Friday, January 10, 2003

Cardinal George discusses his childhood bout with polio

George, now 65, was a 13-year-old boy on Chicago's Northwest Side when he was diagnosed with polio.

"The big problem I had at 13 was I couldn't run any longer, I couldn't play ball, and I couldn't do a lot of things that I was looking forward to," he said. "At the very moment when that process was beginning, suddenly there was a new process, and I had to go into a consideration of what can't I do . . . instead of what can I do."

George, who wears a brace on his leg and special shoes, still occasionally battles feelings of resentment because of what he calls his disability. "But a life of resentment is a crippled life," he said.

It was a few weeks before Christmas 1950 when George, who had been suffering from symptoms that doctors at first mistook for rheumatic fever and the flu, was diagnosed with polio. Young George entered St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he remained for three months.

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