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Robert "Zig" Burns
I remember the hot packs. I remember them bringing the machine in and having the hot packs. I remember going down to the pool. They would bring me down in the gurney there and then they would drop me in. There'd be physical therapists in there that worked on me.
One of the things that I always remember: my mother and father used to come down every single day, and I was the youngest of six -- well, actually, four. Two had died before I was born. And my mother was older when she had me. So of course, I could do no wrong, and now Zig's paralyzed. I remember one day -- they came down every single day, and I`ve told this very often -- they got a call one day from the Children's Hospital to come down at ten o'clock or eleven o'clock, and my mother must have known something was up, because she asked the parish priest to come with them.
So, I don't know, ten o'clock in the morning, but I remember laying there, and I was 12 years old, and I can remember rows and rows and rows of white coats, and there were physical therapists and doctors and everybody. They were going to use me on the clinic for my legs. My mother and father and Father Scanlan, who was a family friend and a parish priest, and Dr. Grice came walking in. I can still see him. He had on a blue shirt, and he had on a polka dot bow tie, white coat. Obviously, it was an epidemic year, so they had to be very candid, and he went to my mother and father, and he said, "We've done all these tests." He says good chance I'll never walk again without some sort of-well, of course, my mother crying. The priest is hugging my mother. My father doesn't know what to do. [Cries]
I remember he came over to me, and he said, "Son, did you hear what I said? You may never walk again without some sort of braces."
And I looked him in the eye, and I said, "The hell I won't."