this is about family and its ups and downs, living, and everything about life from a working mom's perspective.

Monday, September 7, 2015

DENGUE!!! BEWARE! (Updated)

I hate mosquitoes- I hate the buzzing sound they make, I hate their flying presence everywhere and I most specially hate the virus they bring to mankind.  I've come to master the art of catching them with my hand while their hovering, and when I open my palm, most of the time, they are still there writhing, their wings squished. In the event I still see them alive, I try to separate the wing one by one until they bid their last goodbye. Yes, torturing mosquitoes makes my day!

My hate for them increased last June when my son was diagnosed with dengue fever. Good thing, his platelet count were 220, 210, 200, 210, respectively, during his four days in the hospital. I was going crazy that time because even if his fever was only hovering between 38.5-39.4 (believe me, he has had fevers where his temperature soared to 39.9 and he didn't act sick at all), in the three days that he had the fever, he was (and looked) weak, and didn't want to eat, and complained of something outchy in the tummy.

On the third day of the fever, his rashes started to show, first, on the arms, then on the stomach. When we got to a pedia, the pedia suggested a dengue test because she said it looks like my son has dengue. I said, "Doc, can we have him admitted already, because he looks really weak and doesn't want to eat or drink." The doctor, surprised that I wanted my son to be admitted right away, said okay. I think she was concerned that I could save more if I would wait for the results to come out first before having my kid admitted to the hospital, but I didn't want to delay anymore.

This is his arm... Second day in the hospital - you wouldn't really notice the rashes but his whole body looks red.  On his second night at the hospital, he blew his nose and some blood came out - as if you've blown so hard when you have colds and the vessels burst - ganun lang kakonti. It was only a smudge but my inner self/goddess/alter was already being hysterical, but on the outside I was calm. When I informed the doctors, they said it wasn't a cause for alarm. My heart was  beating 1,000,000 light years per hour that time.

Look how tight the tape was
because they had to keep the IV line secure
By the third day, his hands were pudgy
By the third day, his hands looked pudgy...Maybe because the tapes were restricting the blood flow and they looked "manas".

The left arm was where they took the blood once a day for testing. (The testing can be more often than twice a day if the platelets are dangerously low).

We were told that the normal platelet count for kids was 200-400. My son didn't have dangerously low levels of platelets. Thank you God!
The left arm was where they took the blood tests.
Look at the rashes that can be mistaken for measles,
When the pedia saw his hands, she recommended that the IV line be transferred to a different vein - which was a big problem for the little boy because he hates needles and was deathly scared of them.

Not only because he was scared, and his hands weren't "veiny" (veins are visible) but we were also told that the veins of dengue patients easily collapse, so a little movement and the vein would burst after inserting the IV, which was what happened to my son. They tried three times, to no avail. Imagine being pricked several times and the idea of adjusting the needle inside the vein is already scary for an adult, what more for a kid who isn't feeling well. Suffice it to say that the whole hospital heard his screams habang sine-swerohan siya.

After a few hours of resting, they tried again and all the veins on both his hands weren't viable. They can't put it in his left arm, because that's where they draw blood for his tests. They were putting the right arm as the last option because that's another line where they would get blood if the vein on the left arm collapses again.

They had to resort to the left foot.

Kung nung una, awang-awa ako ako sa anak ko, ngayon, durog na durog ang puso ko sa awa.  He was so scared! I was thinking, how could he walk? Good thing the doctors used a needle appropriate for newborn babies because his veins couldn't handle the needle for kids. He didn't feel it at all. But after about two minutes from inserting, the vein again collapsed. Arrrggghhh!!!!!

The vein on the right foot was also very small, so the needle wouldn't fit.  They suggested the side of the forehead. O.M.G.

Good thing, the doctors decided to just try the right arm. And another good thing, the IV line was finally safely inserted so there was no need to venture into the forehead territory for the IV.

Our total bill was about P16000+, less P10,000 from Philhealth. Thank you Philhealth, this time you redeemed yourself as compared to the time my Papa was hospitalized (which I blogged here)! The room was semi-private. We had a roommate, who didn't know how to put her phone and that of her relative on silent mode even at 11 in the evening, and were watching YouTube on their phones at maximum volume. Annoying to the maximum level!!

Just yesterday, my sister-on-law was admitted to the hospital for dengue. She has 11 platelets yesterday. It's not a typo error. Now she has 14 platelets. We are praying for her safe recovery and we are praying that there wouldn't be any need for blood transfusion. Update: She now has 38 platelets and there's no need for blood transfusion.

So what have I realized from this experience?

1. Ordinary fevers are just that, ordinary. But is the fever subsists for days, coupled with lack of desire to eat, bring your kid immediately to the hospital.

2. Do not scrimp on mosquito repellents. Look for one that doesn't have Deet as an ingredient. I have a review here of one product I tried.  Mosquito Patches? I really don't trust them but you may try.  I have also reviewed one sample here.

3. According to the World Health Organization, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue. The viruses are passed on to humans through the bites of an infective female Aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. If I understand correctly, if the Aedes mosquito bites someone with dengue, and that mosquito bites another, the virus will really spread.

4. The second time someone gets dengue, the symptoms can be more severe = more dangerous.

5. I saw this at the Red Cross website and I thought this worthy of sharing:

Photo credit:
Photo credit:
6. There are four dengue strains. Having been infected by one strain makes the person immune for that specific strain only. It does not result in immunity from the other strains.

7. Here's another infographic:

Photo credit:

8. There is no cure for dengue. It is only managed and the hospital only observers and keeps track so that in case of complications like drop in blood pressure, bleeding, drop in platelet count, the facilities of the hospital are ready and the patient is hydrated all the time, and blood transfusions could be administered immediately.

9. Pray, pray, pray. You can't do anything about this illness so prayers are the best medicine.

Always remember friends, if high fever subsists for two days, go to the doctor immediately.

Thanks to all my family and friends who spread their love and care during my son's first (and hopefully, the last) hospitalization. Mommy Donat, get your butt off there and come home na. Get well!

For now, I'm going mosquito hunting.

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