Reporter’s notebook: How my dad, 106, survived the ‘various’ pandemic – the Spanish flu

By | March 27, 2020

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My father, Ed Palkot, has a sure perspective on the most modern coronavirus pandemic.

He’s sheltering in snarl now in his suburban New York home. And he is 106. He survived the final fundamental world ‎pandemic.

MORE THAN 100 YEARS BEFORE CORONAVIRUS, THE SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC RAVAGED THE GLOBE

That one infected 500 million of us across the area and killed some 50 million, 675,000 within the U.S.

‎American cities were namely onerous-hit, including Pittsburgh, Penn. The metropolis of staunch over half of-a-million on the time noticed 4,500 deaths from the virus and 24,000 reported situations. And Dad used to be one of them.

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Edward Palkot with his mother Mamie and father John.

Edward Palkot with his mother Mamie and father John.
(Greg Palkot)

Edward used to be 5 years light. Primarily based on him, he doubtlessly contracted the “dreaded disease” from his “playmates.” Unlike the most modern COVID-19, the Spanish flu hit youthful of us more durable than the elderly.

“These that drank whiskey escaped the flu,” Dad recalls his mother Mamie suggesting, “these who did now not, succumbed.”   

Genuinely, Dad’s mother and father were graceful. Ed, the last note tiny one on the time, purchased the distinction.

Pittsburgh’s mayor reluctantly followed guidance from Pennsylvania authorities to shut public areas, so the virus got right here with a vengeance. The metropolis scrambled to location up makeshift hospitals. People crowded in, struggled to breathe, their lungs filling with liquid. There were no respirators then.

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Edward Palkot with caregiver, Tina

Edward Palkot with caregiver, Tina
(Greg Palkot)

Dad’s “dear” mother fortunately determined to defend him at home, providing him with “cautious nursing.” His room used to be easy but cushy, warmed by a gas location heater. Edward used to be attended to by the Palkot family GP, Dr. Frederick. Dwelling calls then brand a lordly sum of two bucks. It used to be rate it. “His skillful treatment,” Dad remembers, “saved my lifestyles.”

Others in Pittsburgh weren’t so lucky.  

On the Spanish flu’s height, of us were demise within the metropolis on the rate of 100 a day.

“The procession of horse-drawn hearses regarded as if it will continue forever,” he acknowledged. Lots of the wakes were at home, now not funeral homes.  “You realized of a death by a wreathe on the door — red for older of us, white for the younger.” 

When the death rate increased, Dad recalled, staunch gross flowers were extinct.

After a week or so, Edward recovered. Genuinely, after several weeks the worst of the Spanish flu had handed thru the metropolis. 

Greg Palkot and his father, Thanksgiving 2019

Greg Palkot and his father, Thanksgiving 2019
(Greg Palkot)

The final note therapy to salvage the remnants of the flu out of Dad’s lungs? Primarily based on relied on Dr. Frederick, playing out of doorways. Mother Mamie used to be “perplexed,” tiny Ed used to be “satisfied.”

Like a flash-forward a century or so, and Dad is now residing thru another pandemic, COVID-19. Actually loads of of situations all around his home. He’s getting by with the abet of family, including my two sisters nearby. And most certainly most importantly lawful now, onerous-working caregiver Tina, who lives with him and fairly powerful plays the role of Dad’s late mother.

What are ‎his feelings in regards to the coronavirus? He thinks or now not it is serious, for particular. He follows it online and watches protection on TV, but he is meeting it head-on. After I known as earlier this week, his telephone did now not reply. I used to be eager. After I known as again later, he answered.  

“I used to be out taking a stroll with Tina,” he confided. “It used to be a stress-free day.”

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And does Ed Palkot assume the U.S. will salvage thru this pandemic worship it ‎managed to salvage thru the Spanish flu?  He notion about it for a 2nd and replied, “I’m hoping so … I’m hoping so.” As we all produce.

Thanks for sharing, Dad