November 4, 2015
It started out as my normal day. I woke up at 7AM, Slept some more, Got up at 7:30AM and franticly rushed to get myself ready for work. By 7:50, I was out the door and squeezing my way in to a tricycle to get to my bus stop.
Now my normal commute takes me about an hour or two to get to the office. It was a bit traffic (as usual, when was it not traffic?!). But by the time I passed MRT Taft Station, I suddenly have this feeling of hotness. No, not hot as in va-va-voom. Literally, hot. Since it would take me about 20 minutes to get to the office, I had to hang in there.
I arrived in the office at around 9:20, I dropped my bag, fired up my laptop and email then when directly to the clinic where I found out I had a 37.7 °C fever. I was advised to take a paracetamol and go back to the nurse after an hour for another check of my temperature. It went down to 37.1 °C and I decided to go on with my BUSY (when have I ever been not busy?).
The previous week I was already having stressful one. To top that off, I have been feeling under the weather also. Such is life I guess? When you have SO many things to do, you get sick. So I was… What was the operative word? Hanging in there… Yup that’s the one. I was hanging in there. I was doing a pretty good job but then lunch came and I feel my fever progress. I decided to take the rest of the day off. After doing all the important ones, I packed my stuff, then hailed a taxi to take me home.
The cabbie who took me in noticed that I was sick. He mentioned I need to take in water always and keep hydrated, We also chit chatted about other stuff that I barely recall.
When I got home, my mother took my temperature and it was a whooping 39.9 °C! I immediately crashed to the sofa and snoozed off. The rest of the day was me sleeping, being roused to eat or take meds, going to the bathroom to pee the sleep again. And repeat.
November 5, 2015
My temperature was fluctuating like crazy. It would dip to 37.9 °C then rise to 39.9°C in a span of an hour.
I was just thinking that I had flu primarily to the high temperatures that I experience as well as migraine, stomach pains then numb limbs. Yup, sure felt like flu. But boy, I was wrong.
The rest of the day was me sleeping, being roused to eat or take meds, going to the bathroom to pee the sleep again. And repeat.
Around midday, I was feeling a bit itchy. Rashes were forming on my face. I panicked a bit. I was guessing I had dengue.
I asked my mother if she can accompany me to the ER at the nearest hospital. We took a tricycle and 30 minutes later, I was in the ER for the first time. Well, I’ve been to the ER a few time. It would be first time that I will checking myself in. Since my case was not fatal, it took a while for the doctor to take a look at me. It was just cold in the ER and I did not expect it. It was a good thing my mother had a scarf. After waiting for 2 hours for the blood test results, it was confirmed, I have dengue fever.
Dengue fever is caused by a mosquito bite where in the dengue parasite enters the blood stream then attacks your platelets inhibiting the blood’s ability to coagulate. Hence, if you encounter any bleeding, your blood will just continue flowing.
Based on my blood work, I still have 272 level of platelets, very far from the critical levels.
I was given two options: one was to go home and go back again the following morning for another round of blood work or two was have to have myself confined for monitoring. I initially wanted to be confined so that I can be monitored by professionals. But unfortunately, the hospital was full and I cannot be admitted. Since I had no choice, I need to go home. It was another ride to get home and it was a doozy.
When we arrived home, my mother used her connections to secure my a room at another hospital. Fortunately, there was an available room the following day.
Spent the rest of the day sleeping, taking meds, peeing and repeat.
November 6, 2015
I woke up the following morning, still with fever. I felt like shit but I had to muster all the strength I could and took to the jeep and got myself to an ER again. I went to the University of Perpetual Help Hospital.
I presented my results, but unfortunately, the hospital wanted to do their own test. I was dizzy from the commute from our house to the hospital to care. The doctor who attended to me was a stern one and direct to the point. She asked what meds I took. Mainly paracetamol and antibiotics that my mother insisted I take too. She was not impressed and told us about the danger of self-medication. Was designated a bed in the ER to wait that was supposed to be for pregnant women. I would have smiled but I was again too dizzy to care again. After about almost half an hour, a med tech came in an took my blood while my critic mother and physical therapist brother observed. They didn’t like how the blood was drawn because she poked around my vein as if looking for something. I saw how their eye brows raised but thankfully, they did not comment. It would take about an hour for the blood test to arrive. In the meantime, I was fitted with an IV and got paracetamol and something for nausea through it. Then I also got an anti-histamine shot on my arm afterwards. The nausea drug was given too late I think as I had to find the rest room and puke. When I returned to the ER bed, I dozed off.
