Thus far, the year 2020 has been something. It has necessitated adaptation --- something I received a crash course in when our daughter's wedding ceremony was switched at the eleventh hour to the Terrace, a site never contemplated, at the Royal Orleans. Knowing how the rain had rattled me, my son-in-law sent me a text on the eve of their second anniversary, "What's worse than rain on your wedding day? A viral pandemic on your wedding day." Indeed.
Two short years later, everyone is adapting to the coronavirus crisis on a life-or-death scale. My column title makes reference to a distillery of whiskey and bourbon in Clarksville, Tennessee, and their adaptation. Old Glory Distilling Co. switched production during the fight against the coronavirus from fine spirits to hand sanitizer, the latter of which they shipped to me by the jug which brings me to my confession.
I am a germophobe. It's odd as I have little or no background with bacteria and viruses and such. I barely made it out of high school science. But I had intense fear of germs, on my person. And I was a peculiar eater. Probably having what is today known as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) as a kid - I am self-diagnosing - it was an easy transformation into a woman who has, for years, carried antibacterial gel in her pocket. Scrupulously sanitizing my hands is nothing new. I was always particularly fanatic about it at bridge for the cards were circulated in boards among a plethora of people, migrating from table to table. I fret just thinking about it.
And I also agonized when our family travelled. Digressing, there's not much worry of that, these days. We have cancelled bookings from Alaska to Barcelona. But we are hanging onto tickets to Jackson, Wyoming, in hopes of escaping next month to the Tetons. As much as we would like to get away, I was an absolute wreck on trips prior to this pandemic. Like my momma said, Rodney is a saint. And another confession, confirmed in these last few months - he's my huckleberry.
With a feeling of late that I am mired in quicksand, I have gathered up antibacterial in every shape and size - gels and sprays and wipes and prescription creams.
I was lucky to have a stockpile - my personal panacea. Dragging it out of cars and cupboards, I wondered about expiration, no telling how long it had been there. But better to have something than nothing. And every chance possible, I added to my stock. From ethanol to isopropyl alcohol, it was an easy transition for distilleries like Old Glory to make.
Satisfied with my solutions, still, for much of this year my spirits have drooped. If I never hear the word Wuhan again, it will be too soon. Everything has been overshadowed by the dismal news of death.
From the start, my close friend Margot, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, shared an excellent yet bleak resource, Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases from John's Hopkins CSSE. And I can't escape the depressing reports on television either, from health to financial. Don't look is our strategy. All any of us want to see is a vaccine with efficacy and effectiveness, but realistically we know this will take time.
In the meantime, our daughter Betsy and son-in-law Erik, together with their friends - all Tulane physicians - have flocked, weekend after weekend, to our Washington Parish farm for respite. For Rodney and me, the farm has been our salvation during the pandemic. We can go somewhere without ever leaving home. Still, we continue to take precautions, gearing up like we're going to war, as we await news of a vaccine or treatment.
A lay person, I was dubious that an antimalarial medication would be effective against COVID-19. When I was young, my father was hospitalized in the Bogalusa Community Medical Center (Now Our Lady of Angels) where he was the CEO, or administrator, as it was called back then. In his late fifties, Daddy became very ill, with a high fever. The doctors were confounded. A fourteen-year-old, I was at Daddy's bedside in the hospital when Dr. Roger Casama asked him to consider very carefully whether he had ever experienced anything similar. Still coherent, Dad replied, "Well, back during the war, I had malaria."
And that was it - a Hail Mary moment. It was a revelation for Dr. Casama, a good friend of my father's and an excellent doctor he had recruited, who hailed from the Philippines. I saw the relief in Dr. Casama's eyes, and I heard it in his voice. Once the quinine arrived, Daddy miraculously recovered from recurrent malaria, which lay dormant for almost four decades. Surely, that must have been some sort of record.
Doing my best to adapt, I have wondered on more than one occasion what Daddy would say about the coronavirus. But I do know this much - he would go for the Old Glory.