Rags of Light

Follow @JMaxB on Micro.blog.

"In the time of the influenza..."

A few years ago we lived in a small town in southeastern Ohio, on the fringes of Appalachia, a town whose most prosperous years had been built on a local coal-mining industry that was long gone. Just up the hill from us was a large, attractive house that, we learned, had once been the biggest and nicest house in town, owned by the town doctor, a Dr. Cupp (or possibly Cope).

Researching local history, we learned that during the 1918 flu epidemic, the doctor turned his own house into a clinic/hospital, with sick patients on cots filling its rooms, while he and whatever nursing help he could obtain worked to care for them.

No moral here, but the story has come back to me often in the past week. Today I know that if I got very ill, I’d have a much greater chance of survival, which is very good; but if I knew (as I can’t) that I was going to die, I’d rather do it in Dr. Cupp’s parlor with my family in attendance than plugged into a ventilator in a hospital where visitors are forbidden, as is happening to people right now.