, that I do the very best I can with any task that I put in place. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  My children dreaded summer when 4-H projects were due for the county fair. They didn’t care so much for the theory that I had about doing their project “right”. But “right” is what won Blue ribbons and a chance to advance to State fair.  Many State fair trips were won.  Now they look back and realize that “right” is the way to go. The best part is that now it is their choice and not mine.

polio, mom and me, All the Steps, family,

Mom and me at St. Mary’s Hospital

Now, as an adult, my physical limitations do make a difference in how I finish projects. They are still finished in the proper manner but it takes a lot more time and effort and it is hard for me to realize that I may not get it all done today. The sun will always come out tomorrow and deadlines can be managed by being extremely organized and focused. It is now possible for me to say “NO” on occasion if I think the project will be more difficult than I care to pursue.  Whatever handicap polio has left me with; polio will never claim my life or my spirit. My morning jump start with my prayer time and coffee always get off to a running start. “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil.  It has no point.” I am going to keep my pencil very sharp.

I know that my family appreciates all that I can do for them.  Each day will begin with early morning phone calls from them with things I can do to help make their day more manageable. I always am most happy to be able to help them anyway that I can.

I chose to go above and beyond. What will you choose?

Annivarsary picture, polio, gathering

Christianson Family