Earaches, Aftershocks and Dengue

 

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The last bit of time has been a bit strange, not bad per say, but odd anyway. I guess that’s okay. Not every week can be exciting and enticing, but notable in other ways.
Probably around 10 days ago, we started a week of what seemed like daily aftershocks. Aftershocks have been routine since the big earthquake over 3 months ago. But, the past few have been particularly noisy and close to the surface as the earth continues to settle. There has not been further damage, just rattled nerves and renewed hysteria for others. More or less, a little commotion as we run from our houses..and chatter in the community. For most of us, it is normal now and we try to believe it when the new tells us that this activity is typical and even good. Of course, there is always that 1 person who plays chicken little, and believes that the sky is falling every single time we hear a crackle. For them, these days are torture. For the rest of us, we offer what comfort we can, and try to avoid getting pulled into the negatively.
The weather here has changed a lot recently. We’ve been surprised by the gradual dip in temperatures, humidity, and even cloud cover.
We are about mid-way through the dry season, but we do live in a sub-tropical region. We didn’t expect to experience cool nights and days in the upper 70s, but we are loving it! The change is a great relief from the hot and wet high season. It is actually so dry right now, that many plants and leaves drop their leaves to survive the drought season. In combination with the cooler temps, the bare trees and brown grass, give the slightest resemblance to autumn in the states. The kids have even asked if it’s going to snow soon…thank goodness, I can confidently say No to that one đŸ™‚
With these seasonal changes, have come the inevitable local cold viruses. We certainly have been aware that many people have been under the weather recently, what we didn’t realize was that it wasn’t all related to flu type viruses. All of us got a cold, and we tried to lay around for a few days to escape with only minor sniffles and fevers. Thankfully, Peanut and Carlos, seemed to bounce right back, and I thought I was on the way too. But, late in the evening one day, Monkey began crying over an ear infection. Rather than wait it out until morning, we decided to give the house doctor a call. Awhile later, the Doctor arrived at our house, around 9 pm. She had some concerns, as he recently had a double ear infection. She said that babies and young kids need at least 6 months between infection to establish a healthy ear. I was a bit stunned when she wanted to give him an injection. I’ve never heard of that for an ear infection. But, it was amazing! It was something if an anti-inflammatory that seemed to give instant relief. By the time she left, he was bouncing around the house and we could hardly convince him to go to bed! He slept all night and never complained about his ears again. He is also on 10 days of Amoxicillin for the infection.
Before the doctor could leave, my husband piped up and let her know that I hadn’t been feeling well either. I wasn’t going to mention it, as my fever had broken, and I really wasn’t feeling that bad. But, he seemed to think that the tingling I’d been having in my neck and spine were noteworthy…eh, maybe he was right! But, I thought that I had just slept wrong or something. So anyway, the doctor took my temp, checked my ears, throat, and eyes. Took a step back, looked at all of us and told my husband that I had Dengue.
Huh?! You mean to say that Dengue and Chickenguya are real illnesses and not some silly words that the locals made up for the flu? We had heard many people in the community talking about these lately, but we didn’t think much of them, and even giggled and teased them about the silly names. The doctor then explained that the viruses are actually transmitted via infected mosquitos. Dengue in particular can cause joint and muscle pain severe enough to temporarily disable a person. And if uncontrolled, the fever can rise high enough to be hemorrhagic. It is not normally life threatening, but can cause severe discomfort for days to weeks following infection. There is not a vaccine to prevent the virus, nor is there a cure. The only treatment is rest, hydration and control of the fever and pain.
The doctor said that we were lucky, we caught it early, and she could give me a few shots to help control the most severe symptoms. Shots?! 3 to be exact. She gave me a dose of vitamin B12 and two that were a type of analgesic, something similar to what is used for Rheumatoid Arthritis. At least I think so…this was all happening fast, and in Spanish..and I was quite honestly stunned. I was given 3 other medications, to control the fever, my cold symptoms, and to protect the liver from damage that can be caused by the toxins of the disease.
For the first several hours and days, I was a bit suspicious. I couldn’t understand that such an extreme diagnosis could be made in under 5 minutes, without a blood test. I did not want to take the medications and I certainly didn’t want to stay in bed. I also didn’t recall getting bit by mosquito either. I’m generally suspicious of doctors anyway, I don’t like to take medications, and I honestly don’t have the time or patience to stay in bed with 2 small kids running around. But, I should’ve listened. On each subsequent day, I experienced a new ailment. One day, it was my hands and wrists, the next it was elbows and back. I took a few days to do nothing and then went for a walk the following afternoon. After returning home, I couldn’t get out of bed for almost 12 hours, with pain so severe that I couldn’t walk, and Carlos even had to carry me up and down the steps on two occasions. I did and I do, have Dengue. I still have a few days to a week before it clears my system, if I rest. I’m feeling a lot better now, but will be following doctor’s orders from here on out. My instructions are to finish the medications, avoid shrimp and pork, rest, and hydrate. No workouts for the week, and little other activity as well. Hopefully, with these precautions, life will be back to normal by the end of the week.

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