Thursday, 22 January 2009

How Dengue Helped Open My Eyes

No one in his right mind would wish to have contracted a disease that could be as life threatening as dengue fever. However, yours truly was a recent victim of the disease. I'm not sure when and where I got it as I didn't notice any mosquito biting me in my lower leg area. But one thing was sure, my body flared up while I was sleeping on Jan. 4, 2009. I wondered how I got the fever as I didn't feel weak days before. I presumed I must've gotten it from my kumpare, Philip as we had dinner the night before.

Since I woke up with a 39 degree fever with a matching heavy head and aching back, I could not and did not go out of the house the whole day. I was quite sleepy the whole day too and I didn't pay much attention to the fever as it seemed like any other fever. What's worse was all the paracetamol I was taking wasn't helping as the fever wasn't going down. My wife was already wondering about it. The following day, I went to work with the fever hardly going down. I didn't feel weak, just a bit sleepy as I did my work duties. I didn't know I was weak due to the fever until I was going down the steps and I slipped, hitting my head on the wall that gave me an immediate headache and neckache at the same time. Since the I still had some fever on the 3rd day, I decided to have myself checked as to what was going on.

While the doctor was examining me, he already was suspecting I had dengue although the typical symptoms were not present. He asked me to get a complete blood count to rule out dengue. What followed next were days of edginess for everyone in the family. The first result of my blood test came out that I had below the normal platelet count (it was 166 from a normal range of 200 to 400). To be sure that this wasn't an anomaly, I had another test done 12 hours later. While the test was still being processed, I went to my office not knowing that I was getting weaker by the moment. I was quite weak that it only came out when I tried to stand up from my seat and I couldn't do it normally. My legs could hardly hold me up, and I felt very light headed when I stood up. But that wasn't what worried me. Starting at around 3pm of Jan. 7, the inside of my mouth hardly had any saliva in it. It was abnormally dry. I suddenly became dehyrdated. I drank a lot of water and Gatorade but my mouth stayed dry. This was when a little panic set in. At the same time, my wife was frantic on the phone. She was somehow shouting at me over the phone that my platelet dropped to 157. Right there and then, I decided I had to confine myself. This was quite serious.

I knew I was going to be in the hospital for a while so before I left, I had to hug my 2 daughters since I wasn't going to see them for some time. Upon entering the emergency room, I had to wait for a few hours as there were no rooms available yet. However, I had to be given dextrose immediately to prevent further dehydration. And then, the long wait starts...

All throughout the time I was confined, I felt fine since I was being given dextrose. I had no fever, no aches, I didn't feel weak BUT my platelets kept on dropping. I was quite concerned when my platelets were below 110 as I knew I was already taking stuff that should help in my recovery yet it had already been 2 days since I was taking them but there doesn't seem to be any effect.

While being confined, it was then that I learned how much I meant to the people related to me. Of course, I did expect my wife and family to do what they can to help me in my recovery. But it was how they helped that showed me how much they love me, and that is actually a rare sight for me to see. It's not that they're ashamed to show it, it's more of with the daily hustle and bustle of life, we tend to overlook these things.

I also learned who were my real friends during my stay in the hospital. Those who I knew were close to me reinforced my perception of them, and some even more so. Too bad that I also learned that some friends who knew about my condition were disappointing. Oh well, we can't have everything.

I was able to get my platelet back up around late Sunday and I was released by the doctor on Monday afternoon. So this post is actually more of people I want to thank while I was sick.

First and foremost would be to the Lord for giving me a second lease on life and opening my eyes to things that I took for granted. Many thanks also to Dr. Fernando Ayuyao for being able to detect that I had dengue and we were able to prevent anything serious from happening. My wife, Irene, my father-in-law, Jose and especially my mother-in-law, Alicia, for doing more than what was expected. My daughters Ayisha and Ashley for welcoming me back home with open arms. My parents, Sabino & Avelina for visiting me daily and giving me my supply of tawa-tawa leaves. My sister, Belina, my brother-in-law, Bobbie, my brother Brenno, and my sister-in-law, Bea, for visiting me in the hospital. My brother Bronne and sister-in-law Alma, for asking how I was doing. My kumpare, Philip and kumare Tina, for cheering me up while waiting for the good news to come. My kumpare Bernie and kumare Madonna for visiting me at home. My kumare Gel for visiting me in between her hectic schedule, my kumpare Junjun for asking how I was doing. My partners, Gwen, Al, and Danny for constantly checking on how I was. Actually a special mention goes to Danny for doing what he can to help me out. Bro, you're really the brother-in-Christ that I'm glad I have.

If I missed out on thanking anyone else, pardon me for overlooking you. I still thank you for doing what you can for me.

I guess I would now start to look at life differently after treading a possible path back to our Creator.