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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dengue Detour

Most of you know already, but the reason I dropped off the blogosphere for a while is because I came down with Dengue Fever, a disease unheard of to me before my trip, but apparently very common in Southeast Asia. Anyway, I'll try to come back later and write the gory details, but for right now I can only muster enough energy to tell the basics.

Two days after Adam left, I had a panic attack. It was very out of nowhere, since I hadn't had one since my junior year of college, but in retrospect I think it was my body telling me something was not right. By Friday morning, I had a high fever and a terrible headache, and so I went to the International Clinic where they checked me over and told me I should do a blood test to see if I had dengue. I declined, upon seeing how expensive the test was, and since I didn't have the "rash" that dengue is associated with. I put myself to bed with a cold compress and hoped I could sweat it out.

Two days later, when I wasn't any better-- in fact, I was worse-- I went back to the clinic and had the bloodwork done. It came back negative: no dengue. Meanwhile, I was worsening-- I had fever, chills, the worst body ache you can imagine, no appetite, and exhaustion. All I could do was sleep. I also was becoming weak from not eating, and began blacking out everytime I left my bed. And I STILL didn't know what was wrong with me. I started to feel like I was going crazy in my tiny matchbox of a room, all alone in the dark, sweating. Eventually, I went BACK to the clinic while I had a very high fever and told them I wasn't getting better. The doctor called me back in the morning, but when I went downstairs in my hostel to talk to him on the phone, I fainted on the floor. Luckily, there was a very very nice Australian woman staying in the hostel who saw this and fanned me back to life, throwing cold water on my face and demanding to know if I had taken any pills. I think they thought I was a crazy partier or something. Anyway, after she revived me and figured out that I had been sick for five days, she and her husband escorted me to the doctor, where they repeated the dengue test. Ding Ding Ding! Dengue Fever.

I was kept overnight in the clinic so they could keep me on an IV of fluids to rehydrate me, and monitor my temperature. They then realized, from a blood test, that my blood platelet level was falling. It fell for two days before the doctor decided I would be better off in the hospital in Bangkok. So all of a sudden, I was being wheeled into an ambulance (bumpiest ride of my life), escorted by Doctor Toucan-- a really nice Vietnamese doctor. The whole trip to Bangkok, my feet didn't touch the ground-- I was carted from wheelchair to stretcher to wheelchair to business class seat, to wheelchair, to private bus, to wheelchair, to another stretcher, and right into Bumrungrad Hospital in the middle of Bangkok. My hospital room is like a 5 star hotel suite, and my mom flew out and met me here in the middle of the night. After two nights here, my blood platelet level is back to normal, and though my liver enzyme count is through the roof, and the Dengue rash finally reared its ugly head-- all over my legs and arms, the doctor tells me I'm getting better.

I'll try to write more another time, the nurse is here to check my blood pressure.

1 comment:

  1. Good heavens, Sammy! Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers and the fact that the medical system finally kicked in. I hope you are steadily recovering your strength and will be able to continue your adventures. It is great your Mom is there--perhaps you two will do some traveling together.