Fighting disease in the 1940s


Back in the early 1940s, Windham kids lined up to get two inoculations – smallpox and diphtheria. One little fat girl at John Andrew school was safe until the summer when she got whooping cough, sometimes called strep throat – or rheumatic fever in those days.

Quickly she slimmed down, and her whooping could be heard the whole length of the country driveway. There was no vaccine as there is now.

At age 19, she was told she had a heart murmur and always would. At 59 she underwent open heart surgery (hundreds of thousands of dollars) and to this day has weekly visits to maintain the heart valve that replaced her own mitral valve, destroyed by those early diseases.

That chubby girl was me.

Thankfully, not many of us got polio for which there was no vaccine yet.

Today the miracle of medical research has saved countless lives. Think carefully about what your choice will be. It could be more far reaching than you can imagine.

Windham in the 1940s was war time against countries – and disease. Hope we’ve all learned from that history lesson.