Dandelions And Polio Survivors?

by Carol Meyer, GBPPA Member

Dandelions! You see them popping up overnight in your lawn this time of year, don't you? We all know that they are a lawn perfectionist's worst nightmare; however, have you ever stopped to think how much we polio warriors have in common with the dandelion?

Haven't we polio survivors had our playful moments? Haven't our Type A personalities led us to be very productive contributors to society? Well, the dandelion has this kind of appeal, too. You just can't beat its bright perky yellow face smiling up at you from a green lawn, can you? And remember all of the necklaces and tiaras you made from dandelions when you were little? Did you ever have someone brush a dandelion blossom under your chin and tell you, if it made you smile, that it meant you liked butter? All of this whimsy aside, the dandelion is very useful, too. Lots of people I know enjoy dandelion greens to eat, and I'm told that dandelions make darned good wine.

On a personal note, I can relate to the dandelion a lot! Because of my scoliosis and my tracheotomy, I've often felt out of place and inferior; even if this was just a message in my own head, I believed it to be true at the time. As a child in the hospital with acute polio, I felt terrified... and still do at times when I'm having trouble breathing... just as the dandelion must feel when the lawn perfectionist goes after it with that killer spray! Many consider the dandelion "less than" when compared to other plants; they call it a weed or maybe even something worse! I have spent many years of my life feeling this way among able-bodied people; and as a teenager, I remember overhearing a store clerk refer to me as "that hunchback". I do know what the dandelion goes through. Been there! Done that! Hated it!

Yes, indeed! I have a real soft spot in my heart for the dandelion. It has many of the same traits that we polio survivors have. It's strong-willed... just like we are. It's resilient... so are we. It's valiant and heroic, surviving under the harshest conditions when other plants wilt and die. We polio survivors have beaten the odds on many occasions, haven't we? The dandelion has a radiant essence that can light up a lawn... just as our determination and zest for life lights up the room at our support group meetings. So let's hear it for the dandelion! Let's hear it for all of us polio survivors! Yes! YES! YEEEESSSS!

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