Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Disease Control

I've talked about Jay's fear of infection, and the lengths he'd go to in order to disinfect himself. In his quest to convince himself that he didn't have "the hiv" or any other STDs he would frequently go to the doctor for a full checkup even if he just touched something unclean or got coughed on in a bar. I was used to hearing about these doctor visits, so when Jay called I asked about them:

"Hey Jay, you been to the doctor lately?"
"No, I've been calling a nurse hotline whenever I get freaked out"
"Hey, that's great. That should be a good option for you. No more crazy trips to the doctor"

Now, some good health care plans will give you 24/7 access to a registered nurse, so I'm assuming that this is a feature of his health plan. Of course this is Jay, so nothing is that simple. About six months later I finally get to the bottom of this:

"Jay, are you still calling that nurse hotline?"
"No, it's junk now. The CDC got rid of the nurses."
"The CDC!? Jay, are you trying to tell me you've been calling the Center for Disease Control?"
"Yeah man. They used to have real nurses who would tell me for sure that I didn't have the hiv."
"Dude, isn't the CDC for ebola outbreaks? What the hell have you been asking them about?"
"Well, today I called them because Claire left a toothbrush at my apartment and I touched it to throw it away, and then I touched my eye before I washed my hands. You don't think I could get AIDS from that do you?"
"Well, first of all Claire didn't have AIDS so I find that kind of unlikely. Secondly, didn't you break up with her like three months ago?"
"Yeah, it was five months ago but still. You know hiv is found in saliva."
"Dude, you're crazy. What did the CDC say?"
"Well, like I said, before it would have been a nurse who would have told me 'you're fine'. Now it's just some dude who searches their database. He said 'I'll search hiv saliva', then he said 'well based on what I'm reading hiv doesn't survive outside the body for more than 20 minutes so it's highly unlikely you're infected'."
"Well, there you go, you're fine."
"Yeah, but he didn't say it was impossible; just that it was highly unlikely. I'm worried man."