An Update on our Health

It’s hard to find the right words this week. It was a less than ideal week. Remember how I mentioned that I had a fever the previous week? Well, after various symptoms, multiple visits to the doctor, and blood tests, we finally found out what was going on with both of us: both John and I came down with dengue fever. Dengue fever is a disease carried by certain day-time mosquitoes. There is no vaccination for it, and it can lead to severe complications. Our symptoms included fever, an all-body rash, joint pain and aches throughout our bodies, a headache for John for 6 days, lightheadedness for Susan, and general fatigue.

Our blood platelet count was decreasing, so our doctor had us admitted to the hospital. After 2 days of IVs to stay hydrated and monitoring our blood platelet count, we were discharged because our blood platelet count began improving again. We did enjoy one aspect of our hospital stay: free WIFI! It was especially great so we could stay in touch with our families, who were naturally very worried about us.

At least we were able to share a hospital room!

Although none of the experience was really free. We had to pay the hospital bill and need to get reimbursed by our emergency medical health care plan. Hopefully that all works out without a hitch.

I’m writing this blog a day after being out of the hospital, and I have to be honest: I don’t feel great. The fatigue is still there, and I have had a headache for part of the day. And I generally just don’t feel back to normal. It’s a little frustrating because I have been battling some aspect of the dengue fever symptoms for over a week. I’m ready to feel normal again! At the same time, I’m also very grateful that we are both doing better. John was especially unwell in the hospital. He felt much worse than me, had that headache for days, had a fever, and did not look so great. It’s scary how very real life can become at a moment’s notice.

For some reason, though, I was very positive in the hospital. We laughed a lot because we happened to get admitted to the hospital on our 3-year wedding anniversary. It was not how we expected we would be spending it! And I did not become overly worried during our hospital stay. But now that I’m back at our volunteer house, I have a little more anxiety about it all and some appreciation for the gravity of our situation. Now I really hope that we can fully recover and get back to our lives here.

I had never had an IV before, nor been admitted to the hospital (besides perhaps a few hours to get stitches when I was a young child). It was such a different kind of experience for me. First of all, I have an appreciation for anyone who needs an IV for awhile. It makes everything more complicated, like going to the bathroom and taking a shower and even sleeping. There also is the boredom. We had a TV, but it was hard to change the channels easily and we only ended up finding TV in Thai. We had brought our computers and a couple of DVDs, only to have one of the movies cut out toward the last 1/3 of the movie due to a scratched-up DVD. Since we didn’t feel that well, it was hard to concentrate on reading. Thankfully, we wanted to sleep a lot of the time, so that kept us occupied. 

Oh, also, once the doctor suggested that we walk around the hospital a bit, we found a cafe downstairs and bought ourselves some ice cream. That was the highlight of our day, besides a visit from Antonia and Sr. Pranee.

Pad Thai at the hospital for lunch. Not bad!

Not everyone fully recovers from dengue fever, and there are cases in which people die. I don’t write this to worry my family any more than we already have. But it makes me appreciate my life some more. I’m not ready for it to end, and the idea of it ending (which is a fact of life) is a little disconcerting.

Tonight I also played the keyboard for the first time in a week. I actually tried to play before we were admitted to the hospital but had to stop due to the achy, joint pain in my hands. I am grateful to be able to play again. Unnerving weeks like these make me appreciate the little joys in life.

Thank you for your prayers and kind thoughts, those of you that we were in touch with during our hospital stay. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers, as we aim to get back to normal.

The view from our room at the hospital