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It hurts only if I move.

On the first night, I rolled over in my sleep and was aware of a stiffness in a few of my fingers.
“Potatoes. I haven’t been eating lots of potatoes.  Why are my joints hurting?”

Years ago I figured out a trigger for arthritis-like pain in my hands; some people are sensitive to foods in the nightshade family, and eliminating potatoes from my diet eliminated the painful joints.

I flexed my fingers; one was especially sensitive, like an embedded and festering thorn had lodged beneath the skin. Could the many hours of holding an extra-large paint brush had caused this pain?

Never having problems going to sleep, I rolled over and quickly resumed my dreams.

My hands still hurt in the morning, and when I took my first step, my ankle protested, “Yow!” The other mocked the first. Uh-oh. I suspected that this bout with joint pain would not be as simple as eliminating potatoes from my diet. As I mentioned in the last post, I had spent time with a friend last week who came down with dengue.  Most likely the dreaded dengue virus had climbed aboard via a teeny-weeny mosquito, and if so, it would probably torment me for several weeks before giving up.

Supplies – I needed to stock up on supplies; I did not want a mosquito to bite me and transmit my particular case to other unsuspecting people, so I applied tons of repellent! Having had dengue fever once in the year 2000, I had a good idea what to expect. I went to town and shopped while the moto taxi driver waited patiently at each stop. Like a contorted arthritic patient, I hobbled in and out as pain seared through my feet and back. My head hurt, and my patience was quite short. One kind nice guy in the tienda started asking me how long I had lived here and why I chose Jama and the sundry other questions one is often asked. I was hurting so bad I could barely think, and I replied, “Why do you ask?” It was difficult to think in English, must less speak in Spanish; I apologized and said that I was not feeling well.

By the time I returned home, my fever had spiked. The driver patiently helped me bring the supplies inside – I don’t think I could have carried the 5-gallon jug of water – even the box of groceries seemed too heavy. I unpacked what was necessary, retrieved the thermometer and collapsed in the bed. The thermometer quickly shot to 39.5 (103) and I knew that the next few days would not be too pleasant. I wrote Xavier and told him that I had dengue and to STAY AWAY from the house! Surely one Casa Loca mosquito had bitten me while I was infected, and I didn’t want to wish this illness on anyone.

(Image insert refuses to load!  I’ll try later!)

Dengue knocked me down in the year 2000, and later I said that it felt like every bone in my body was broken. Every cell hurt. My eyes hurt.  If I stood for more than a few minutes, my blood pressure would fall – my body reacts in strange ways to stress, and I have fainted in some strange places! (Sister Pat, do you remember the barrel racing moment in Indianola?! If you do, that’s good, because I remember before and then after, when I awakened beneath the concession stand!)

This week after returning home from town,  I slept about 12 hours and awakened every so often to take my temperature, drink water or juice (by my bed) and return to sleep. Any old injury screamed with pain, but if I stayed very still, not much hurt except my head. There are now five types of the dengue virus, and after you’re infected with one, you don’t have to worry about ever getting that particular one again. You get a lifelong immunity to each type. After getting the first case, you also have a greater chance of developing complications – one is a rash; I was not alarmed when I noted these cute little red orbs dotting my skin! The rash lasted about four hours. My skin was also very puffy, and I thought, “Are these my hands?” (They look normal today!)

I pondered drawing a sketch of what dengue feels like, and I also pondered going downstairs and retrieving John Grisham’s “The Testament,” which describes dengue fever well. I quickly decided against both, as holding a book would be too difficult. Ditto for a pencil.

Last time with fever spiking to 40/104, I was sick for two weeks, and then it took another two to build back my strength. So far this case is not as brutal as the last one. I don’t think it will hang around for two weeks, and it’s nice to take time off and rest! There’s no cough or congestion, just extreme pain when I move!

The video wouldn’t load, but I feel sure that this version of Shel Silverstein’s “Sick” marries well with this post:

(On slow internet, search results pages always load, but the links often will not.)

I am able to read any post that doesn’t have a page-break in the email notification. Getting the pages to open just isn’t working. Emily, I loved your post ‘The Garland’ and wondered if those roses come from Ecuador each year. https://emilievardaman.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/the-garland

Mary, great job on the coreopsis! The page finally loaded, but the comment would not go through. http://oilpastelsbymary.com/2015/05/02/15-paintings-challenge-flowers-in-my-garden-oil-pastels/

Debbie, I tried and tried and tried to open your Fibonacci post, but it just won’t budge! Until I’m in town using faster internet.

Babs, for some reason the devil’s always tormenting me when I try to view your posts on slow connections.  If you see that you had countless hits from Ecuador, it was me, but nothing ever opened – not even the text!   https://salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/after-the-king-fire/

And if any of you have ever had a bad day or a bad week or a bad month/year, Arash will remind you that it’s all about attitude. As I read his post, I realized that these dengue symptoms would be gone in a week to ten days, and he would gladly switch roles —- or perhaps not. He’s doing a pretty grand job of motivating others with his example.  Thanks, Arash, I’m so proud that you’re getting a much-larger and well-deserved  audience!

Well that’s enough for this epistle!  My shoulders hurt and my wrists hurt and my back hurts, and sleep is a great escape!     Good night, my friends!    Remember to apply your repellent!