Saturday, February 14, 2009

Freedom

"Hello there. This is a wonderful day for me... Five minutes out of my iron lung... Five minutes out of my little prison... my kind and friendly prison."

-Polio survivor commenting on her progress. The ellipses in the quote represent pauses for the patient to stop and gulp breathes of air. She was still paralyzed and hadn't yet been removed from the iron lung, although it had been opened and she was breathing on her own. As seen in old footage during an American Experience episode called "The Polio Crusade".
I had recorded the episode a few weeks ago and finally got around to watching it this afternoon. When the recording stopped a commercial for Cialis was playing. I went from watching a program about the medical miracle of the 1950s to seeing a commercial for the medical miracle of the day. One might think our era compares unfavorably to the prior era in this regard, but one would be (partially) wrong. Freedom from the fear of such diseases as polio allows us to concern ourselves with much more trivial matters. Unfortunately such freedom creates a softness of spirit, even if the Cialis stiffens other things.

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