|
|
|
The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee resident shares story of Shriners Hospital experience

  • Harold Palmer’s life was forever changed, thanks to a druggist in Holdenville. The Shawnee resident, now 90, recalled his experiences and remembers the help of one man — Carl C. Stanford — who also was a Shriner. With Stanford’s suggestion, Palmer’s mother took Harold ...
    • email print
  • Harold Palmer’s life was forever changed, thanks to a druggist in Holdenville.
    The Shawnee resident, now 90, recalled his experiences and remembers the help of one man — Carl C. Stanford — who also was a Shriner.
    With Stanford’s suggestion, Palmer’s mother took Harold to Shreveport, La., where Shriners International had opened its first hospital, two years earlier. Palmer was one of the first Oklahomans treated at the hospital in Shreveport.
    Palmer was born with clubbed feet, where feet are turned on their sides and those with the disability have to walk on their ankles.
    Palmer’s family wasn’t wealthy, like many in the area at that time, he said, but thanks to the help of the hospital, he was able to live a normal life.
    “This druggist told my mother ‘I think we can get him in there,’” Palmer said. “She was determined to get me down there.”
    Once in Shreveport, doctors looked at Palmer’s feet and said they could operate to correct his feet.
    “All I can remember, I can remember being in this room,” Palmer said. “I remember eating grapes.”
    He added he wasn’t sure if his mother or a nurse gave him the grapes.
    “At 4 years old, you don’t remember much,” Palmer said.
    His mother traveled back to Holdenville to take care of his brother, but returned to Shreveport about a month later.
    Since his surgery, Palmer said he’s been grateful to the hospital for curing his disability. While his family couldn’t pay for the surgery, they didn’t have to.
    The Shriners Hospital will treat children with a great need, such as Palmer’s need. They receive donations from individuals to help offset costs of surgeries and patient care.
    Walter Gilcrease, who himself is a Shriner, said he works with many children in Central and Western Oklahoma to see if the hospital can help. Currently, Gilcrease said he working with more than 1,000 children who may need help or have received help.
    Palmer also recalled a time he saw an adult with clubbed feet in Shawnee.
    “I’ve always thought, but for the grace of God, there goes me,” he said. “I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without that surgery.”
    Since his retirement, Palmer has tried to give monetarily to the Shriners when he could.
    “I’ll always give my thanks to three things,” Palmer said. “My mother, the Shriner in Holdenville and the Shriner’s Hospital doctors.”
    ———
    Josh Burton may be reached by calling 214-3926.
      • calendar