The other time I had to be warded in hospital was last week. I was suffering from high fever, headache and muscular pain all over. When the illness did not recede after 4 days, I went to see a GP who quickly suspected that I was down with dengue and suggested that I go to a hospital for a blood test. The next morning, I went to the nearby Puteri Specialist Hospital. Upon registering, the doctor's assistant asked me how long I had been ill. Five days including today, I said. She immediately arranged for a blood test even before the doctor had time to examine me.
By the time the doctor checked in to his clinic after doing his morning rounds, the test results were in. Confirmed I had dengue. Based on the blood platelet count, my condition is not considered too serious. The doctor gave me the option of whether I wish for outpatient treatment. If so, I have to ensure I rigorously take in sufficient fluids and come in daily to do the blood tests. Not wanting to take any risks, I chose to be admitted.
There is actually no specific treatment for dengue fever. The standard medical advice is to drink lots of water. The non-standard advice are many... consume crab soup, drink pomegranate juice, take in lots of isotonic drinks and perhaps the most frequent advice of all, as suggested by well-meaning friends and relatives who have suffered the same, drink the juice extracted from papaya leaf shoots. I tried them all... but the papaya leaf juice takes the cake when it comes to comparison of tastes. I managed to down one small glass of the stuff. It was the most bitter liquid concoction I have ever swallowed. All good medicines are bitter, they say. But this one is right up there on the bitterness scale.
The first night I was in hospital, an IV drip was inserted in my left hand. To further aid recovery, I drank copious amounts of plain water. This regime meant that I visited the toilet more often. Dragging the IV stand to the toilet every time I had to pee was somewhat inconvenient, but what to do. At first, I kept count of how many times I got up to relieve myself but when I pass the figure of ten, I stopped counting.
Alhamdulillah, my blood platelet count improved after the third day and I was allowed to go home. I am now resting at home and recovering well. Dengue fever in Malaysia is reaching alarming proportions. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of reported cases for the 6 months of this year has reached more than 56,000, a 34% increase over the same period last year. There have already been 162 deaths.
Very serious indeed. Please take care. Thank you to my dear friends and relatives for the kind thoughts and prayers.
|IV needle attached to left hand|
|Crab soup. Normally delicious but when you have no appetite..|
|Papaya leaf juice. Top of the bitterness scale..|