Via Vox.com, an article by Julia Belluz: "I can't believe I am alive": what it's like to survive Ebola. Excerpt:
Gloria Tumwijuke can't forget the patient who gave her Ebola: she was a young mother, five months pregnant with another child. She arrived at the hospital on a blood-drenched mattress, blood rushing out of her eyes, nose, and ears. Gloria, a midwife, didn't suspect Ebola. She tried to save her patient and instead contracted one of the world's deadliest viruses.
Gloria is among a handful of survivors of a 2012 Ebola outbreak in the Kibaale district of western Uganda. The disease struck 11 people; four died.
From her home in Kibaale, she told us about what Ebola did to her body, how she beat it, and what it was like return to a community where everyone was afraid of her. Here's a transcript of our conversation, edited for clarity.
Julia Belluz: How did you come into contact with the Ebola virus?
Gloria Tumwijuke: I was seeing a mother who had had a pregnancy for five months, and she came into the hospital bleeding. The mother was bleeding in the mouth, nose, and ears. They carried her into the hospital on a mattress, and the mattress was covered with blood. She couldn't talk. I was getting her history and found out her relatives had passed away, her husband died. All of her children died.
I started cleaning her, putting all the fluids in her, giving her antibiotics. After removing the fetus, she kept severely bleeding. The baby was already dead. I cared for her for six hours but eventually she died. She had Ebola. I ended up getting Ebola.
JB: Were you wearing protective gear — gloves, a gown, a mask — when you cared for this patient?
GT: When she came in, I was putting on gloves. I didn't put on boots. I didn't have a gown. I was trying to remove the placenta from her, and blood gushed on me, on my arms and body. I cleaned myself quickly because I was worried. Then I continued to help her.
I realized I didn't protect myself very well. But the mother entered into the hospital very quickly, and I had to rush quickly to help her. She was going to fall off the bed, and I was trying to support her. I didn't have time to put on my gown. This taught me to protect myself before I do any procedure.
JB: At that time, did you suspect this woman might have Ebola?
GT: I didn't even know Ebola was in Uganda. At that time, Ebola had not yet been known in my region.