10 Women of Confidence and my dengue experience

So I realized I haven’t given an update on the 10 Women of Confidence!

Praise God! I made it! It was funny because my friend Badet was the one who was so excited about this whole thing. I thank God for another opportunity and pray that He would use me mightily.

In other news, I was in the hospital for two days due to dengue fever! My goodness! I never thought I’d get dengue and I really did try to recall where I could have been bitten by that pesky mosquito. I flew to Bohol for an event last October 10 and was there for three days. When I flew back to Manila, I went back to work, did other events and had meetings scheduled. I began feeling sick Friday morning, October 19. I had another meeting scheduled after my radio show which I attended but I knew I was already woozy and sick during dinner.

As I drove home, I’d text my mom in between stop lights and told her how I was feeling. I just really knew at that moment that I needed to muster all my strength to get home. I kept praying to God to hold me up and keep me alert until I’d be able to safely park my car in our garage. When I got home my mom felt me and was alarmed because my temperature seemed so high. Fever hasn’t been a problem for me for the past few years. I’d get coughs and colds but they weren’t always accompanied by fevers.

Saturday, I felt a bit okay but still weak. Then I felt the fever again. I really thought it was weird but I never once suspected that I had dengue. On Sunday, I still had fever but it wasn’t as high compared to what I had on Friday and Saturday. I decided to go to the hospital because I experienced chills and lost appetite for food. They took a blood sample from me, did the routine check-up and all. I waited with my mom for about 2 hours until the doctor came to us and said that my platelets were still within the normal range at 150.

I really thought I’d be confined that day because I wasn’t feeling super dee duper, but the doctor let me go. She did tell me though to come back the next day for another CBC just to monitor my platelet count. Hearing that news made me so happy because I had a wedding to host that evening! While we were waiting for the results of my initial CBC, I was already thinking of what I’d do in case the doctor would tell me I needed to be confined. Thank God I was still fine that day and I was still able to host the wedding at Fernwood!

On Monday, October 22, I went back to Makati Med to get the CBC done. It would take 2 hours for the results to be given so I decided to just go to work and pick up the results later on. It was my mom who picked it up and she told me that my platelets were down to 120. Dang nabbit! I went back the next day for another CBC and results were 110. So bumababa siya! I was so scared because from what I knew about dengue fever, the platelets would just keep decreasing and if hindi mo siya nabantayan, it could cause internal bleeding or damage one of your organs. Still, I wasn’t confined! I was scared na. I asked my Bible study group to pray for me and I felt so loved because they did cover me in prayers. I was told to get lots of rest and hydrate because there really is no medicine for dengue except hydration and rest.

Lo and behold! On the evening of October 23, Meralco decided to work on something in our area which is why they cut off electricity at 11PM. What a bummer that was! I wasn’t able to sleep at all! Power resumed at 5:30AM of October 24. Doctor said, REST but darn! The power interruption kept me awake.

I went back to the hospital for another CBC and my platelets were down to 100. This time, the doctors said I’d have to be admitted. Thankfully, I was ready! I had my clothes and toiletries with me in the ER. Later, the nurse came by my bed to attach the IV contraption.

THE NEEDLE WAS SO… LONG! Echk! I didn’t make a big deal about it though because I really wanted to get well. But my goodness! When she inserted it into my vein, I kept thinking “That needle is in my body! That long hard needle is in me! EEEEEP!”

I was wheeled into my room finally but it took a while for me to get used to the dextrose. When my hand was in the wrong position I saw blood in the tube and I  freaked out. Thank God for nurses who were quick to respond! I was able to sleep a lot during the first night at the hospital despite the frequent popping in of the nurses to check on my IV, blood pressure etc. I remember waking up when they needed to check on something and quickly drifting back to sleep again. On the second day, a nurse woke me up and said that he had to draw blood out from me again for CBC. I willingly gave him my arm. That was around 6AM. I knew the needle would hurt but I thought, as soon as he’s able to draw out some blood my agony would be over. He started with my left arm but, he couldn’t locate my vein! So he tried my right arm and couldn’t locate my vein too. I remember letting out a tiny cry because he poked me twice. He apologized and said he’d try again later and let my arms rest. I agreed and forgave him. I thought my veins were probably “asleep”. Hello, 6AM to draw out blood from me? Its not like I do it on a regular basis, so I don’t think my veins were sanay.

Nurse number 2 walks in and wakes me up. It’s the same thing–she tried to locate my vein but did not succeed. 😦 She said she won’t force it kasi baka mabugbog yung area. By that time, breakfast was already served and so I ate.  After an hour or so, another nurse came by with the blood extraction kit. I told her I’d relieve myself in the restroom first and come back so she could draw out blood from me. Oh thankfully! The third time was successful. I prayed that results would improve by then but I had to wait for more than two hours to hear from the doctor.

When she walked in, I was watching TV. I thought it was just the routine check-up but she came bearing good news. “Your platelets are up at 107! If we get the go signal from Dr. Gler, you can be discharged today!” As soon as she left the room I was rejoicing inwardly! I informed the BSF leaders of the great news and thanked them for covering me in prayers. I also told my nurse aunt about the results and she said that I was on my way to recovery. I just had to keep drinking water and finish up the 2nd dextrose bag. She did tell me though that it might be better if I get another CBC done before getting discharged so that I’d have two assuring reports that the platelet count was increasing.

I did as she suggested and waited. When the results came, I was surprised that my platelet count rose from 107 to 128 on the same day! God works miracles! Since it was way past 5pm when the final results were out, the discharge order also came in late. I wouldn’t be able to go home even if the discharge order was there since the billing department was only open until 5pm.

What did I learn from this experience?
-Although dengue is something I DO NOT WISH TO EXPERIENCE AGAIN, I think that the Lord allowed it because nothing would just make me slow down! Just to give you guys a background, the weeks leading up to my dengue attack were packed with meetings, events and deadlines. When I was feeling sick, I still went on with my boardwork and other activities. After the ER visit on the first day, I drove with my mom all the way to Quezon City to host a wedding. The next day, I still went on board. I should have listened to that still, small voice. I should have heeded God’s call for me to rest and take it slow.
-When you get dengue, you experience symptoms that are similar to flu–fever, muscle pain, sluggishness, headache, cough and colds. It’s easy to dismiss it as just flu, but in my case the fever went on and off for three days. I lost my appetite. I felt really weak. The day after the fever (Monday), I felt a bit better and was able to go to work. Yun pala, when the fever is gone that’s when the platelet count starts to go down. True enough, as mentioned above, my platelet count was down to 120 that day.
-When you have dengue, your hands and feet are inexplicably itchy! I didn’t get rashes on my hands and feet and there weren’t any marks. I just remember that the itchiness was one of the things that kept me awake.
I did get red rashes on my legs though but they weren’t raised or itchy. My nurse aunt used the term petechial rash. They look like tiny pin-head spots.
-There is no cure for dengue but it has to be monitored. You have to take it upon yourself to drink lots and lots of water and eat! The head nurse who visited me said that food is part of the “medication” because the body needs nutrients to support the immune system. Once your platelet count dips to 100 or lower, they’d usually administer IV dextrose.
-Take tawa-tawa tea/juice. The leaders of BSF who were praying for me all gave a common suggestion “Drink tawa-tawa.” Based on studies and experiments, it is believed to help raise the platelet count. 🙂 Before I was hospitalized, I was already taking tawa-tawa tea. I consumed pitchers of it even after I found out that my platelet count was already at 107.

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