Ebola. It strikes fear in the hearts of the staunchest, and it should. It’s nothing to play with.
The two Ebola patients from Liberia landed at the air reserve base near my home this week and trucked on down the highway to Emory University Hospital for treatment. When I first heard they were coming, and when I heard each plane overhead, I do admit that the breath hitched in my throat for a moment. But then I thought, heck, if I had something like that, I’d want to be at Emory, too. If anyone can help you, Emory can.
So, I haven’t been concerned about it much, even with The Donald ranting on with his helmet-hair and people on social media spewing ugly things about the patients and making jokes about The Walking Dead (which is filmed here in Atlanta).
I’ll tell you why.
My mother was a cancer patient at Emory a few years ago and had just had a stem cell transplant when airborne H1N1 influenza (swine flu) came into the hospital through the Emergency Room. Because of her procedure, my mother had no immune system. A simple cold could have killed her and any other patient on the special floor she was on, so only God knows what H1N1 would have done. By then, all of the nurses knew me well, and usually I could stroll right onto the floor after getting off the elevator.
But not that day.
When I had to buzz in at a locked door to get the nurses’ attention, it seemed odd. When I was met by them and had to apply sterile foam to my hands and practically wrap my whole body in sterile gowns, gloves, shoe covers, and a surgical cap and mask before moving past the door, I was flippin’ panicking.
“What the hell’s going on?”
“Did you see all the commotion when you walked by the ER?”
“H1N1 is in the building. We’re on lock-down.”
For the next week, that was the only way I could be with my mom. Children weren’t allowed on the floor at all. When the crisis had passed and everything went back to normal, the virus never made it past the ER, as far as I know.
Emory U. does not play. They are not Dirt Road Hospital out in the sticks. If they couldn’t safely handle Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol, they would not have taken them.
I know there are controversies that have spun off from the patients being brought back home to the States. People are always going to find problems and disagree about things like this. I do have to wonder, though, how some opinions would change if people suddenly found themselves or a loved one in the situation. How hard would you fight against yourself being brought back home, getting the best state-of-the-art treatment, and possibly being the catalyst to finding a cure for other sufferers across the planet? (Shut up, Mr. Trump. You have nothing to say that we want to hear. You know and we know that if you were infected with anything, you would be back here looking for help so fast, heads would be swimming. You’re not fooling anyone.)
Do I know for sure that there won’t be an unfortunate incident that puts us all in danger? No. Anything could happen. In light of that, there’s nothing wrong with being cautious and being scared.
There is a lot wrong, however, with kicking your humanity to the curb in the process. JMHO