Walter’s life experience in Chapter Two has him dealing with illness for far longer than ever imagined. But he was inspired by two that overcame crippling illness of their own. The Q & A section extracts pertinent information from each chapter of his life and presents it as questions and answers.
Q. Before antibiotics combined with other drugs were found to be an effective treatment for
tuberculosis, what techniques were most commonly used to aid the body in healing?
A. Bed rest; pneumothorax (temporarily collapsing the lung); and thoracoplasty (removing ribs
from the chest wall in order to permanently collapse the infected lung).
Q. Who were Walter’s inspiration and role models during the tough times at Otisville?
A. Anna and Eadie, his cousins who were stricken with polio when they were young. They spent
many months in iron lungs until they were finally able to breathe on their own and learned to
Q. Walter describes the sanitarium as being like a prison. How were they similar?
A. The look and smell; the many rules; the burden of having to earn privileges. Although the
patients shared a common goal—to recover and be allowed to leave the sanitarium–they felt
very anxious about their ability to function outside the walls where they spent so many years.
Q. What was Walter’s greatest fear following his discharge from the sanitarium?
A. A relapse. He had to weigh himself every week to make sure he wasn’t losing weight, which
was a common symptom of TB. On the way to the store where he weighed himself, he would
have anxiety attacks about having a relapse.
Q. Who was Walter’s first employer after the sanitarium?
A. Henry and Fritz at the neighborhood ice cream parlor hired Walter to be a soda jerk.
Q. What happened that caused Walter to once again reflect on his life and his calling?
A. Fritz decided to enter a monastery.
Q. What famous company hired Walter as a junior accountant, which started his long and
successful business career?
A. Sperry Gyroscope Company
Q. How often do you take time to reflect and think about life?