Selfishness, Stupidity, And Ebola

This isn’t my normal “thing”.  This isn’t my comfort zone.  My instincts are to make jokes and go into hiding for the rest of the year.  My panic button wants to cancel our Orlando Halloween vacation, tell E’s brother he can’t fly in to visit us for two nights next week and basically go full-on Charlie Daniels “A Country Boy Can Survive” mode.

Just a disclaimer:  This is an impromptu spilling of my guts.  I don’t work for Fox News or CNN.  I’m not exactly breaking journalistic ground here and I’m not trying to.  I’ll link to a story if I think it’s necessary but otherwise, this isn’t a thesis.  No footnotes, no outline here.  You know the basics of the story just like I do.

When this whole thing started, E was so secure in the thought that our government, our hospitals had this shit handled.  I wanted to believe him.  I really did.  E works in the healthcare field, he knows the workings of a hospital.  He’s done this for 23 years now, in some form or another.  But even when the ebola tally was one guy in Dallas from Liberia, I told E that people are, at their core, selfish.  And selfish makes you stupid.  And stupid is really hard to contain.

Stupid causes you to break quarantine to go get yourself some soup.  A Doctor, a highly educated American, employed by NBC to report on ebola, broke quarantine to get out in public and buy soup.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Yeah, yeah.  She sent a man in to the restaurant to pick up the soup.  She sat in the car, wearing huge sunglasses.  She knew she was wrong because she was wearing the huge sunglasses in an attempt to disguise herself.  She knew she was wrong but she did it anyway.  And this is a Doctor who has been on the front lines of this awful outbreak.  She has seen the hell and darkness and death it brings yet even with all that, it was too much to ask her to stay in her lavish home for another week or so.  It was too much to ask her not to risk exposing anyone.

The man who went in to pick up her soup order had obviously been around her, rode in the car to the restaurant with her, I’m assuming.  Now he’s touched the door of the restaurant, he’s touched a counter, he exchanged money or some form of payment with the cashier, who has touched countless items in the restaurant by now and come into contact with possibly hundreds of customers since.  You can tell me all day long that the good Doctor didn’t put anyone in danger, you can tell me the “scientific, medical” facts that CNN just confidently gave you, of how one actually contracts ebola.  I have just one question for you:  Would you go today to this restaurant to eat?  Would you let your child go to this restaurant to eat?  Or even use the restroom?

I could look at the odds, I could look at the scientific “facts” and the reassurances from our government that this is contained and the rational side of me would accept it.  I desperately want to accept it.  But the government does not have a handle on this.  You can’t look at the second nurse, allowed by the CDC to board a commercial flight while running a fever after caring for an ebola patient, and tell me our government has this under control.

A friend of mine ranted (his word) this morning on Facebook about the needless panic and the chances of one actually contracting ebola.  It was nice to hear a rational voice in all this scariness.  It did make me feel a bit better after a night of truly worrying about this.  Worrying about our Halloween vacation in the very populated Orlando area next week.  Worrying about my brother in law flying in next week for two nights.  It’s easy to let fear grip you in the dark of the night especially as a Mother.

That brings us back to that “stupid” thing.  Landon is getting his Remicade infusion as I write this.  His nurse has just gotten the I.V. in and we’re underway for the next 3 hours or so, getting meds into Landon that he needs every 4 weeks to control his Crohn’s Disease.  Landon couldn’t get his flu shot on Monday because the Remicade lowers his immune system for a bit after infusion so we had to put the shot off until next week.  If Landon gets an illness, runs a prolonged fever, a hospital visit complete with blood transfusions is pretty much routine for us by now.

Yet Landon’s teacher has to send emails, pleading with parents to not send their child to school sick.  Screw the other kids, the parents need their days off.  They need their breaks from their high maintenance special needs kid, other kids in the class be damned.  This is the reality my family lives in.

As the mother of not only a special needs child who happens to also be very medically vulnerable, I know the selfishness of other people.  I have witnessed church “friends” bring their toddler to the church nursery, knowing they were running a low grade fever, knowing Landon had a blood disorder which had already landed us in the hospital many times.

And some wonder why I have a very hard time trusting other people?

I’m not declaring an ebola apocalypse.  I’m just saying that this isn’t over.  It is not contained.  How do you contain selfishness?  How do you contain stupidity?  And our government, the very definition of selfish and stupid are the ones responsible for its containment after their inaction/missteps have only added to the count?

Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical right now.


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