Thursday, November 8, 2007

It was one year ago today...

That I came down with Dengue Fever. Yes, today is the day. Well, actually I was sick in the Dominican Republic, but the symptoms really manifested today. I know, how crazy to remember that date.

The mosquitos that carry the Dengue Fever virus have the white spots on them. Ah yes, my dear friend, the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. This little insect made my entire team of 8 people deathly ill. Of the 8 of us, 4 people were hospitalized, and one of those people actually came very close to dying. The day before I got sick, a team mate of mine called me to inform me her husband was in the hospital. Doctors were saying he had Dengue Fever, and she was coming down with it as well.

Literally the next day, I broke out in the symptoms with the exception of the skin rash. I had the rash, but very minor. I went to Urgent Care, my temp was 102. The doctors said if did have Dengue Fever, I needed to go to the ER right away. Off I went to the ER for them to say I only had a sinus infection. And even though I had just come back from a foreign country, no lab tests were ran at all.

By the time I got home my fever spiked to 104. I was home alone, left to try to fight this myself. I don't ever recall being that sick as 104 temperature is really high. I was trying to sleep but because my fever was so high, I couldn't sleep. I just laid there and cried. I was alone and couldn't even manage getting off the couch. My fever went down later that night. I remember crawling on the floor to the fan and just collapsing on the floor with the fan on me. Poor Stella, the cat, just laid next to me on the floor with her paw on my arm. She knew I wasn't feeling well. I had the fever for a few more days, then it got worse...I broke out in the skin rash, severely all over my entire body. I don't know what's worse: a temp of 104 or the skin rash that I couldn't control ravishing my body so bad that nothing was helping heal the itch. I went back to Urgent Care, crying, pleading with someone to please believe me that I had Dengue Fever and I needed some sort of help. By time I had gotten to Urgent Care, my fever began to spike and the rash had spread even more. The doctor listened to me and said he did believe I had the virus just from what I was telling him. He wound up giving me a low dose steroid to help with the itching. It took a few more nights for the steroid to take effect. I remember waking up at night clenching my fists, I was trying to avoid itching my skin. Even the slightest touch was extremely painful, everything hurt. They also call Dengue Fever the "Bonecrusher fever" because it literally feels like your bones are being crushed. It was horrible. My legs to this day still have red dots on them, a lasting symptom of the virus. Maricopa County finally stepped in and ran my blood. Between them and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), they determined that me, as well as the rest of my team, had Dengue Fever. This is a picture of the rash, but as it's clearing, not on my arms, I pulled this off of CDC website.

Photograph: Positive Tourniquet Test

The doctor who incorrectly diagnosed me didn't get away so easy. I received a survey from Banner asking how my experience was. I typed up a nice long letter explaining everything that happened and how I was sent home. I don't really know how sick I was because my blood didn't get ran until 2 weeks after the symptoms disappeared. I don't know the outcome of the complaint, but I did get a letter from Banner apologizing for everything and said that if anything happened to the doctor, it had to remain confidential. Oh well. I just hope that next time someone says they've just come back from another country, he'll take more precautions and order labs.

My immune system was not strong before I got Dengue Fever, but the doctor's have said my immune system has been compromised and I need to be careful because something like the flu could now kill me. My immune system is literally shot now. Oh joy. Since November of last year, I've made 7 different Urgent Care trips and I've averaged about 10 hours a month in sick leave. Funny what a little mosquito can do to you, huh?

Here are some websites, my favorite of course, is the CDC website.

Quote of the day: "If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito." ~Unknown

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