This month I am hosting a 31 days of horror. The last few weeks we have been hearing a lot about Ebola and I can’t think of anything that scares me more at the moment.
Being a mom I am proactive about things that could eventually affect my daughter. A few years ago it was the Bird Flu.
I’m not going to lie, I really am scared about Ebola getting out of hand here in the United States. Although, nearly 10,000 have been infected elsewhere and my heart and prayers go out to West Africa, I wasn’t scared because it was so far away. Just to be clear being scared is different from being panicked. It is different because being afraid is a healthy act of survival. We are afraid therefore we act. Fight or Flight. Survival of the fittest. If we remain logical then our fear can spur us to create a plan and do what is right. Our country needs to be afraid and we need to be highly proactive in preventing a large-scale outbreak.
Yesterday morning I came to work and read that the W.H.O was estimating the number of newly infected cases could rise to 10,000 per week in West Africa. Those are SCARY numbers.
By the end of the day we all learned of the nurse that flew on Flight 1143 with symptoms and by the time I got home I opened Facebook only to find someone I had personally met a few times had been on that plane.
It really starts to sink in when you know of someone personally how something our society has been making jokes about is really deadly serious. Even I wrote a Facebook status saying I was afraid to joke about Ebola or I would get Ebola. Some of them did make me laugh… but I am no longer laughing.
I know panic and worry won’t help but I do think it is important to practice things that could decrease the risk of infection. Be proactive by practicing better habits. For instance, I discussed certain habits with my daughter like using antibacterial hand sanitizer (hand sanitizer and bleach are the only two things that kill Ebola) and not touching her face. We can use things like anti-bacterial wipes at the grocery store on carts, not picking our noses, or purposely sneezing like you are taking off for Mars.
I would like to share with you the Facebook status of Axl Goode, an acquaintance who was on Flight 1143. I also included information he sent me via email. I think he has some very interesting things to say that are very telling about how our country is equipped to handle an outbreak if one should occur on a large-scale. I also worry because any one of those passengers could have gone home to children who then were sent to school the next day. There are a million scenarios we could develop. So in the meantime just be good citizens, keep up with the news (if you can weed through all the misinformation), and plan what you need to do individually to keep safe. That really is all any of us can do!
Oh…and thank you Axl Goode for doing the right thing!!
EBOLA: FLIGHT 1143, A PASSENGER’S PERSPECTIVE
The incessant buzzing of my cell phone woke me, text after text pouring in. Rolling over in bed, I saw that the messages were from my dad. Our text conversation was as follows:
Dad – 2nd healthcare worker tests positive for Ebola…you know, the ones wearing hazmat suits.
Dad – 77 additional hospital workers quarantined in Dallas…boyfriend of nurse infecting showing symptoms.
Axl – That’s not cool.
Dad – Nope…
Axl – Wish I could get out of Dallas for a while.
Dad – Yep
Dad – If it starts spreading it will go everywhere.
Dad – What city did you fly from Monday evening
Dad – The nurse who has it was on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas Monday evening. Flight 1143.
Icy dread seeps through my entire body. My hands start to shake.
Axl – Shut the fuck up.
Is he screwing with me?How could he know the flight I was on Monday?
Dad – Where did you fly from?
I’m now fully awake. Climbing out of bed, I shrug off any last vestiges of tiredness and call my dad. He answers immediately.
“You weren’t on that flight were you?” his voice strained.
“Dad, are you messing with me. This isn’t funny.”
“I’m not playing with you. I just read it in a CNN article.”
“Damn. That was my flight.:
“Shit. The CDC is saying that the nurse was asymptomatic while on the airplane, but she went to the hospital shortly after getting off. That’s pretty close. I’m sending you the article. You need to call the CDC.”
“Okay. Call me back.”
Ending the call with my father, I dialed Taylor’s number. I had just woken to one of the worst possible nightmare scenarios I could imagine.
We had both spent the last week in Ohio at a conference for our publishing company, Ellora’s Cave. We’re both romance novel cover models and authors. I just released my novel Primal Desire last week and Taylor has released several novels over the past three years.
Upon arriving at the airport a week earlier we felt secure that there was a very low chance of contracting the Ebola virus. After all, everyone had been quarantined right?
Taylor answered the phone. He is nearly always cheerful.
“Yo what’s up?!”
“I have bad news.”
“What’s going on?”
“A nurse that was taking care of Thomas Eric Duncan was on our flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Ft Worth”
“No way! Are you serious?”
“Yes. Flight 1143.”
“How could that happen?”
“I don’t know. I was under the impression that all 77 people who had been taking care of patient zero had been quarantined”
“Damn. What the hell?”
“I know. I’m going to call the CDC and see what they want us to do, but I’d keep yourself quarantined. Definitely don’t go to Houston today. We’re going to have to take the next 3 weeks off work.”
“Shit. Okay. Let me call my family and tell them not to come over.”
After getting off the phone with Taylor I called the CDC. They have a wait time of 81 minutes. I opted for them to call me back. I spent the next two hours in a panicked state, trying to piece together as much information as I could. Reading article after article and seeing pictures of what happens to those who contract Ebola… I finally broke down.
