The way I see it, fear and logic don’t play nice with each other and it’s just downright exhausting.
Logic tells me that I am not at risk for exposure to the Ebola virus. I have read, reread, and fully understand that Ebola is not an airborne virus. You have to have contact with the “bodily fluids” of an infected person exhibiting symptoms of Ebola in order to catch it. It is difficult to catch Ebola. These are facts. This is logic. I know this. However…
Fear tells me that it’s a deadly virus and I don’t care how hard it is to catch, it’s out there threatening us (not to mention entire communities in other nations). I emphatically do not want it in my city, my state, my country and my world. Having 2 nurses from Dallas Presby diagnosed tips my logic scales to the fear side. Knowing that one of those nurses was on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas while having a low-grade fever, scares me. This fear of its spread is real.
Logic tells me not to hop on the sensationalist bandwagon to boost media ratings and further the alarmist discussion. I have more risk of being hit by a car or dying from the flu than coming in contact with Ebola. (Note to self, get flu shot.)
Fear makes me research what “bodily fluids” actually means. Bodily fluids, as defined by any number of websites here, here , and the CDC here includes nasal phlegm, saliva, and sweat. Any of which can be transferred from person to person by simply touching one’s eyes, mouth, etc. Who hasn’t spent a few minutes in an elementary school classroom to realize that at any given time those “bodily fluids” are exchanged faster than blue legos?
Logic tells me that despite the finger pointing, there are still people with vastly more resources and knowledge about the virus than I do, and they are devoting their lives to get this horrific disease contained. Logic also tells me that it’s likely only one of our country’s new forays into biological threats so let’s make this a phenomenal dress rehearsal and adequately prepare for more sickness to come.
Fear makes me want to cancel my upcoming flights across the country, hold my baby close, decline birthday party invitations and hell no, I’m not going to the mall. It makes me want to isolate my family and wash my hands 1,497 times a day — not that it would likely even help. Fear makes me want to go into total lock-down mode for exactly 21+++ days until the last victim is identified and released from the incubation period.
It’s a constant battle, fear and logic. Head and heart.
I know it may be slightly irrational, but I’m not going to pretend I don’t have a heightened level of concern. When the news reported that Sheriff’s deputy that showed signs of possible Ebola and had sought treatment at the CareNow facility that I GO TO, my heart raced, I’m sure just as much like the residents of the neighborhoods of the other Ebola victims. (Thankfully, he did not test positive.) So I won’t belittle someone else for showing fear. Or on the flip side, I won’t criticize someone for showing no concern for that matter because they don’t perceive it to be a personal threat. I also won’t engage in a war of words with someone over the severity of the disease and risk of contamination, the effectiveness of the government, or the “what should have been dones” in this country and others. For this average suburban mom who is no expert in the medical profession, I know that doing so would only stir the pot, getting everyone’s blood pressure up. I trust that those incredibly important discussions are happening at a high level of which I’ll never be privy to.
I feel helpless as you do. I’m angry like you are. I am also rational about the reality of our new normal. Fear and logic will continue to battle it out in my mind, but faith is ultimately where I find MY peace. I pray that the health care workers find the strength they need to fight through this, that the people exposed to the virus stay healthy and have enough sense to stay isolated, that the sick become well, that it stays far, far, far, away from the people I love and care about. I implore the leaders of this country to implement safeguards to further protect our citizens and encourage them to seek the wise counsel of experts around the world who have vastly more experience with Ebola than we do. I pray that we as a nation, become more vigilant in protecting our own and that we don’t let fear rule our lives, but instead come together to eradicate Ebola and whatever else is surely on our horizon.
Please, I beg you to find your balance between fear and logic. Recognize when one is taunting the other, and seek that balance. Because the balance is where real progress happens. The balance is where you can help without hurting, and address the situation in a way that collectively helps us all.