After an hour I was roused, to find a doctor, a new one, to discuss the results of my blood work. They confirmed that I have dengue. If the doctor was the same one as who attended me earlier, I would have said “I told you so!”. The new doctor seemed kinder so I shut my mouth. She mentioned that my platelets dropped to 180 level and that I have an option to get myself confined or go home and just return again for the blood work. I told her I wanted to be confined and that we have reserved a room already. She left to confirm my confinement.
Now you might find it weird that I was a bit happy when I said that I wanted to be confined. Well, because in my 29 yrs of existence, I have never been confined nor had dextrose attached to me. It was on my bucket list to be honest. So when they attached a dextrose to my IV and they got me on a wheel chair to be wheeled away to my room, I wanted to do a cartwheel and a high kick of joy. But I couldn’t. I can’t even muster the strength to take a selfie.
I was wheeled to room 326 of the hospital at a time that I was not able to note down. It was definitely in the afternoon. I’m sure of that. I was laid on the bed and my dextrose was placed on the mount and the ER nurse left after us thanking him. I was happy to be confined.
My younger sister volunteered to stay with me over night together with her husband. After bidding my mother, brother and father goodbye, I decided to open my laptop to check up on emails.
Yeah. Yeah. Call me a workaholic, I wouldn’t mind. I also asked my sister to go out and but pizza from a pizza joint. I was thinking that seeing pizza might boost my appetite since pizza (all the meaty ones) are just good. Since I had fever, I lost my drive to eat. So she left and returned with a box of pizza together with their dinner. It took her about 30 minutes to get back. I was on my laptop until she returned. I was dizzy again. I would have thought myself pregnant but how the ef will that happen right? LOL. So I shut down my laptop and decided never to open it again whilst I was still confined.
I was famished and asked for a slice but my taste buds seems to have left for vacation. I was not even able to finish an entire slice! Something was wrong. Really wrong. I knew there was supposed to be dinner to be served from the hospital so I decided to give it a try.
The dinner lady arrived a few minute earlier with hospital food wrapped in cling wrap. It looked OK. But when I took off the cling wrap and got a whiff of the food, my stomach turned. It didn’t smell bad really. But my system didn’t want anything to do with it at the moment I guess. I tried to eat some. But after about 5 spoons of viand and rice, I have had enough. I laid down and slept.
My assigned nurse also came and gave me a urinal as well as a sheet of paper to monitor my liquid intake and outtake. I was like “seriously?”. But as per her, I need to be well hydrated and to monitor it properly, I have to log it. I was told I can’t brush my teeth and have to check my poop if it was black (indication of bleeding) and I can’t eat dark colored foods. I was to expect another blood drawing by tomorrow morning at around 6:00 am. She also gave me oral meds that I had to take. It was a good thing the nurse was nice.
I laid down and waited for On The Wings of Love to start. I guess that was to only good thing being confined brought: I would be able to watch my shows. Well, I didn’t have any other options. After the show, I tried to sleep.
I was able to sleep for about an hour but was awakened by the nurse who was monitoring my liquid intake and outtake, my temperature, my blood pressure, my pulse and how I felt. After the checks, I would doze off only to wake up again either to pee or to deal with the nurse or just lay on the bed.
November 7, 2015
My interrupted sleep was yet again interrupted by a med tech who came in at about 6:00 AM who was supposed to draw my blood for testing. I offered up my right arm. Apparently, they have to draw blood from the free arm and not the one with the needle so as not to stress the veins. Fortunately, I was never queasy with needles and blood. I slept again after she left.
