(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