By Don “Doc” Sanders
Late on a recent Thursday night I returned home from a weeklong dairy consultation trip in Minnesota to find my wife, Kris, coughing and feeling poorly. Even though she put on her brave face, I could tell that Kris was suffering from more than a common cold.
Two weeks before, Kris and I attended a conference in Gainesville, Fla. It didn’t dawn on me until later that perhaps her illness traced back to our flight and stay there.
Since Friday is always a tough time to get in to see our doctor, I suggested that we go to the emergency room to get her checked out. Kris was too ill to argue.
Kris ended up staying in the hospital eight days, diagnosed initially with viral pneumonia, and eventually, coronavirus. She took ill before the virus was classified as COVID-19. She had never before been that ill.
The good news is that she survived and has been home from the hospital three weeks. Although still weak, only in the past week has she begun to fix a few meals.
Otherwise, I have been chief cook, bottlewasher and housekeeper. That last role includes becoming pretty proficient with the mop and carpet cleaner, as I have been potty training a new pup that we obtained just before Kris became ill. Fortunately, our old Boxer is helping out, patiently demonstrating to the young squirt the ropes on bedtime, sleeping on the doggie bed, where the outdoor “toilet” is and rough play in the house is a no-no.
As reported in the press, coronavirus first appeared in China. Allegedly it escaped from a lab in Wuhan Province. Having been in China many times, I am skeptical about the Chinese narrative about how the virus was discovered.
The Chinese are noted for being late in reporting major catastrophic events and for obfuscating facts. Rumors range from the virus being found in an armadillo-like critter to the virus being developed for biological warfare and inadvertently escaping from the lab.
The latest reports indicate the “Wuhan virus” (COVID-19) infected hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens, causing the deaths of thousands, and traveling to South Korea and Europe, with Italy being hit especially hard. China has around 1.4 billion citizens and the Communist Party appears to have a cavalier attitude if a “few” die off. Interestingly, COVID-19 is primarily an adult disease with about a 10% chance of children getting any more than a mild illness from it.
In the midst of the ongoing economic and societal crisis, supermarkets, like our local Kroger, are struggling to keep up inventories because of panic buying that resulted from the pandemic declaration. This is especially true with paper products like paper towels and toilet paper.
Like me, I’m sure you’re puzzled by the run on grocery stores — especially for toilet paper. In my mind, if you need 144 rolls of toilet paper to get you through the next month, you have bigger problems than COVID-19. Just saying!
There is also a major shortage of high-quality respiratory masks. I recently visited Dr. Alex Cole, the veterinarian who took over our clinic after Dr. Judy’s retirement. He reported that he had dug up some of the reusable surgical masks that Dr. Judy and I used in the days prior to disposable sterile surgical attire. Back then we sterilized our surgical gowns and masks before each procedure. Dr. Cole has been trading our old high-quality surgical masks to other veterinarians in exchange for toilet paper (one surgical mask per roll).
If you get bored during this national quarantine, you could play poker and use rolls of toilet paper for your wagers — it’s that valuable now. Kris says, “Raise you two.”
Guess I won’t be returning to China anytime soon, even if they invite me to do more seminars and I get a good deal on airline tickets.