dengue encounter

Posted by Au Lim On Tuesday, October 30, 2007
after having 5 kids since 1988, this is yet my first encounter with one of the things a mother fears most: dengue. what with all the horror stories i hear lately--new and vicious strains of the virus, cases where there are no symptoms at all, kids and even adults who die from it--it is enough not to make me sleep well at night and check on my feverish 2 year old every 10 minutes. here is my account just in case you want to compare notes due to a suspected case in your home or someone you know.

Raj started having fever Sunday, Oct 21. since it was dengue season, i was more concerned with it than usual so i immediately took him to his pedia by the next day, Monday, Oct 22. the doc told me that if it was one of the usual kiddie bugs, it should be gone by Wednesday. if the fever persists after that, she told us to be back by Thursday, Oct 25.

by the evening of Wednesday, Raj was still slightly feverish so i mentally made note that we will have to go back to the doc's the next day. however, come morning, he didn't have fever anymore and was looking all well and was his normal kulit self. i even thought to myself, "thank goodness we didn't have to go back to see the pedia". i was still hyper-aware of the dengue thing though, so as we were having lunch, i inspected Raj's skin, looking for a rash. i would have missed it too if the pedia didn't describe to me what it looked like: a fine rash that one might mistake for some minor skin redness. my eyes widened as i noticed that there indeed it was on the inside part of Raj's upper arms, right below the armpits and also on the inside part of his upper thighs. they were faint. but i just had to play it safe. i was taking him to the doc's immediately.

so right after lunch, i immediately called the pedia's clinic at St. Luke's but being Thursday, they had no clinic there. besides, Dr. Vicky Ang was out of town and even her sub was not there. i called my cousin whose husband is a doctor at nearby Capitol Medical and she referred me to a pedia friend, Dr. Magnaye.

since the doctor starts his clinic hours at 4pm, i still couldn't wait because it was 2pm then yet. so i took Raj to Capitol's ER instead to get some blood tests. 2 hours later, the doc was in and the tests were out. the doctor noted 3 items on the test: platelets, hematocrit and WBC. his platelet count was low but within normal range, hematocrit was low and WBC (white blood cell count indicating infection: this is usually high when fevers are not caused by dengue) was low. but what concerned ME the most was simple enough for me to understand: a positive result to the dengue antigen test.

the doc said, given the current results that he was not yet recommending hospital admission given that Raj looked well and did not complain of any pains but we had to return early the next day for another blood test. so we did. i didn't get much sleep that night afraid as i was that i might miss some other symptom while the boy was asleep like perhaps a nosebleed. however, after the tests the next day, the doc said that it might be best to have Raj in the hospital so he could get supportive treatments such IV hydration. he was also given blood tests 2x a day. i was very inquisitive so i was informed that there is not much one can do by way of medicines with dengue cases. it is a virus and there are no meds for it. i also learned that dehydration is one of the dangers of the disease even when there is no diarrhea or vomiting. since blood vessels are affected, the blood plasma may leak out of them hence causing the dehydration.

moral of the story: you can never be too careful. i half-thought i was overreacting when i brought Raj to the hospital for blood tests. i keep thinking, those rashes are too faint...he looks fine...etc. Now, as i look back, Cabbie was right when she told me "it's ok to be praning". now i can see how easy it is to miss the signs. we are often concerned only when the child has high fevers and relax when the fever is gone. in dengue cases, it's the other way around: the danger is higher AFTER the fever is gone. it is when the platelets drop and the dehydration can occur the worse.

we checked in the hospital that night and stayed for the next 3 days. with only TV as entertainment and practically no internet, it was this mom's turn to be stricken...with cabin fever!
Raj's "concerned" siblings visiting little bro at the hospital with Nanay.

1 Response to 'dengue encounter'

  1. Anna Zalamea Said,'> November 2, 2007 at 3:51 PM

    Oh my..dengue sounds so scary. I'm so glad you trusted your instincts (praning as they may be). better to be safe than sorry, diba? i'm so glad Raj is better now. ((hugs))


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