Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #219
…George Eastman, the inventor of the Kodak camera, a captain of industry, reduces himself to nursemaid, helping his brother-in-law cling to life…
“That damned flu hit him from out of nowhere. I found him in bed, after the magazine called me wondering if I had seen him,” George Eastman recalls the events.
“He is upstairs. The hospitals are full. Here, put this on, we don’t need anyone else sick.” He hands her a mask.
“Is it that bad? I mean if the hospitals are full, that would be thousands.”
“Didn’t you read the papers in California?” George asks like she came from another planet.
“No, had no time, just heard talk of us winning some big battles in Europe.”
“11,000 are dead in Philadelphia alone.”
She hangs her head. “That is why the streets are deserted isn’t it?”
“People are afraid to talk to anybody. And poor Harv, he was shaken badly when he came home, only ten men survived on the Navy ship he crossed the ocean in. He was putting together a story when it got him.”
“Oh, my God – I want to see him,” she rushes to his side.
“You may not recognize him, lost a lot of weight, and he sleeps all day, it’s all I can do to get him to take in fluids, but I think he’s getting a little better.” George Eastman, the inventor of the Kodak camera, a captain of the photographic industry, reduces himself to nursemaid, helping his brother-in-law cling to life. “The good news is that he has made it past the first day. Most people who die go fast, mostly younger too.”
“He’s got a strong heart… oh, Harv I am so sorry I wasn’t here for you, can you ever forgive me?” She kneels beside their bed, sobbing, not expecting an answer.
“Do you think I would die without being able to ask my partner why she abandoned our magazine, to be a movie star no less?” Harv Pearson’s speech is slow, but lucid.
“I can’t hug you, you rascal, but when I can, look out.” She looks back at George, mouthing a hearty, ‘thank you’.
The Spanish influenza leaves as quickly as it had struck, erasing thirty million lives along the way, in time to allow dancing in the streets when the Armistice is signed and the Great War ends on November 11th.
The balance of power has shifted… for now.