WORCESTER – As Michael Schildcrout lies in bed at night in a nursing facility breathing with the aid of a respirator, his head is filled with adventures of Mousie and Lousie, two human-like mice that he writes about, patiently typing their endless escapades one letter at a time with only one finger.
At 74, Mr. Schildcrout, a physicist, keeps his mind active at the Wingate at Worcester, where he has lived nearly five years, with his passion for writing children’s books. His first book, “The Adventures of Mousie and Lousie,” published in 2015 when he was 72, is a collection of 15 short stories and is available on Amazon. His second, “Mousie and Lousie Return to Mars,” is a short story continuing their adventures and is available digitally on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com with the paperback version coming soon, he said.
In poor health since childhood, Mr. Schildcrout persevered. He contracted polio in August 1955, when he was 12, he said – one of the last people from his home state of New York to be diagnosed before the vaccine became available. It caused a severe curvature in his back.
He underwent three partially successful operations for it, but the lasting effects of polio left him without the use of his right arm, and weakness in his left arm and legs. He would go on to earn a doctorate in physics and work as a physicist for the government on aircraft carriers and submarines with the Office of Naval Intelligence for 34 years until he retired in October 2010 in Charleston, South Carolina.
“For a long time after contracting polio, I was able to walk without a cane and carry on a normal life,” he said. “That ended with the mitral valve defect.”
After retiring, he underwent open-heart surgery in July 2011 to repair a defective mitral valve discovered in his heart.
“The operation was a failure and made my condition much worse,” he said.
After spending a short time at a nursing…