I woke up at about 8:00 AM. The food tray has arrived and it still puke-inducing. But I had to eat something. Same as with yesterday, I had about 5 bites, I had enough. I took my meds from the nurse. Then dozed off again to wake up at around 10:00 AM. I had sponge bath and got dressed in them hospital gowns. It seemed impossible for me to think of a way to get my t-shirt off without cutting it but apparently, there was a way to remove them but removing it through the IV. Thank God the nurse knew the way. The hospital gowns were cool. The ones they had were tied at the back. I thought, I’d die because of dengue or pneumonia. LOL
Having spent a night in the hospital was kinda like staying at a hotel but with a nurse monitoring your vital signs every hour or two. The dextrose was also an indicator.
Oh! I forgot the share, that I had like a backflow scare (that rhymed) ! Backflow is when your IV stops and your blood flows through the tubes. Here’s the story. As of this morning, I have consumed about 2 gallons of water already. I thought of myself as part camel because of all the liquid intake. I didn’t have the hump so I discarded the idea. So if you intake water you have to pee a lot. I had like a lot of pee trips that entailed me dragging the IV stand to the bathroom and doing the deed. I did it all by myself (cue in Celine Dion please). So there was this backflow that happened when I was peeing. I had a lot to drink so it was a long pee session to a point that my blood flowed almost the halfway length of the tubes and I only realized it when I got out of the loo. I was like, “call the nurse” to my sister in a calm voice. She was like “why, what happened?”. I showed her the backflow then she dialed for the nurse. The nurse came and fixed it. While she was doing her thing, I asked her, what was the worst thing that can happen because of back flow. As per her, there was no danger. But we have to press the oozed blood out of the tubes and back to my veins. Then we had to make sure that the IV was dripping again. Apparently, even if I successfully tweak the IV to flowing again, I still need to coordinate with the nurses because there is a timing for the flow. Whatever that means. Afterwards, it was a normal day. I watched Eat Bulaga’s Kalye Serye and got my afternoon doze of kilig (yes, AlDub fan right here! #noshame), ate a little (still had no appetite), slept some, got my vitals checked by nurses, took meds, had sponge baths to combat my fever, drank and peed a LOT! And repeat!
Later that afternoon, my older brother came as he would relieve my sister from hospital duties. It was also his birthday so I was a bit guilty of him accompanying me in the hospital as he was supposed to celebrate his birthday. But he insisted as he was the medical practitioner of the family. He insisted of also monitoring my temperature every hour plus sponge baths after wards.
I watched OTWOL again. Then repeated the same routine.
Oh, BTW, my platelet count dropped to 60! Most people would have panicked but, I felt normal.
Also, I got my first visitors. None other than the S.T.A.R.S of Las Pinas! My besties. All 5 of them. They brought stuff for me. Including a container of papaya leaves extract.
I have tried some of the papaya leaves extract from my dad and it taste terrible! It was vomit inducing, swear! I tried it when I got confined but decided to skip it at that time. Well it was yucky for one (argh!) but I thought of drinking it when my platelets drops to less than 50.
Now, I was told that the best way to bring the platelets up was to take two table spoons a day of that hideous papaya leaves extract. Despite my family insisting I take it, I did not budge and I stuck to my decision. I’m stubborn as hell.
About the visit, it was the normal “how are you?’ questions from them. After me letting them know what happened, the jokes followed! The best one being “Ok lang na ma-dengue basta wag lang ma-denggoy!”. I laughed hard at that joke. Then it was back to our normal programming of day to day life, politics and counseling sessions. That was what I was thankful for. That the conversation did not linger on me being sick but rather it went back to what we really like to discuss. I kinda dozed off for about 30 minutes though (my bad STARS!). When I woke up, they said their final “get well soon” and they were off. I felt better after the visit and dozed off with a smile on my face.
November 8, 2015.
They day went on just as normal as it can go. Same same as I would say.
By now, I think I have consumed about 4 gallons of water since I got confined. I was beginning to get bored really. I’ve watched Capt. America Winter Soldier thrice already as well as SpiderMan 2. Urgh! If I didn’t have IV stuck to my hands, I would have insisted my family to bring my yarn and knitting needles for something to do. I was thinking about a lot of things. And it was a doozy. I was getting paranoid with work stuff and I was day dreaming of traveling again. Mainly because a year ago on the exact dates, I was out of the country for my first solo backpacking trip to Cambodia and Thailand plus I still had no out of the country travel for the entire year. Bummer for a person who receives and answers the call of wanderlust!.