I stepped away from my computer. Tears were pouring down my face. Just a few hours ago everything seemed fine. Now I’m facing a hard fact that I may start to develop symptoms in the next 1-20 days. If that happens I stand a 10% – 50% chance of survival. It’s a very hard truth to think that I may not e here in just a few weeks or less.
It’s not looking good for the passengers of Flight 1143. Although I’m reading lots of reports that it can only be spread through bodily contact, there’s plenty of articles suggesting otherwise. In fact, it could be so easy as the nurse, now identified as Amber Vinson, rubbing as sweaty palm across the top of a seat. Walking through the narrow isle I could have placed my hand on that same seat as I make my way through the plane. Sitting down, I might have rubbed my sleepy eyes. BAM – I could have just contracted Ebola.
That’s the problem with this. No one knows how bad it is precisely, and it’s insanely scary. The CDC is staunchly maintaining their stance that it can only be transferred through bodily fluids and those in close contact with someone showing symptoms. There are other reports suggesting it could be spread through saliva droplets in the air within a 3 foot span.
So who do I trust? The CDC that said Amber Vinson was asymptomatic boarding the airplane?
A little later in the day I’m hearing something different. Tom Frieden of the CDC said, the nurse “had a slight fever of 99.5 degrees when she boarded Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth, but it did not register at the 100.4 degree ‘fever threshold’ that would have flagged her for an Ebola test,” according to the Washington Examiner.
This isn’t helping my trust. What I want to know is why the CDC cleared that nurse to fly commercially? It’s absolutely ludicrous.
Now the CDC is trying to placate the situation. Frieden has since stated that “other exposed healthcare workers will now be banned from taking public transportation until they clear the virus’ incubation period.”
Seriously? Are joking with me? NOW? Why weren’t they banned in the first place? This virus is terrible. Reading on how it affects the body and slowly tears it apart gives me nightmares. Now I just found out that, because of the CDC’s ignorance, my friend and I have been exposed to it!!
So what a to do about it? Well the CDC finally called me back and took down my information and – that’s it. They said they’d be in contact. I was given no extra information.
That’s comforting. NOT. It’s not the CDC’s responsibility to handle everything though. I’m going to stick it out in a self-imposed quarantine the next 21 days. Why? Because I care about those around me and have a greater responsibility to the public.
I’ve been heralding messages all day from my family and friends attempting to assure them I’m okay. It’s going to be hard. Hopefully I haven’t contracted Ebola, and hopefully this will blow over like nothing happened. Hopefully I’ll be able to pay my bills and everything will work out. What’s not okay, is putting my friends and family in danger of myself. That’s the most selfish thing I could do. So here is my question to you – what would you do if you woke up and were told you had been exposed to one of the most deadly viruses on the planet?
if we want to ensure this doesn’t happen to more people, then I say we band together as a country and take responsibility. I don’t want to scare people. I don’t want to start a frenzy. I want to be solution oriented. I just want this to stop. To do that, it’s going to take every single person doing their part.
At this point, my part is going to be isolating myself. But ask yourself, what is your part? I do NOT want you going through this! I still haven’t been contacted further by the CDC and I’m not very confident of their abilities.
Whether its private organizations or the government, everyone that has come in contact with someone who has Ebola should be quarantined. No questions. As a country this should be easy to raise enough money and find the manpower to provide for people who have possibly been infected.
And why is it important to do this? Because if it goes further the country as a whole won’t be able to support the number of infected. At that point there will be no stopping it.
LATER AXL WROTE THIS:
Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes everyone. My earlier post wasn’t meant to scare people, only to draw awareness to the situation. I’m currently sitting in my apartment, completely fine. The reason for the post,is hopefully help inspire everyone to want to do the right thing. This hasn’t turned into a major problem for our country yet, however its severity is increasing by the hour.
With a filovirus such as Ebola, it’s spread is exponential. (Here he gave an example which I did not replicate here)
See why this is such a problem? This is why I’m taking it so seriously. Yes, I’m freaking out some for myself but what I don’t want to see is this virus spread. The best way to counter this virus is prevention.
I’m encouraging any other passengers to do the same as myself and Taylor Cole and quarantine yourself. We don’t need to wait for the CDC to tell us anything. We as human beings have the inalienable right to think for ourselves. I for one want to choose to do what’s best for those I care about around me and also for the rest of the people in the world.
The actions and amazing talent of our health care individuals so far has been nothing short of heroic. The W.H.O. is doing all they can to help contain this. Let’s not forget, as citizens, our civil responsibility to ourselves and country.
I just felt like my last post was a little scarier than I intended and wanted to make a slight amendment. My intentions are to inspire and to spur people to the right course of action rather than assessing blame on others.
EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE WITH AXL
Axl communicated to me that the Dallas County Health Department has contacted him and he was told the following:
1) A no board order has been issued preventing him from getting on any flights or cruise ships.
2) It isn’t mandatory yet but they suggest he quarantines himself in his house. (which Axl has already done)
3) A nurse will come take his temperature once a day
4) Keep a medical journal.
5) Stay at least 3 feet away from anyone else in his residence. (Axl lives alone)
6) To stay isolated through November 3rd.
My pen name is Axl Goode. I’m a cover model and proud author for Ellor’s Cave Publishing. I’m 26 years old and I’m scared I’m going to die. I love people and I love life. If you would like to contact me, please do so via Axlgoode@gmail.com.