It all started two weeks back. The hubby suddenly came down with a fever, and had a really bad tummy ache along with the chills. That was on Sunday, and it followed with Junior J having the same symptoms. We thought that it was food poisoning, since both of them had shared a plate of Japanese curry that day, and I had suffered from food poisoning eating the same dish just a week ago. The two of them spent most of Sunday and Monday in bed. Junior J couldn't stomach any food, and was throwing up every time he ate. The hubby was constantly on paracetamol for the pain.
Tuesday rolled around and Junior J seemed to be getting worse. He still wasn't eating, was complaining of a headache, and said his tummy was hurting more. He was starting a rash all over his body. The hubby was really sick and having severe aches and pains. We decided to bring Junior J to the hospital to have him checked (poor hubs had to bring him while I stayed home with the younger three). The folks there administered magnesium, and kept him under observation for awhile. The boy started feeling a lot better after the meds went in, so they sent him home.
It was such a relief to see Junior J up and walking and being able to stomach some watermelon. However, by then I started feeling unwell, and attributed it to the stress of having to care for everyone across the weekend. I had started a fever and aches too, so I took some paracetamol and soldiered on.
By Wednesday I was worse, and the hubby was still in pretty bad shape. We ended up having to do a sick parent relay, where whoever was feeling less sick would take care of the kids while the other rested. Thankfully my dad was around, and helped babysit so we could rest, and I tried to sleep here and there when the baby napped. Both of us were on meds just to cope with the pain. It was really all about survival: getting the kids fed and bathed. I ate paracetamol so that I could cook our meals and feed the toddler. Everything else went out of the window.
Junior J however was almost recovered, saved for a really bad rash that had spread across his entire body. We were still under the assumption that it was either food poisoning or some nasty virus, and that I was just coming down with some flu, since I seemed to be starting a cough and didn't have a painful tummy unlike the hubby.
Thursday rolled around. Junior J was still having a rash, but was back to eating and bugging his brothers (you always know they are better when they start fighting with their siblings!). The hubby said he felt better, so he headed back to work on Friday. He only lasted for half a day, and came back early and collapsed into bed, saying he felt feverish and that the pain was back.
The weekend crawled by, and it felt like the longest weekend of our life! The hubby started developing a rash on Friday, and on Saturday we noticed that the same rash that was creeping across my arms and spreading. By then, we finally concluded that it might not have been food poisoning, and started wondering if we might have contracted dengue, since our area was an active cluster just two weeks ago.
The rash worsened, and spread across our whole bodies. I looked as if I had a bad sunburn, and my skin was red all over. My hands and feet swelled. It not only itched, but it felt as if the virus had set fire to every single nerve ending in my body. Everything tingled and hurt. Using a towel after a shower felt like I was exfoliating off the top layer of my skin, and walking on the rough bathroom floor felt as if I was stepping on a bed of needles. It came to a point where I would dread getting out of bed, because standing would put pressure on my feet and it hurt like crazy to walk. But there was no choice, I still had to nurse a baby and put her to bed, and to add to it we now had stairs to climb at home! We spent those few days in a haze, hobbling around like old people, trying to care for the kids while resting whenever we could.
Monday finally came, and hubby and I went to see a doctor. We had our blood tested, and the test results came back positive for dengue. Our platelets were not too low, so we were advised to rest and do another blood count on Wednesday.
Wednesday's count showed that our platelets were back to normal, so the hubby headed back to work on Thursday. He said he was feeling much better, save that he was really tired. By Wednesday I was feeling more human, and the pain had lessened considerably. However, the exhaustion was rather debilitating: I struggled to climb the stairs while carrying the baby, and I felt tired all the time. I found the boys' usual raucous wrestling overwhelming, and even just trying to cook dinner felt like an impossible feat. There were days where all I could manage was to toast cheese on bread for our lunch!
I've heard that the symptoms for dengue can vary considerably in terms of severity. In our case, we were spared the worst of the disease, and managed to survive those two weeks caring for the kids while popping paracetamol. I think it was really God's grace that saw us through those two weeks, and we were blessed with help from my parents who lent us a hand with the kids. We had wonderful friends too, who came by with meals or even helped to clean up our place or babysat the kids, and many kept us in prayer, or offered to help with the groceries or meals. I am so so thankful for all of you! I am also really thankful that the younger three were spared, and that Junior J didn't get it as bad as we did.
It has been two weeks since, and I am so glad that the worst is over. The exhaustion still lingers though, and I think it would take another week or so before we are back to normal. We actually tried bringing the kids to the River Safari over the weekend. However, by the time we reached the pandas, we learnt that walking so much so soon wasn't such a good idea! The hubby was rather green in the face by the time we finished the whole loop, and my head was spinning and I felt like I couldn't walk another step. But of course, I had to, and we did make it home in one piece. I guess that's the thing about being parents: you become stronger because you have all these little ones depending on you. You are not given a choice about it. (Whatever the case, I'm glad a certain little someone had a lovely time, since he got to see his favourite pandas, PLUS have a chocolate panda pau all to himself!)
Being this sick has been a reminder for me to take good care of myself and take things slowly. I realize I've been just rushing about since we were so busy with the reno and move, and this has forced me to slow down. I really need to take the time to rest. I must find the time to be still. I realize I enjoy Baby J's babyness so much more these days, because I am forced to go slow and do less. I admit it is frustrating to have the housework and other work pile up as I try to gather my strength, but I am learning to further eliminate and concentrate, and just do the things that matter. The rest can and will wait. I have to take it slow, but perhaps slow is the better way to go.
PS: Yes, you've all heard about those steps to wipe out those mozzies, and I can't emphasize how important those steps are. Dengue isn't fun at all, and we can make it so much safer for everyone if we take those few steps to ensure we don't breed those mosquitoes. Remember to slather on the repellent too when you bring the kids outdoors!