• The British Polio Fellowship

Lock Down Diaries - King's Lynn

Just before lockdown there was a series of programmes about survivors of concentration camps. I was touched by the fact that survivors said that they always carried their childhood trauma with them throughout the rest of their lives. One survivor was an artist who made sculpture or the human figure. To me they all appeared very contorted and expressive of pain and his past childhood trauma.

For some time I had been considering doing some paintings from my childhood. The first month of lock down I became totally immersed in two paintings that depicted scenes from my childhood.

The first is of my older, and much idolised, brother Peter, when he had polio. He survived for a year in the iron lung before he died. I of course was considered a lucky survivor of polio, and I am grateful that my parents did not live to see me suffer from PPS.

The second painting is of him and me building sandcastles on the beach, probably a couple of years before Polio came to disrupt our family life.

While I am not happy that Covid has disrupted our lives so much, I am aware of the similarities of this Pandemic to the Polo epidemics of my childhood, and am grateful that it gave me the opportunity to look back to those years of my childhood.

Sue O’Brien

King’s Lynn Group

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