I am a nurse. I am also a country music fan, and have been one for almost ten years, although many of my friends predicted the phase would be over as soon as it began back in college while I was volunteering at a fire station.
A few nights ago I was driving and the CMAs were playing on both of my go to night-time-driving zone-out country stations. I heard Miranda Lambert cover All About that Bass and I was all about it.
Immediately following that hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood began making a series of terrible jokes. Having lived a number of years with a Grumpy Old Man I have a high tolerance and even occasional appreciation for the terrible joke. I did not change the station. However Mr. Paisley, who I was a pretty big fan of until the whole Accidental Racist thing left me a little queasy, proceeded to
make a joke attack Kaci Hickox for taking a bike ride instead of staying in “quarantine”.
And I will never forget it. I do not care if some of his songs used to be funny to me, I do not care if his wife was in Father of the Bride (and a huge Barack Obama supporter), and I especially do not care if this is all a ploy to earn the
respect money of fans who think the word “liberal” is basically the word “Stalin.” If those are the fans he is after Mr. Paisley can have them. I will be taking my fandom elsewhere.
Because Kaci Hickox is a hero. She risked her life to provide direct nursing care to people sick and dying of Ebola. I have cared for the sick and dying and it is physically and emotionally exhausting, and often a dirty difficult job. But I have never had reason to believe that I was in real danger of anything happening to me as a result except like spider veins. Doctors Without Borders, who I believe this nurse was working with, have an excellent safety record and I really hope their staff get through their long hard days feeling mostly safe. But from what I have read, in some hospitals in Liberia almost the entire nursing staff, and in one case the entire phlebotomy staff, have died. May they rest in peace, good people who died while trying to ease the suffering of others and stem the tide of a devastating disease. There is a reason to fear for yourself if you are with an Ebola patient while they are vomiting and otherwise getting bodily fluids on everything including you at the late stages of the disease, long after the initial fever spikes, when the virus has multiplied and multiplied and the amount of Ebola in each droplet is high. There is reason to use appropriate protective gear and for hospitals to reserve precious time for staff to learn to put it on and take it off safely.
But as far as I know, the people in those circumstances, the caretakers who are all up in it caring for people dying from Ebola, are the ones at risk of getting sick. None of the family members of the Ebola patients in the U.S have gotten sick, including those of Thomas Eric Duncan, although they were at home with him for three days after he was sent away from a Dallas hospital with a fever. Thankfully they are fine. And Kaci hasn’t gotten anyone sick either, which is not remotely surprising since she never actually had Ebola. She was treated senselessly and cruelly and even now Brad Paisley is making fun of her on tv, and I wonder if that means he would just walk by a child sick and suffering out of fear for his own life? Or make fun of anyone who actually stopped to help? I don’t think that everyone has to risk their lives for any random person. I haven’t. But Kaci Hickox did and she deserves our praise and our thanks.
Good people, working hard to help others, putting their lives on the line, I thought this was something country music could get behind? Hard working nurses taking care of the world’s suffering, I thought we were what country music stood for (sister’s a nurse at the old folks home!). Well Brad Paisley does not stand for that. He owes nurses an apology, one nurse in particular, and until then I hold out hope that at least in private he is ashamed of himself.
*I am not an internet ranter usually, I prefer to write about caterpillars and leave the raging to the Bill O’Reillys and the Jon Stewarts. I also think a lot of people know and agree with these things already, but when I google Brad Paisley nurse there is not much commentary to be found and I aim to change that.