2014-10-15

Ebola Infected My Sanity

"In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”
-Charles Mackay

 The past week or two, I've been living in Bizzaro World. It's all because of Ebola. No, I don't have Ebola (I don't think), thank goodness; but I feel I'm surrounded in a vacuum of tomfoolery that I cannot escape. It's a combination of mass fear, xenophobia, narcissism, and conspiracy theories. Not on some random internet forum dedicated to such things, but in my general life and on facebook from people who should know better, but just don't. I think that is what bothers me most. I think people in general should know better, but they don't.

 I blame the media. We have the media posting "possible" Ebola cases every hour on the hour. It's the hot new topic, and I know this sounds horrible, but I can't wait for something else to happen that they find more news worthy. We have places like CNN providing multiple hypothesis for how Ebola can evolve and spread with headlines that indicate that Ebola is already airborne. You know, click bait, like this blog. You're damn right Ebola is going to be a keyword for this entry.

I'm going to also blame the internet for people speculating about Ebola and how it is spread with their "expertise" in public health and disease. Usually people who share their "expertise" have no experience or background in public health or disease. They develop an echo chamber and make their speculations truth, which is worrisome and lowers my expectations of humanity. Especially when people say they heard "insert myth about Ebola here" from some person they know or on some blog on the internet. In the age of internet access and the ability to access information in a matter of seconds, this shouldn't be happening. No the CDC did not create Ebola, there are no zombies in Liberia, and no you can't get Ebola from living within 50 miles of a person infected. Here is some information on Ebola, it's history, and how it has spread in West Africa; but it might not jibe with the theories on the internet, so proceed with caution.

 I'm going to blame xenophobia for people insinuating that Thomas Eric Duncan of coming here to get cured so he could use up our precious resources, even though statistically between his layovers in Brussels and Washigton D.C. he could have gotten better access to care than in Dallas. People believing wholeheartedly in American exceptionalism, they don't acknowledge healthcare rankings putting America below Belgium. Let's not get started with Texans and their arrogance. It's often said that Texas is it's own country. It acts like it, and I can say that because I'm a lifelong Texan. We are some cocky people. Washington D.C. outranks Texas in terms of healthcare. We also need to wonder why the brown man with no insurance was sent home from our exceptional hospitals the first time he sought help. I'm not knocking Presbyterian Dallas, it's a great hospital, I had both my children there. I was just there yesterday for a doctor's visit; but I am going to question how he got turned away, and I can't help but to think that had he been an insured white person who said that he had recently been to Liberia, the reaction would be different. I'm also going to question the treatment he received versus the treatment of other patients with Ebola. No, Ebola didn't all the sudden have me questioning this, I've been questioning disparities in treatment for years, so have other people. Don't trust me though, I might have ebola.

I'm also going to blame narcissism. This current epidemic of Ebola has been going on since about December of 2013. It's October 2014, why now is America all concerned? Oh, it's hit close to home, and as we all know people tend not to show concern or care until they think it can happen to them. Let's see in West Africa we have had about four thousand deaths since the outbreak. Barely a peep from the media or concern from people in America. In America we have had one death and two confirmed cases of Ebola, with a ton of scares. Now everyone has lost their minds and are making up all kinds of theories to have us ready ourselves for the end of times. Now that we are in the "It could happen to me and not those poor brown people over there!!" stage, we feign concern.

The narcissism, xenophobia, internet, and media has caused my facebook feed to look absolutely insane. It has caused me to hear some insane theories, and downright awful statements about the one patient who has died on U.S. soil. These have made me lose my sanity. Ebola is infectious in more ways than one to the general public. The same general public who will more than likely never ever be actually exposed to the disease they now fear so much.