Monday, October 6, 2014

Radical Etiquette


Photo courtesy Flickr

Over the week-end I enjoyed a visit with a senior nurse who works in Europe. Ebola was on my mind, but I hesitated to bring up such a serious topic on a festive occasion. Elaine brought it up herself and was surprised to learn that hugs, handshakes, and sharing food are out for now, at least where the feverish are concerned. A brief surf before writing this post also brings up the reminder to wash hands often. Eating bush meat is not much of an issue on Capitol Hill, nor is avoiding monkeys.

Later in the day, my partner mentioned the enterovirus that acts like polio and has now spread to forty-eight states. Elaine was startled, concerned, and mentioned that she had not heard of the problem. It won’t be long before acting like a 1950s stiff (“Hug? What’s a hug?”) will be the revived norm.

An aunt trained as a public health nurse and spent many years working with the Red Cross on Pacific Islands. She had, as a someone remarked, a mouth on her. Describing a preventable cholera epidemic, Auntie Kay said she accidentally used the term Turkie when she was bidding farewell to a local official who was escorting her onto a departing plane. 

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