Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Making it through Dengue

We have been living on this island for close to 6 years now.  I would say we have definitely acclimated.   Yes it's hot but we have adjusted.  Yes there are bugs but they don't scare us (that much!)  Yes there are sand flies but they don't bite us.  Yes there aren't many good places to shop but we really don't mind that.   Yes it takes about an hour to get through the bank and we have accepted that is the way it is here.  Yes people drive like absolute maniacs and yes we have now joined them and drive the same way!!   Yes there are mosquitoes and they don't bother us.  I used to say that but now I say "beware"!

On January 25, very suddenly Bob had severe chills and a headache.  It was instant and came on with a fury.  He rarely gets sick and we thought it was a flu.    That evening he laid on the couch wrapped in a blanket shivering.  I gave him something for the headache and the fever.   I knew he was sick when he didn't go to church with me.  He never misses church!!  I decided to go to church here in Sandy Bay so I wouldn't be gone so long.  I came home to see him still resting on the couch.   He said he was doing alright but I could see in his eyes that he was very sick.   At one point I looked at his bloodshot eyes and said, Bob maybe you have dengue!!   He gave me that 'are you crazy?'  and said it was just the flu.   But inside I was worried.   The next day I drove him to the clinic to get tested for malaria and dengue.   He said in the waiting room with a red airplane blanket wrapped around him.   I just kept thinking... boy he is sick!!!

Sure enough:  dengue!!!  :-(

We were happy to see that his platelets weren't that low... yet.  The doctor just said to give him tylonel for the fever,  keep him hydrated and resting.

Bob was an exceptional patient!   He did everything he was told to do!    The main problem with dengue is that if your platelets drop too low then you can go into shock, your organs shut down, your blood vessels break and your platelets drop to an alarming rate.   You can read about dengue  here.

Needless to say, we asked for prayer!!  I want to thank those of you who carried Bob through this terrible virus!!  All of his symptoms were terrible:  the raging fever, the aching bones (they call dengue the 'broken bone disease' because it is so painful), the excruciating headaches, the rash, the times of delusion, the nausea, the loss of appetite, and the weeks of weakness and tiredness that rack your body.   BUT here is the amazing part:   all of his symptoms were mimimal.   It was really incredible.  Normal platelet levels are between 150 - 500 and his were first at 155 and then dropped to 148.  I read stories of people on the internet whose platelets dropped to 48 or to 20 and they were hospitalized!!!    I saw photos on the internet of people with a total body rash and he had a small rash on his chest that went away the next day.

One day Bob said to me, "I believe that all the prayers of so many people are really helping me.  All my symptoms are minimal and it is the Lord's hand on me"

did you know that payaya juice increase platelet levels?  good thing we have payaya and a juicer!

An update:  it is now about a month since he recovered from dengue and he is still quite fatiqued and tired.  It can take up to 6 weeks to get over it completely.   I am impressed with how he daily presses into the Lord for strength and continues to serve and love the people here!

bob was able to help get uniforms and school supplies for over 40 kids!

                                                   Again thanks for your prayers!!

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