I have been monitoring the steady drumbeat of news concerning the developing Ebola epidemic. It first started with reports from faraway West Africa. Tales full of people dying from one of the most horrible diseases imaginable. Family members contracting the illness after caring for their dying love ones and doctors and nurses also being infected and killed by the score. These were gruesome stories, but also stories that were also distant and removed. These were stories about places that I’ve never been to and about people who I’ve never met. Day-to-day concerns and problems closer to home always seemed to crowd out any concerns that I might have had about Ebola.
Then Ebola jumped the ocean. It first crossed the Atlantic in the form of an American doctor who had been treating Ebola patients in Africa and had himself become infected. He was flown home for treatment and eventually recovered, all without spreading the disease to anyone else. Ebola’s next crossing landed in Dallas, where an infected African man sought treatment at a hospital, but eventually died, but this time not before spreading the illness to another person. A nurse who had been treating the man contracted the disease. Today, I learned that a second nurse from that hospital has also caught Ebola.
This second nurse had been visiting loved ones in Cleveland, helping to plan a wedding. With a fever, she flew back to Dallas on Monday night. This afternoon, I was in a meeting with two engineers, both of whom had landed at DFW at 8 PM on Monday, when the nurse’s plane had also landed. They had both received an email alerting them to this situation. Now, DFW is a huge airport, comprising four full terminals. The nurse was on a different flight and a different airline than my coworkers. So, the likelihood that either of them could have contracted Ebola from her is extremely unlikely, even if they were in the same airport at the same time. In our meeting today, I never came into close proximity to either of the other guys. Still, there is one thing that I did catch from them and that is fear. When I came home tonight, I told Anne all of this, but still she kissed me, until death do us part, that’s love, that’s life.