Where were you when you first heard word that there might be an Ebola case in New York? Eric Silverman, a 27-year-old Brooklyn grad student who was admitted to Mount Sinai with a high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, was in his hospital bed texting and watching CNN.
"Is that me they are talking about?" he asked a nurse. Yes, yes they were.
"It was surreal," Silverman recalls, in an interview with the New York Daily News about his 72 hours in quarantine. "Even my friends didn't believe me when I told them I was the mystery patient. They thought I was joking."
Case in point, this series of text messages he claims to have sent to a buddy, Zak, from his isolation room. Possibly being infected by Ebola is "not that amazing, kinda annoying," he says.
Eric: I have something crazy to tell you.
Zak: Hahaha something so crazy that you couldn't wait until noon to share? Are you patient zero at Mount Sinai? I know you were the one to have contracted Ebola…
Eric: Yeah that's me.
Zak: Haha, tough break, my man. Well you had a pretty good run. Not great, but pretty good.
Eric: Thanks, buddy.
Zak: Haha. What do you have to tell me, though? I mean, it couldn't wait till after 8:30 so it has to be amazing.
Eric: I just told you. It's not that amazing, kinda annoying.
Zak: Wait, what? Holy sh—. Are you ok? What's going on? What are they saying? O jeez, Eric- I'm so sorry. Are they saying that your ok?
Eric: Yeah I'll be okay. Just a precaution. I had a bad fever and diarrhea and so they freaked out when I said I was just in SL (Sierra Leone)
Zak: How are you feeling now?
Eric: Better, just the same symptoms tho. Obv keep this on the dl don't want my name getting out.
Obv keep this on the dl don't want my name getting out.
Zak: Are you in the hospital?
Eric: I'm in a glass box.
Zak: You're quarantined? How much longer do they need you for observation? I'm going to assume I can't visit, huh? Haha
Eric: Yes only spacesuits are allowed inside They should know today My blood work is now in Atlanta.
Zak: That's totally surreal. What a bizarre experience that must be. How are you holding up? How many days have you been there?
Eric: Since Sunday night. That's pretty funny that you guessed it right off the bat.
Zak: Haha…for the past couple of days The Guardian has been running stories on your case. I would read them and joke with K that it must be you. Of course, I would have never in a million years thought that you were the mystery patient. Besides having no human contact outside of men in spacesuits, are you feeling ok?
Eric: Yeah, just sleeping a lot and watching boring TV, not much else to do…
Zak: Well when you get out we'll go out to a big dinner. Or, at the very least, an evening of NBA JAM.
Eric: Haha ok thanks, You might know before me if you're watching CNN.
On Wednesday afternoon he was given the good news that his tests had come back negative. "When Dr. Powell and the hospital president, David Reich, both walked into my room not wearing hazmat suits, I knew then I was clear!" Silverman says. "This was definitely an experience."
Meanwhile, the experience in African hospitals is much different . . .
[Image via AP]