10th January 2015

Juliet arrived home earlier today from Sierra Leone.

I managed to talk to her for a few minutes this evening.  It was so good to hear her voice.  Poor thing, she sounded exhausted.  Wrung out.  All she wants to do is get home to her children and Justin; have a long hot soak in a bath and sleep in her own bed.  Except, now she has to remain in isolation for 21 days.  Just in case.

I asked her about going, what it was like and if she was scared.  Her response was, it’s not that she was scared so much as hyper-vigilant about her PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) being on properly, about washing and disinfecting after working, and about getting someone else to check that you secure and clean at the end of a shift.  And she knew should anything happen, she would be evacuated via Germany because of the Australian government agreement with the UK.

In contrast, the US Government has built a medical centre for international volunteers and local medical personnel.  They will be treated on site, but away from the main medical clinic.  Juliet said, while she agreed with it in principle, if that was what the Australian Government had proposed as a solution, she doesn’t think she would have gone.  They just don’t have the same level of facilities, staff, or resources as they do in Europe.

Personally, I’m not sure Justin would have let her go.  It’s just too big of a risk.

9th January 2015

There are not enough beds or aid workers.

That was the startling conclusion I came to today when I was doing my research.  There are just not enough – doctors, nurses, volunteer aid workers or beds.

Even with the 17 new centres across Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, each with 100 beds, with 8,000 new confirmed cases each week (plus the estimated 12,000 unreported), the clinics will be over-run with infected people.  People will be dying without care, without treatment.

The poor medical staff and aid workers must be exhausted.  Emotionally, physically, mentally.  I’m so pleased that Juliet will be home in a couple of days.  She’s been gone since the Australian Government relinquished and allowed our doctors and nurses to go to Sierra Leone.  She’s been over there nearly a month now and I’m so worried about her.  I’ve only had a couple of texts from her, which is unlike her.  I hope she is being careful.

I’ve talked to Justin a few times and he says Juliet’s hanging in there but she’s run down, fatigued both mentally and physically.  The medical staff work long shifts, catching a few hours of fitful sleep between rotations.  Justin is looking pretty haggard, I can’t imagine how tough this is on him with her away not really knowing how she is doing and having to keep up appearances for the kids.

I know this sounds terrible, but I am glad I’m not there.

8th January 2015

“Hey sis,

You’re a nutter!  I’m fine.  Katie says hi.  NYE, yeah that kinda freaked me out.  All good now though. 

Am really sorry about not being able to get on the flight.

Glad you managed to change your flight – will make it up to you.  Promise. 

8 cases in London, wow trippy.  No wonder they are getting so uptight at the airports. 

Hardly ever go down that way.  You know me – I’ll be fine ; )

Ethan”

8th January 2015

I couldn’t get hold of my brother last night.  I’ll have to send him an email today from work.  I hope he is managing to keep himself out of trouble.  Not likely knowing him.

“Hiya

How are you? How is Katie?

Just checking in to make sure you’re Ok.  I haven’t heard from you in a few days and I was wondering how you were doing since you were detained after New Years Eve? 

I know you are going to think I’m being silly and that I am a worry-wort but you’re my brother and I want to make sure you’re safe.  You however don’t make it easy…

I know you won’t be keeping up with the news and probably don’t know that yesterday there were 8 new cases of Ebola diagnosed in London.  Southwark to be exact.  So, please can you stay away from that part of London. 

Stay safe.

Love you

Your sister the Worry-wort.”

7th January 2015

8 new cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in the UK.

And when I say UK, I mean LONDON!

I bet the London Royal Free Hospital is grateful they just finished the refurbishment of the Infectious Disease ward.  Imagine if they still only had 2 high security isolation beds?  Where would they have put the other 6 cases?  The new ward now has 12 isolation beds.  What happens if they have another 8 cases?  Where would they send them?  Fingers crossed these are the only ones.

I need to ring Ethan, catch him before he goes to work, and get him to take the Ebola crisis seriously.  I know he doesn’t believe it’s an issue, but surely he can see now, that I’m not being an over cautious, worry-wort.

Ha, we are so different my brother and I.  He is so laid back he’s almost horizontal, I worry about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  Trouble seems to follow him everywhere, I on the other hand…he would call me, and often does, a goodie two shoes.  He cruised through university with C’s even though he’s extremely bright.  Brighter than me.  I’m the straight A student.  He’s spontaneous, don’t ever try to lock him into plans, especially if they involve all family functions.  Me, I have to have everything organised well in advance.  Despite all of this (and not even because he’s my brother and I have to), he’s hard not to love.

Thankfully he is not in any immediate danger of being infected, living well away – in Turnham Green – from the recent cases in Southwark.  Reports say they’re all travellers returning from visiting friends and family in West Africa.  Most live in Southwark.  Those poor families.  It must be horrible.

I guess that is a major factor in the spread of viruses these days.  International travel.  It is so much more accessible now than it ever was when mum and dad were younger.  Back then flying overseas was for the wealthy and famous.  Now a spare $1,000 will get you a long way.

I really hope Juliet is OK over there. Not long now and she will be home.  It must be terrible, dealing with all that death.  I can’t even begin to imagine.