BTW, from my left hand, my IV had to be transferred to my right. My left hand was a bit swollen. And as per the nurses, it means that the vein is already irritated and the fluids are not received by the vein. The nurse had to go back to their station and come back with new needles. Initially, she got the blue one. But after poking for my veins, she was not able to fully insert it. So we opted for the yellow ones which were a bit smaller. I didn’t mind being poked but it was a bit painful but thank fully, she was able to transfer it. She got me a warm pack to reduce the swelling of my right hand which helped a lot. I guess the maximum time per arm to accommodate IV was two days. Me and my sensitive veins LOL!
I got my second visitor at around 4:00 PM. Ms. Che from my previous employment who lived in Las Pinas also and we still work together for Microsoft. She got me lakatan bananas (she knows I love them bananas LOL). We chatted a bit about work and what was her experience when her son Kiro also had dengue. It was nice to chat with someone who went through the same thing. It was kinda like passing on knowledge of the entire ordeal. She asked if I was taking tawa tawa tea (it’s a local herb that she had Kiro drink to bring up his platelets). I told her I was taking papaya leaves extract and she volunteered to look for tawa tawa and make the tea and bring it back to me at the hospital. I didn’t want to bother her too much but she insisted. She went back after two to three hours and brought the tea and two small bags of quail eggs which also helps. I was eating dinner when she got back. She said that the tea was only good to consume until 12 hrs from when it was made. The tea was still hot so I had to wait for it to cool down. I thanked her for her donations and went to eat the quail eggs together with my dinner.
I ate really slow for some weird reason. It took about an hour for me to finish my meals when normally, I can finish eating 15 minutes tops! Appetite was returning and my tolerance for hospital food was sort of getting stronger. I had to wait for like 15 minutes to get rid of the puking sensation. It was torture. Maybe that was just the effect of being sick.
Before turning in, I decided to have a go at the tawatawa tea. I asked for half a glass. That was me trying to be strategic just in case it tastes foul. LOL. It was a good thing I did that. As you all know, we taste through smelling. Tawa tawaa tea smelled to me as dried up sea moss. If in case you have been to Boracay and smelled the dried up sea moss on it shores, that was how it smelled. With my sense of smell being sensitive, I knew it was gonna taste disgusting. Sure enough it did. I said, I can take the bitterness of the papaya leaves extract but I cannot take that tea. I’m gonna have to pass. I would have to stock up on the papaya leaves extract and quail eggs. The eggs I can handle. The papaya leaves extract requires a bit of strategy.
What I do to get it down is to pinch my nose to eliminate that smell. Then would ask for someone to feed me two spoonful. One after the other. After downing them, I need to pop on two pieces of candy in my mouth. In my case, Frutos Lemon flavored candies works the best to combat the bitterness after releasing
So platelet count dropped to 53! I still felt normal and strong in fairness to me. I was not panicking at all. And comparing the changes of my platelets, I took it as a positive note that I slowed down. I took it as a sign that it could go two ways: 1. it might go up already or 2. it could go down still but it should be less than 10 decrease. Since I am an optimist, I believed by first theory. It was doctor’s orders to have blood test done every 12 hours. Because of all the blood tests required my veins felt violated already being poked at every 12 hours. Well, I had to hung on.
November 9, 2015
Twas my 3rd day in the hospital. Still had 38 °C temperature with occasional 39°C. I was still taking meds. I was bored. I felt dirty (not dirty as in dirty). It was just that feeling of not bathing for a while. I felt the oil build up on my scalp, the oiliness of my face and that sticky feeling that you get on a humid day despite being in an airconditioned room. It sucked. I wanted also to step outside the room to walk around. Or at least feel the sun on skin despite the sticky feeling. But the nurse and my brother would not allow it. They said I might faint. Well, I think I never fainted also in my entire life so I tried to push my luck that I can do it. But the iron hand of medicine was put down. I was like “fine” then I rolled my eyes. LOL
I was allowed to walk within the room. Which was a welcome activity because I felt bloated. So after meals I would pace in the room dragging my IV stand. It did sort of help pass gas through my system! LOL.
