April, 2002 Meeting Notes

by Fredson T. Bowers, Jr.

The April 20, 2002 meeting at the United Parish Church of Auburndale was attended by 50 members and guests.

After the customary self-introductions and announcements, Jack Memishian introduced Sally Johnson LICSW, a social worker at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, who spoke on "Communication, Coping and Change." Sally told us that post-polio individuals and their families need to grieve and to go through the process from initial denial to ultimate acceptance. Developing coping strategies can be helpful in this journey. Family and signifcant others may become frustrated and overly protective, thus preventing the post-polio individual from achieving his or her full potential.

The panel consisting of Mary Ronayne, Dick Iliff and Carol Meyer was then introduced. Mary spoke about the concept of woundedness - we need to acknowledge that we have been wounded by polio and to realize that polio does not define who we are as individuals. Dick represented the viewpoint of family members and significant others, and pointed out that they need to make adjustments also. Carol talked about coping strategies and her own experiences in accepting her limitations and adjusting to change.

The gathering then split up into three discussion groups, each moderated by one of the panel members. The conversation in each group expanded upon the ideas presented by the moderator in the panel presentation.

Refreshments and time for socializing followed. All agreed that the format of the meeting was excellent and should be tried again. Many thanks to Sally Johnson and to the panel moderators. Thanks also to the volunteers who set up the meeting room and cleaned up afterwards. We appreciate the efforts of the Girl Scouts who brought the refreshments, arranged the tables and then returned to clean up.

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