Here’s a test… look at the following symptoms (and lack of symptoms) and tell me what you think it is…
- Severe Headache
- Red, itchy rash on entire body
- Slight tingling and muscle soreness
- Eye balls hurting
- Lethargic, complete lack of energy
Yeah, that’s what we think too. Looks like mama’s got Dengue Fever.
At first we didn’t know what it was. The rash was only on the parts of my body where my clothes were so I chalked that up to a heat rash (I had just walked two miles in a hundred degrees and sweat any and all liquids I had in my body out) or the new detergent I was using. The headache was bad but I’m having a TMJ flare up so I assumed that was related. My muscles were sore, but again, I walked a lot with a backpack on my back and I’ve been swimming a lot more so I assumed that was the cause of that. Then came the fever…I couldn’t really explain that one away.
The first night I was extremely cold while Andy was lying in a pool of sweat, so that made him think maybe I had ciguatera (whose symptoms are remarkably close to dengue). I didn’t feel like any of my bones were breaking or even all that sore so that made sense. We went with that assumption until a few days ago when my eyes started hurting and the rash covered my entire body (save my head) and I was almost unable to get out of bed. So yesterday I went to the hospital to get a test and confirm.
What an experience. Now I’ll preface this with the fact that at least this hospital resembles a hospital and has all the right pieces, parts and players. I do realize that there are much worse off countries and strange places to be. That being said, I was out of my element. After walking around like an idiot for half an hour, I finally found out I needed to have a chart prepared for me. I sat amidst stacks and stacks of files while watching a guy punch holes in a manila folder and carefully place some forms in them. After I filled out the forms, paid my $17 (what a bargain, right?) and got a number, I went to the outpatient area. I was braced for hours of waiting but surprisingly enough, I got in and out in about 45 minutes. After taking my symptoms and sending me to the lab for blood work, they indicated I should come back later for the results. For me, later was today. But dumb me, I went during lunchtime. Apparently, the hospital doesn’t like to work during lunchtime. After much coercing, I convinced a nurse to find me a doctor not eating and that landed me in the emergency room. This is not where people come to get better…I’m convinced this is where you come to catch something worse than what you came in with. I was cursing myself for making a stink, when the doctor finally told me that yes, indeed I did have dengue fever. He gave me a run down of everything to watch for (mostly just bleeding) and told me to come back in two days and have my blood levels checked again. “Sure thing, doc. Right,” and I ran out as fast as I could go.
So, it’s been 7 days since I first got sick and it’s a fairly mild case. I never had the “bone break” part of this fever. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for the headache, this wouldn’t be a big deal at all. I think I got extremely lucky. They say it takes a few weeks for it to completely go away. It’s been a week now and I think the fever is heading out so hopefully the rest will go soon without infecting anyone else.
I still have to slather on the repellent as I don’t want to infect the next mosquito that finds me tasty and pass it on to my closest neighbor (or son, or husband). I also don’t want to get it again as they say the effects are cumulative and it’s much worse the second time around.
On a broader note, we’ve about had all the fun we can handle, what with the rain, continuous spending of money to fix and replace things and now dengue. But Thanksgiving is coming up and we do have a lot to be thankful for, so don’t worry, we’re not losing sight of all that. There’s a potluck next week for Thanksgiving and hopefully soon afterwards, we’ll have our parts and be on our way to brighter, sunnier places. Stay tuned.. my ability to find something interesting to write about is being challenged….I’m going to be digging deep.