Since my veins felt violated, I asked the med tech who drew my blood if there was another way of getting blood. They said they could prick me, I said let’s give it a go. So pricking entails the nurse pricking the ends of your fingers and collecting the little blood that oozes out of the pricked skin. I thought it was better to be pricked mainly because it requires less blood to be drawn. I was already loosing platelets and using the syringe was taking more blood from me including platelets. So less blood was helpful for my overall platelet count. I didn’t know where that idea came from. Maybe being confined in a hospital room made your think differently. I guess so.
Well, being confined anywhere would definitely let you think about a lot of things. Mainly things that is happening at the moment and what may happen in the future. I guess the experience allowed me to look in to certain aspects of life that I thought was important but it turned out it didn’t. Those kinda deep stuff.
Then I also had thoughts of what was happening in the office. I tried to get snippets of what was happening in the office from my colleagues.. They would reply to my messages then I IM-ed them or texted them but when I ask about work, they would turn me away. I was currently working on a project and was asking my boss who would be taking over while I was sick but was not answered.
It was a lot to take in but my optimist surfer-like thinking that everything was gonna be OK prevailed than my paranoia. Well, I decided to drop asking questions on just focus on recovering.
Platelet count didn’t turn out as I optimistically expected. It dropped to 40 in the morning then to 38 at night. When I found out the results. I started to panic. I honestly thought I was going to die soon. Everybody seemed to panic when we sent out the report that my platelets dropped to 38. My “everything will turn out OK” attitude kicked in when I noticed that my family and friends were on edge. Some were saying I need to transfer hospitals others were calling me up and expressed their concern. I was like “don’t worry. I’m made up of tough stuff and I’ll survive this ordeal”. They sort bought it but not whole heartedly. Well it was enough to shut them up. I really appreciated the concern but I would rather not hear them panicking as it add up to my stress level. I had to tap my chest and say “all is well”.
I prayed. I chanted. Then went back to sleep.
November 10, 2015
The doctors, the resident and the HMO, both paid me a visit and told me they were surprised that I was still able to move on my own and seemed jolly even with my platelets plummeting to nothingness. They told me the same thing: “We are not requiring transfusion yet. We will do that if your platelets drops to 10.”
They checked there were bleeding. I told them there was a bit of bleeding. I picked my nose and the booger turned out to be coagulated blood and I suffered my sort of first nose bleed! I was excited than scared. It was another first! Well, I imagined I would get my first nose bleed from speaking English with the international people I speak to in con calls from the office. But NO! I would get it from dengue! LOL. It bled when I stick tissue in my nose but there was not enough to drip out of my nose. I still consider it a nose bleed though!
The only good thing was that my fever as completely gone! I think it would have been gone faster if John Lloyd was giving me the paracetamols LOL!. The HMO doctor told me that I can actually take a bath. I looked at her with my “you’re kidding” look. She looked at me with dead serious eyes and uttered a “yes”. I wanted to take a bath but with my IV, I decided to stick to the sponge baths.
As I know, this was the period of dengue that my platelets would really get low. Since I was clinging on to the little platelets that I have. I was dead serious in getting them up. That would mean extra doses of papaya leaf extract and more quail eggs than I can tolerate. That means two tablespoonful of the extract after every meal (which I am not consuming with gusto) and three to four pieces of quail eggs. Now, I am not a fan of quail eggs or any hard boiled eggs at that because I am allergic! But then, the motto now was “whatever it takes!”.
Platelet count dropped to 36 in the morning ensuing more panic! Then it increased to 42 then to 54 then to 52. The increase made everyone more calmer (finally!) but more insistent in feed me the remedies. I took them all as long as my stomach and my petite mouth can accommodate.
November 11, 2015
The next day, I was feeling much better. My appetite was also back! And it was awesome. I asked for Mc Donalds for breakfast. When I got it, I was in HEAVEN!
