Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paging Dustin Hoffman

Hello everyone. With today's news that semen can detect traces of Ebola for 101 days I thought it time to release my post  about my new favorite hypochondriacal paranoia.  This post had been languishing in the barren wasteland called "drafts" but this stroke of relevancy allowed me to reveal my inner thoughts on the subject. In addition to semen seizing,  a doctor with Ebola died yesterday in Nebraska. From the little to no fanfare with respect to coverage of this second US death, it seems pretty clear to me that Americans have become desensitized to the idea of Ebola on our shores.  Be desensitized no more.

Reminder #1: Ebola can kill you.

Your death will not be in a "go gently into that good night" Dylan Thomas sort of way. You die through the fun exercise of shitting out your liver. A liver that has, in the span of a couple of days, liquified itself alongside your stomach, kidney, and other inner organs (which unfortunately I can’t recall because I lost my Operation game board pieces years ago). This sludgy amalgamation exits through one of the many orifices of the body, sometimes peacefully, sometimes with vertical projection. We call agree that no one is a stranger to shitting out unpleasantness. I've had the kind of corn kernel infused diarrhea that made me question my life choices.  But a liver? There is no blueprint for this. The liver is a trail blazer requiring hazard pay and points for originality. Even more terrifying? Anal leakage is somewhat of a miracle in the grande scheme of Ebola. Theoretically, viscous liver goo could replace your tears. Liver tears. 

Current global statistics show that 70% of all infected patients die. 70 percent. In my mind, 70% of anything is a win. If I got 70% off in a sale or 70% compatibility with a man who’s spirit animal is bacon wrapped shrimp on OK Cupid, then I felt triumphant. By these standards Ebola is a viral success (punned it) . Thankfully, survival rates are much higher when only taking the US into account.  As they should be considering we have exotic commodities such as electricity and running water. Here at home all but two people infected with Ebola survived. The first fatality, a simple by product of a system ill prepared and caught off guard. Call it beginner's luck or an award winning case of my bad.  The second patient too far gone by the time he reached a specialized hospital. Be that as it may, the issue is not about who survives so much as the proximity of the viral strain to our front yard. Scientists claim 3 passengers will fly with Ebola each month if we don't stop the spread. 3. So while at this exact moment in time there is an Atlantic ocean separating Ebola from my facial pores, this will change again and soon.  While it's true we don't yet know the potentially positive effects of spleen facials, (Perhaps the spleen has an extraordinary amount of natural collagen?), my life is fine without them.  

The government, by way of fear inducing headlines from CNN such as: EBOLA IS HERE AND ONE PERSON IS DEAD ALREADY! WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING! OH SHIT TWO MORE PEOPLE HAVE IT!  OBAMA HUGS EBOLA!  AMERICA HAS TO KILL A PUPPY! PLANES, IT’S ON PLANES!  SUBWAYS ARE TRAINS OF DEATH!  GRIM REAPER HAS COME TO TAKE US HOME!...*watch Sanjay Gupta break it down tonight*... have informed the public ad nauseum about the level of contagiousness of Ebola and the ways in which it can spread. 

Reminder #2: Don’t have sex with, don’t split a pumpkin spice latte with, better yet, don’t buy a pumpkin spice latte, don’t take Soul Cycle with, just generally stay away from an Ebola infected individual or a feverish person recently returned from Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia.

How one can determine the recent travel itinerary of someone without the stink of racial profiling is beyond me. How one can determine what someone’s actual body temperature is and what, for that person specifically, is the temperature at which point a fever diagnosis is valid is also beyond me. I also don't have porny mags laying around for semen samples and I fear images of my own naked body positioned on a bear rug would just bring up more questions than physical responses. Point is, we have a lot of information surrounding Ebola but applying that information to the person standing next to you without acting like an asshole is impossible.

Rational thought tells me the likelihood of contracting Ebola is pretty much nonexistent. Antisocial behavior is my best known quality after all. However, there were and will be again people with Ebola in this country just like there are lottery winners.  Chances of winning the mega jackpot are also pretty much nonexistent but that doesn't mean it can't happen. It happens to someone. And like winning the lottery, contracting Ebola is a windfall. For that lucky guy or girl chosen to carry the virus through the absolute worst case of wrong place wrong time, it’s a whole lot of excruciating, debilitating pain, and an exaggerated form of time out, except instead of standing in a corner for two minutes for kicking your brother and meaning it with your whole heart, you’re alone in an isolated sterile room with astronauts touching you with space mittens for six weeks. 

