Sarah y Eloy help with the sunflower painting for their wash room. June 2013
My friend Sarah dropped off a care package last month when I was recovering from dengue. In that thoughtful assortment of goodies was a blister pack of pain relievers. “I’ll bet you’ve taken a lot of these,” she smiled.
Sarah is a nurse, and I squirmed a bit when I answered,“Actually, I haven’t taken anything for the pain.”I added, “If I take medicine for the pain, it will lower my fever, and I feel as if that fever is there to burn out the virus. If I lower the fever, the virus lingers in my body for a longer period of time…”
I also stated that I felt it my duty to keep my infectious disease ‘quarantined’ during the fever stage so that I did not infect other people or other areas. I knew that the clinic was a short distance away in case of an emergency. (After the fever passed and I was stronger, I visited the clinic.)
FIND THE RIGHT MOSQUITO
I would never advise others to avoid pain killers or fever medications, but fifteen years ago I took fever reducers and was sick for two weeks. This time the high fever lasted less than two days, though the evolution of this dengue was totally different from the last. (There was also an added complication of the tag-along chikungunya virus that was hiding in the background.)
I suspect there are as many people who believe in the power of a fever, as there are people who think it’s best to lower a high fever as soon as possible. Several reputable sites have published articles about the ‘benefits of fever: Continue reading →
(Jama, Ecuador)—“Dengue or Chikunguya?” — In the evolution of getting well from this mosquito-inflicted illness, I’ve visited the local clinic four times in the past two weeks. Although I have used the ER room before, it has been a different experience this time. First, the clinic was filled with people tormented with physical pain, and second was the extreme empathy the sick ones received from their loved ones as they waited to see the doctor.
This past weekend after a three-day respite, I faced new symptoms. There was a low fever, and muscle pain replaced the bone and joint pain. Weakness returned, my blood pressure was low, and a painful rash dotted my chest. On Sunday night I found no relief from the discomfort, and as I awakened for surely the 100th time, I sat on the edge of the bed and peered out into the darkness. I thought of the people in the world who are fighting daily pain, and that my pain would soon be gone. I thought of Rob Thomas’s song, Her Diamonds, which describes his love and empathy for his wife and her battle with autoimmune pain. I planned to return to the clinic for another round of blood tests, but I did not realize I’d be witnessing many illustrations of “Her Diamonds.” Continue reading →
The houses in this image share the same power ‘grid.’ Can you spot Casa Loca?
(Jama/Manabi/ Ecuador) We lost power last night, first here in this 7-house circuit and later during the night, the entire area went black. I’m placing my bets that power will be restored to all areas except this one. We seem to be the power company’s step children!
I am elated to announce that today I feel 100 percent well – yee-HA!
Until today, one would have thought I had anorexia, as all possible food options turned my stomach. At one this morning, when I found myself dicing a ripe plantain and simmering it in a bit of water with lemon and cinnamon, I thought, “You’re on your way back to wellness!”
I sat on the deck and peered out into the cloud-filtered moonscape and enjoyed my warm, comforting snack. The simmered plantains are a bit like having fruit cobbler filling without the pastry!
Can you tell that I’m better? I am still weak but can now stand for more than five minutes without feeing faint. I can go up and down the stairs without having to stop and sit. The worst part of the sickness was the extreme fatigue, as if strong G forces had me strapped in a prone position that seemed impossible to break. Just lifting my hands took extreme effort. A bonus was that the sleep was deep, intense and easy. I rolled out of a dream-filled sleep just long enough to take my temperature , check my pulse, drink my water and roll right back into more vivid dreams.
On Saturday I was aware of dangerous high waves that would be assaulting the Pacific Coast, and at times I heard the waves ripping upriver. The deep sleep often trumped my will to look out the window, but several times I pulled free of the fog, retrieved my camera and caught a few unique moments. (Photos won’t upload here.) Before fainting, I dashed back to bed and into instant slumber. The sleep was a gift, thank you dear dengue.
If this was dengue, it was the fastest surgical strike I’ve ever known. As if driving along on cruise control and suddenly you have a blowout. Wham! After the fever peaked at 39.5, each day it was down one degree. As the fever lowered, my symptoms also lessened. I kept waiting for that other shoe to drop, but it never did, grrrrrrracias a-Dios. The weakness had the most endurance of all symptoms, but that’s probably Nature making sure that one doesn’t try to spring back too fast. It’s hard to believe that this time last week I felt 100-percent well with no clue of the approaching train wreck!
I will be going by the clinic sometime today to get my platelets checked and to report my dengue — or whatever it was — and look forward to taking it easy and getting a little stronger each day. “Poco a poco.”
Last night I found myself irritated by the sounds of the pumps and aerators on the shrimp farms. I couldn’t sleep, which is why I cooked the plantains. I chuckled and knew that I was getting better!!
I think that sometimes we need to experience illness so that we can appreciate wellness.
Thank you all for your beautiful outpouring of love!
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. Continue reading →