I have also been smoke free for a week now! And based from what I have read, I would have had my proper smelling and tasting prowess back. I guess it showed in my appetite. The only weird thing was that I didn’t even crossed my mind or craved for my nicotine fix. Must be the dextrose or the fact that I was in an enclosed space. Well for whatever factor, my lungs were celebrating!
Since I was a lot better the boredom was at its maximum level. I was just in the room watching movies on cable channel. Imagine how boring it was. I would have died of boredom. I was pacing inside the room. I was able to get out of the room but was scolded for walking out. I needed sunshine.
I was snacking on pugo and papaya leaves extract every time I eat. I was actually waiting for the results of my blood work. I don’t get it why it takes so long. Well, the nurses told us that the entire floor of the hospital were all dengue fever patients apart from one who was an car accident victim. Must be the reason why it took so long. Their med techs were stretched to their limit.
When I did get the results, it was a whoopin’ 194 platelet count! Ah the joy! I would have cart wheeled if I didn’t have a needle in my arm. But I also don’t know how to cart wheel… LOL.
This meant that I can be discharged tomorrow. We just need to finish some paper works and am out of the hospital.
I have arranged my documents with my employer (health card stuff and government forms) to be picked up by my father the following day.
I slept feeling happy!
November 12, 2015
The nurses came and took my dextrose off. It was a joy to have full control of my arm though it was a bit swollen and bruised.
We were slowly packing our stuff and it was quite a lot. The biscuits, the empty water bottles, pillows, clothes and so on. I ditched the hospital gown and took a bath! Ah the feeling of water and soap on my body was just heaven!
My dad came and the paper works was done and I was out of the room! Ah, sunshine! I missed it despite it being noon, I did not care.
I was supposed to wheeled out to the hospital lobby to wait for my ride home but I said I can manage. I was freakin’ happy to be going home and back to the regular programming of my life. The nurses at the station were surprised to see me walking out but didn’t stop me.
When I got to the lobby, I was slightly dizzy but managed to stand. And the car came and we were homeward bound.
The entire experience was a first. I hope it is the last! But all in all I still learned a lot. I posted it on Facebook and it went like this:
“as you all know, I always share my realizations in life. Can I indulge you with some from recent events?
- I can finally tick “confined in a hospital” and “get an IV” from my bucket list. Yes! They were part of my list since I have never been. Don’t judge me please. LOL… I just made one entry of each and have NO plans of doing them again.
- Being in a hospital and stuck within the confines of your room sucks. Yah, it’s kinda like a hotel but it is not. It’s a big patience test of “when can I get back to my regular life?” and patience was and is never my strong suit. I tried to work but dengue stopped me with dizziness. I tried to walk the halls but dengue stopped me with shortness of breath. Hence the stuck part.
- Woes that comes from the smallest of things sometimes have the BIGGEST impact. The dengue parasite came from a tiny mosquito bit and it cost me (well my HMO) php 40k for hospitalization, lab tests, and others. Never underestimate the tiny mosquito. It may have killed more people than lions, buffalos, sharks, snakes killed combined. Well the rat still holds the title because of the bubonic plague. SPRAY YOUR MOSQUITO REPELLANTS NOW!
- I have a deeper appreciation of nurses now. They were very accommodating, patient and entertaining. It does takes guts to have to deal with sick people on a daily basis. It’s no ordinary feat. If you are a nurse, KUDOS to you!
- Getting texts and FB well wishes and get well soons are really touching. But getting visitors was something else. So to all who visited me and gave me pasalubongs, tawatawa tea, papaya leaves extract, twinkies, fruits, citruses and others, thanks a bunch! You know who you are. I love you to bits.
- To my family, specially my brother, thanks for looking after me. I really appreciate it! I will make bawi to you guys and we can have dinner.
- Life is uncertain. I honestly thought I might die but decided to fight for my life. We have no idea what will happen along the way, so SIEZE each day. Do what makes you happy at nobody’s expense. Say thank you, I love you and sorry. And always ask for the Lord’s guidance.