5th January 2015

Back at work today.  People were a little surprised to see me. I guess that is to be expected given that I was supposed to be in Greece : /

I have not been able to get the Ebola numbers I read yesterday out of my head and I am more than a little anxious about it.  The speed at which a virus can spread is frightening.

Then to add fuel to the fire I watched ‘Contagion’.

What was I thinking!!

I talked to one of the senior execs at work today and he was very interested in the economic consequences.  I don’t think anyone has really done any research into it.   And nor had I, not really.  I’m still amazed that the virus could have gone undetected for such a long time.

I’ve been asked to do more research into 3 areas; the cost of aid; the potential loss of revenue (and new costs) for Australian companies; and the cost of global disruption.  The cost to our company could be enormous.  I have to have the first part ready to present by the end of the week.  That is going to mean some long nights.  Lucky I didn’t go on holiday.

I might need to talk to that guy Richard in IT and get him to help me set up some graphic models using the data to really make an impact.

4th January 2015

I’ve been doing some research into Ebola.

And what I’ve read has made me anxious.  This virus is nasty.  Nasty and virulent.

In the initial reports of the virus the numbers were low, only 86 reported cases and 59 dead when it broke out back in March.

By early November there were 13,000 cases and half of those dead.

Half!

From what I have been reading that is not the worst of it.

“WHO scientists are now reporting they believe there are 20,000 new cases each week.  Which is, as many cases in January as have been reported during the entire outbreak in 2014.  All due to the exponential growth of the virus.”

In previous outbreaks they have managed to contain cases of Ebola due to the isolated nature of where it was making transmission between people low.

This time its different.

This time it has broken through the isolation barriers into the general population.  Which means it can go anywhere. The world is so much more global now and travel so accessible.

I need to do some more reading.

I am worried.

Really worried.

3rd January 2015

My brother called.  As I predicted he was his ever charming, contrite self.  I finally heard the full story of why how he managed to miss his flight to Greece.  And it is more disturbing than I imagined.  Turns out he arrived at airport almost directly from the NYE party.  He even managed to board the plane.  I’ve seen the photos on Instagram from the party and I am surprised they let him on the plane.

I have to give my brother credit.  He knows how to talk his way out of, or into anything.  I’m positive he could sell ice to eskimos.

Everything was fine until he vomited on the plane.  Despite the photographic evidence (and the fact he probably smelt like a brewery) that the blood around his eyes was a part of his costume and the vomiting was well…

He couldn’t talk himself out of this predicament.

Because of the Ebola crisis in West Africa airports are on high alert and he was unceremoniously ejected from the plane.  Then held in isolation for 5 hours until they could be sure that he didn’t have Ebola.

Ha! Serves him right.

I can’t imagine Boarder Security were all that impressed.  Wasting their time like that.  Next thing you know he’ll be asking for the money to pay for the fine.  I hate to think how much that is going to cost him.

2nd January 2015

There are more stories in the newspapers today about Ebola. I might do some forecasting, I’m pretty sure that work will be interested in potential scenarios.

Am I over reacting?

Maybe I’m over reacting?

I know it’s not here in Sydney, still it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared.

I wonder why I haven’t heard from that rat-bag brother of mine? I would have expected him to have already called with one of his sheepish apologies and promises to do better next time. It’s very odd. When he’s really screwed up he’s generally on the phone straight away. I don’t think I should be worried just yet. He’s probably still sleeping off the hangover.

I’m still mad at him.

I managed to talk to the airline today and get my flight postponed ’til I am ready to use it. Which is a relief. I managed to channel some of Ethan’s silver-tongued charm and convince the customer service representative that there was a family emergency. He was very understanding. Perhaps I should send Ethan the bill for the flight change?

Ha!

Even if he did have spare cash the likelihood of seeing a penny of it. Slim to none.  At least I didn’t have to cancel the ticket and lose all my money.

I was really looking forward to going and seeing all the ruins and the diving. The timing was ideal too – this time of the year is always quiet, so I could justify the extra week. Now, I’m not sure when I will be able to get more time off work.

1st January 2015

Damn him!

Why did he have to be so irresponsible!!

It’s just like him to get into trouble just as he’s about to be accountable to someone else. Grrrr. Why is it that some people just attract it to them?

I know he doesn’t do it on purpose, but still!

I just wish he would think things through a little more.

I mean really what was he thinking?? Going to a New Years Eve party and getting drunk the night before he was due to fly out and meet me. The whole point of me going to Greece to meet him.  Now I’m going to have to postpone my flight, until he gets himself out of this mess. I know I have a good job but I’m not made of money especially since buying the house.

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Breathe

Nope that didn’t work.

And the fact that he went as an Ebola victim. The idiot!!

Poor taste Ethan. Poor taste.

Doesn’t he know that there is a real crisis in West Africa. Clearly he hasn’t been reading any newspapers. Hahaha! What am I saying? Ethan wouldn’t read a book let alone a newspaper unless it was a comic or something.

At the very least he could be keeping up with current affairs on the TV.

He is so infuriating.

Well if he’s not worried about it, I certainly am.