Polio survivor rediscovers love for painting after being confined due to coronavirus

HOUSTON – A 76-year-old woman who survived the poliovirus has now rediscovered her love for painting after being confined to her independent living facility for seniors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pat Coatsworth, of Houston, says when she wasn’t sure how she would handle the lockdown when she first got the news.

"When they said, ‘We want you to stay in your apartment until this is over.’ I’m thinking, ‘I am a social person. I cannot do this,’” Coatsworth said.

Coatsworth said she turned to painting to pass time, a craft she picked up years ago as a hobby. She completed her first painting in isolation on March 29 and since then, she has done one a day. She’s now finished 24 paintings, most of which have gone to her children and five grandkids.

Time has helped Coatsworth physically and emotionally cover the scars and memories of polio that she endured as a child in West Texas. The survivor sees parallels between that epidemic and what the world is dealing with now.

"Everybody that lived here remembered going through that virus epidemic," she said. "And how scared they were that they were going to get it."

Tuesday’s painting has helped Coatsworth take the focus off the chaos by honing in on her adopted craft.

“When you’re painting, you can’t worry about the virus, you can’t worry about whether your stocks have gone through the floor and that you’re broke,” Coatsworth said. “You can’t worry about much of anything else.”

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