//Reporters pocket book: How my dad, 106, survived the opposite pandemic – the Spanish flu

Reporters pocket book: How my dad, 106, survived the opposite pandemic – the Spanish flu

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My father, Ed Palkot, has a novel perspective on the present coronavirus pandemic.

He is sheltering in place now in his suburban New York house. And he is 106. He survived the final main world ‎pandemic.


That one contaminated 500 million individuals all over the world and killed some 50 million, 675,000 within the U.S.

‎American cities had been particularly hard-hit, together with Pittsburgh, Penn. The town of simply over half-a-million on the time noticed 4,500 deaths from the virus and 24,000 reported circumstances. And Dad was one in all them.


Edward Palkot with his mother Mamie and father John.

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

Edward was 5 years outdated. In line with him, he most likely contracted the “dreaded disease” from his “playmates.” Not like the present COVID-19, the Spanish flu hit youthful individuals tougher than the aged.

“Those who drank whiskey escaped the flu,” Dad recollects his mom Mamie suggesting, “those who did not, succumbed.”   

Actually, Dad’s mom and father had been wonderful. Ed, the one baby on the time, bought the eye.

Pittsburgh’s mayor reluctantly adopted steering from Pennsylvania authorities to shut public areas, so the virus got here with a vengeance. The town scrambled to arrange makeshift hospitals. Folks crowded in, struggled to breathe, their lungs filling with liquid. There have been no respirators then.


Edward Palkot with caregiver, Tina

Edward Palkot with caregiver, Tina
(Greg Palkot)

Dad’s “dear” mom fortunately determined to maintain him at house, offering him with “careful nursing.” His room was easy however cozy, warmed by a fuel area heater. Edward was attended to by the Palkot household GP, Dr. Frederick. Home calls then value a lordly sum of two {dollars}. It was price it. “His skillful treatment,” Dad remembers, “saved my life.”

Others in Pittsburgh weren’t so fortunate.  

On the Spanish flu’s peak, individuals had been dying within the metropolis on the fee of 100 a day.

“The procession of horse-drawn hearses seemed to continue endlessly,” he stated. A lot of the wakes had been at house, not funeral properties.  “You learned of a death by a wreathe at the door — purple for older people, white for the young.” 

When the dying fee elevated, Dad recalled, simply plain flowers had been used.

After per week or so, Edward recovered. Actually, after a number of weeks the worst of the Spanish flu had handed by town. 

Greg Palkot and his father, Thanksgiving 2019

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

The most effective remedy to get the remnants of the flu out of Dad’s lungs? In line with trusted Dr. Frederick, taking part in exterior. Mom Mamie was “perplexed,” little Ed was “elated.”

Quick-forward a century or so, and Dad is now residing by one other pandemic, COVID-19. Actually lots of of circumstances throughout his house. He is getting by with the assistance of household, together with my two sisters close by. And maybe most significantly proper now, hard-working caregiver Tina, who lives with him and just about performs the function of Dad’s late mom.

What are ‎his emotions concerning the coronavirus? He thinks it is critical, for certain. He follows it on-line and watches protection on TV, however he is assembly it head-on. After I referred to as earlier this week, his cellphone did not reply. I used to be involved. After I referred to as again later, he answered.  

“I used to be out taking a stroll with Tina,” he confided. “It was a stunning day.”


And does Ed Palkot suppose the U.S. will get by this pandemic prefer it ‎managed to get by the Spanish flu?  He thought about it for a second and replied, “I hope so … I hope so.” As all of us do.

Thanks for sharing, Dad