“These are Hard Times”
Last night DEATH claimed two more lives; 5-year-old Beyan cared for lovingly by his Papa for days on end but finally lost his battle against Ebola. His toy truck was discarded in the trash as well as his daddy's belt. He was buried in the early morning. Forty-two-year-old Morris whom I did not see died after only 2 days in the ETU. The burial team came to spray him but regrettably did not ask the roommate to leave till I chanced upon them and ushered the patient to another empty room. The team sprayed the body; he was sprawled face down half covered with a sheet and a wrapper, one leg sticking off the railing. They turned him over; his arms across his chest, eyes closed looking as though he was asleep peacefully. He was sprayed thoroughly. A body bag was placed on the stretcher which was sprayed and a second body bag placed inside the first and again sprayed. Morris was covered with the sheet and wrapper except for his face in case his family wanted to come to view his body before the burial. Now the psychosocial persons would get in touch with his family, a hard task to perform.
One of them said, “These are hard times.” She lowered her eyes and suppressed her tears.
Thin Mason came in yesterday afternoon brought in by the ambulance to be admitted after being triaged out in the field by one of the doctors. His symptoms began two months ago and he has no exposure to Ebola patients. He coughed up blood this morning and evidently has been doing so for two months. Looking into his mouth he does not have thrush which if it were present would have represented as possible sign of HIV co-infection. He coughed up so much blood this morning I asked to have him moved to the far end corner near the exit away from the rest of the patients. Tuberculosis seems more likely than Ebola. He should probably not have been admitted. He indeed tested negative for Ebola this afternoon and would be transferred to Phebe Hospital down the road.
Phebe Hospital lost 5 of their 6 nurses who came down with Ebola, causing it to shut down for a spell. Understandably they are cautious about accepting any patient who might be potentially infected with Ebola.
Payne, a teacher, lived in a very rural area and when his chronic “stomach pain” seemed worse, he decided to travel across a river where he reached an ambulance service which brought him to the ETU. He really did not fulfil the criteria for Ebola, he showered, his clothes were bleached and he was given a set of new clothes to wear and transported out of the ETU. Apparently once one steps into an ETU, one has to get an Ebola test certifying that indeed one tested negative before one could return back to the village.
At the end of the day we had great news to deliver to Alice and Femata whose Ebola tests were finally negative after 20 and 18 days when they were first stricken with the virus. Both of them could not conceal their jubilation and danced with joy.