The somewhat good news is there is a race between money hungry pharmaceutical companies to formulate a vaccine or treatment to make Ebola this generation's polio and make themselves, a  proud sponsor of Masterpiece Classic with all the money they will have to spare. Human trials for a vaccine started a couple of month ago. Shockingly, I did not volunteer but there are people from all over the world participating in the study. Bless them. I have no idea how much money a guinea pig makes but I doubt it's enough to fly on a crazy anti-septic Ebola plane  transporting Ebola infected victims to treatment centers should the virus explode in their body.  (And by off chance I mean a hell of a lot more chance than someone not injected directly with a small amount of the virus.)  Did you know a flight on one of those fully loaded planes is roughly three million dollars? They don't take frequent flier miles and free beverages are banned. Baggage fees are free though. Mostly because you don't have baggage other than the emotional baggage that comes with the realization of true death if you don't get on one of those planes.  Blessedly, the FDA was kind enough to fast track the rigorous testing process for these vaccines because well, Ebola makes you shit out your organs. No word yet on the results of the clinical trials, however; if they work you'll find me cutting in the Ebola vaccine line with my resting bitch face.

Outside a method of creating antibodies to eradicate the virus, the only option is treatment. Unlike a vaccine that provides near certain protection against Ebola, a treatment does not preclude the initial wretchedness. You still have to languish in sanitized purgatory not shitting your organs quite yet but feeling them slow burn like pot roast in a crock pot.  A feeling I hadn't anticipating experiencing in this lifetime or my next lifetime as Willow Smith's energy harvester.  Amber Vinson, one of the nurses that survived, can corroborate this. To paraphrase every interview she's given on the subject, it fucking sucks.

 Of all the treatments making its way to market, the most promising is ZMapp. While researching the drug, because yes I have, I came across the surprising fact that tobacco is a key ingredient. And on the 7th day God created irony. Why, yes, of course, tobacco helped kill our nations unity in oldy times and causes lung cancer but it helps fight Ebola too.  This must be a revelation for tobacco companies. After being forced to spend millions of dollars on the Truth Campaign, (a campaign that contains commercials and other content so embarrassing it drove you to smoke just to avoid association with tobacco free cool kids), executives have finally found a way to rebrand their product. Hey man, we aren't cancer sticks; we're Ebola vitamins. 

The problem is the world's supply of ZMapp is in short supply. How? I dunno. You would think the US would have enough tobacco to crank them out but no, which makes that one lottery winner extra lucky. There is one other option that has proven effective in treating Ebola and that is the blood of a survivor. But again, there are only a handful of survivors. Survivors, who's blood has already been transfused in gulps larger than the blood of Christ on a Sunday. Even if a survivor was willing to help  there is no guarantee you're a blood match. Matching with anyone for anything hasn't been successful in my past so a life saving match would naturally be a miracle. At least I wouldn't have to withstand the dreaded fade away because I'll be in a coma. To summarize, we don't have anything right now to help an infected individual with Ebola in the near future. Saludos.

The worst is still ahead of us. We haven't contained the outbreak and as of this week over 5,000 people have died in West Africa with no end in sight. Sure, the US is better equipped to handle an epidemic but what about India? China? The man with the special sperm was stopped at the New Delhi airport because he had a certification of medical clearance from the Liberian government but believe you me someone will fall through the cracks. It's bound to happen. When it does...actually I don't have an answer for when it does.

Final thought, when I was a kid I refused to watch Outbreak because the idea of a virus capable of killing humanity was too scary to contemplate. Later, in a decision I call, why God why, I watched Contagion on a plane. It scarred me at the soul level. I've been terrified of viral disasters ever since. I had to add it to the list of my ever growing resume building issues which includes the belief I've swallowed my twin and my fear of snipers.  It's hard to carry a fear like this on my own, which is why I hope this post scares one of you. It's no fun hysterically reciting random Ebola facts by yourself. We need plan because this fight is not over. This is serious business. The business of shitting out your liver.

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