31 Thoughts Every Privileged Hypochondriac is Having About Ebola Right Now
Pretty much every piece of news about the Ebola virus is terrifying. So if you're looking for an Ebola fact to freak out about, you can basically take your pick. Would you like to devote today to panicking about the speed with which Ebola spread in West Africa and the lives it has taken there (current estimates peg the number of Ebola-related deaths in the region at nearly 4,500), or the way it seems to have already grown beyond the CDC's expectations on American soil, or even the fact that one of the Texas nurses infected with Ebola flew on a plane while she was contagious, just like Patrick Dempsey in Outbreak ? The (terror) sky is the limit!
Though it's tough to remain level-headed and chill about a disease that can, over the course of a few hours, take you from an average day at work to eventually bleeding out of your eye holes, Ebola is actually a difficult disease to catch. It isn't airborne, like the flu, or spread through water or casual contact — Ebola is transmitted through infected bodily fluids, contaminated objects, and infected animals — so unless you work with bodily fluids or foreign wildlife, you're probably safe. Of course, to us hypochondriacs, "you're probably safe" translates to "you are definitely about to die, possibly within the next 15 minutes" — a line of pointlessly panicked thinking that we can indulge in because our lives are basically not at risk.
Somatic symptom disorder, aka hypochondria, is characterized by having excessive and unrealistic worries about one's health. As a lifelong hypochondriac who spent all of third grade convinced that I had caught hepatitis from the women's bathroom at the mall, I feel especially qualified to guide you through the unique, self-created hell that all of us ridiculous hypochondriacs — who obviously have the privilege of spending all day pointlessly worrying about a disease we're almost certainly not at risk of catching — are going through every day of this Ebola crisis. You're welcome!
Hmmm, a second nurse in Texas has ebola?
After the CDC told us that they were confident that they could contain the case at the Dallas hospital, and that we didn't have to worry about Ebola? Phew, so glad I decided to worry anyway.
Wait, there are people who think they might have ebola in Ohio now?
I've been to Ohio!
Oh my god, there was a potential ebola case in Connecticut?
That's only one state over from me!
THERE WERE PEOPLE WITH EBOLA-LIKE SYMPTOMS IN A HOSPITAL ACROSS TOWN FROM ME??
I don't care that they turned out to not have it! I am going to start freaking out ... NOW!
I should have listened to my college boyfriend who wanted to move to the mountains and farm turnips
You know, I don't really know anything about this disease, I should read up on it
I just vaguely remember everyone talking about it in the '90s.
Perhaps learning a little about how ebola actually works will actually soothe me
It will help me realize that while it is a very scary disease, the odds that I'm going to catch it are pretty much nil.
HOLY HELL, ONE OF THE SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA IS HICCUPS. I HAVE THOSE RIGHT NOW!
Okay, they went away on their own. That's probably not part of it, right?
Okay, screw this, I need to calm down
I am going on an ebola media-fast for the rest of the day
No more articles about how it works, no more constantly updating the local news pages for Dallas, nothing.
Twitter doesn't count, right? I'm just gonna check it real quick
UGGGGGH WHY DID I LOOK AT TWITTER? Well, my brain is ruined, may as well go back to reading about this on the rest of the internet.
wait, The CDC still doesn't know how these nurses got infected?
Oh my god! I've seen Contagion! I know how this goes down!
I know I read today that you can't get ebola from casual contact, but ...
...what if I do, anyway? I mean, I know I can't, but also, what if I do? Think about it.
Just think about it.
I think I'll just cook dinner at home tonight
No reason, just feeling nest-y! Nothing going on there about me trying to avoid all human contact!
I am not sending an email that says "Should I be worried about ebola?" to my med school friend
I'm not going to do it. I'm just not!
Oops, hope my friend in med school forgives me for sending that!
I mean, I can't be the only one, right? She's probably getting emails like this all day.
I can't believe my med school friend replied by sending me this GIF:
OK, so maybe my fixation on ebola is just about my other anxieties
like my unresolved issues about my parents' divorce to my student loans
Not to mention my tenuous grip on life as an adult.
I'm still really scared of bedbugs.
But ebola? i'm lucky it's a disease that bears no huge threat to me
Yeah, things are looking up!
I have been acting ridiculous
I need to leave the house and live my one and only life.
Also, I am going to donate some money to Doctors Without Borders
That's a smart way to channel this energy.
I can't believe that I was acting like such a self-involved, privileged asshole
God, I'm such a tool.
Oh my god, WHY AM I COUGHING
I jinxed it!
THIS IS IT! IT IS HAPPENING
Oops, no, it was a piece of Count Chocula that had gotten lodged in my throat
but maybe i should still stay in tonight
You know, just in case.