Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dengue times: Not much fun

Published: December 17, 2014 07:37 AM
Erna Mahyuni

DECEMBER 17 — While the actual physical experience of dengue was terrible (10/10 would not want to repeat it again), it was entertaining looking back.
My friends were very solicitous and shared their own dengue war stories. They were very useful, honestly as they did prepare me for things like the itching. Why is there not a collective handbook for this? 
Handbooks are boring so instead I will share my dengue chronicles. Warning: very banal and maybe only five per cent useful to actual dengue sufferers who are likely too sick to read this.
Day 1: I have a fever. On the tail-end of my holiday? This sucks. Oh well, suck it up, I will have Panadol and go to the book sale preview. 
Hours later: I am cold. I am tired. I have acquired the 50th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings. I will go to bed now.
Day 2: Still feverish. What is this? Never mind, I will go have a nice lunch in a very nice part of town. I hear the Strato lunch set is excellent value.
Hours later: The only thing I could taste was the strawberry panna cotta. Service was excellent, location excellent. My feelings? Very unexcellent. More Panadol.
I’m still sick but I am on holiday damn it. Off to see the pandas.
Many hours later: I could only bear Zoo Negara for an hour. Fortunately, the pandas felt the same way. The furry things were either asleep or so sick of humans they decided to hide out in their enclosure. 
Day 3: It is Saturday and I am in bed. Normally this would be a delightful state of affairs but I literally can’t get out of bed. Not without wincing anyway. I think I should see the doctor tomorrow.

Day 4: Badger friends to go out for late lunch. Fevers are at least useful ways to guilt your friends into spending time with you. Alas, I am so sick that even the smell of coffee makes me nauseous. I resist the temptation of crying into my cold, lime-y concoction. Can’t drink anything warm despite being cold because they make me want to throw up.
Doctor’s advice: You’ve been feverish this long? Here, take some meds. If your fever doesn’t break by tomorrow, get a dengue test. Oh, perhaps drink some 100 Plus? 
Thanks, doc but the taste of 100 Plus along with 80 per cent of known foodstuffs makes me want to chuck up whatever little dinner I could stomach. I go to bed after taking pain killers, anti-nausea pills and praying I get better by tomorrow.
Day 5: My text to a friend: “I feel like dying.” Cue trip to the nearest GP who does 15-minute dengue tests.
New doctor: Oh my. Yes, you have dengue. Go home and rest and we’ll call you when we get your bloodwork to see if you need to be hospitalised. 
Friends on FB: Get well soon! Drink 100 Plus? How about papaya leaves? Try bathing in pomegranate juice! Don’t die!
Day 6: I don’t have to stay in the hospital hurrah. The meds have perked my spirits somewhat and am amused by all the dengue stories I’m hearing. 
My hands and feet are starting to itch though. It seems this will be at least a two-day state of affairs. Itching won’t kill me, right?
Day 7: I was wrong. The itching was murder. I could sleep through fever, joint pains and my annoying little dog’s barking at the neighbours. But the itching. I want to kill all mosquitoes with a flamethrower. One problem though: even standing for more than 30 seconds gets me winded.
Clinic: Hello, miss. Have you gone for a followup at the hospital? Of course you have to go. You have dengue. 
Doc at hospital: Do you have insurance? You could let it pay for a hospital stay. No, you don’t actually need to stay at the hospital. Your platelet count is 146,000. But your insurance company would pay for it, right? Why are you giving me dagger eyes? You need to sleep from the itching? Fine, then, have some Xanax.
Note to self: Never visiting this hospital again. 
Day 8: The Xanax helped. The antihistamines? Not so much. Less itching. More sleeping. I had sambal sotong. It’s nice to be able to eat without wanting to up chuck everything.
Day 9: And the nausea’s back. I hate the world.
Day 10: Feeling a little better. I can finally stay on Facebook for a record 10 minutes. This is an achievement as dengue had me so tired I can barely manage even a Facebook update. Everything is too tiring. Standing is tiring. Sitting is tiring. Social media is tiring. Tweeting feels like actual work. Haven’t checked my email for days. 

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