The lived experience of waiting-to-know: Ebola at Mbarara, Uganda – hoping for life, anticipating death
Purpose of the study. The purpose of the study was to describe the phenomenon of ‘waiting to know’. It is a phenomenon uniquely experienced by persons who had been exposed to patients with Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola) but who have not yet exhibited signs and symptoms of the disease.
Research method/analysis. The phenomenological human science approach was used using the four life worlds as guides for reflection. These are spatiality, corporeality, temporality, and relationality.
Participants. Seven health care personnel were selected through professional networking. They were preferred because of their exposure to patients with Ebola during the epidemic at Mbarara, Uganda.
Results/findings. Written descriptions of the experience of ‘waiting to know’ whether exposure to patients with Ebola causes these participants to be infected, were obtained and analysed. Through immersion with the written descriptions, the following themes emerged: helplessness in anticipation and fear of dying or premature death; agonizing and languishing over losing relatives, friends, and loved ones; trusting no one, and; helplessness and hopelessness with the persistence of time.