7.18.2011

Lessons learned from a week of Dengue

It has been a week since that worrisome confinement of my 5-year old daughter Cassandra. We weren’t completely aware of the severity or vulnerabilities of a dengue patient then and for us parents, we were in complete agony seeing the platelet results dropping for each APC test. Amidst the comfort of staying in an air-conditioned room with cable tv and and all the amenities of a private hospital, I must admit to really feel the misery all around.

It was really so hard to see someone in the hospital bed…as well as seeing all those worried parents or relatives visiting them to cheer them up. That week the days seemed to pass a bit longer and we’re just thankful we’re out of it after four LONG days.

Quite ironic as it may sound, two semester ago, in one of my graduate courses, our group researched on the Spread of Dengue Cases in Quezon City. We parameterized the formula for determination of dengue hotspots in our study area and mapped it using GIS. From then on, we branded our team “Dengue Busters!”… but yeah, that didn’t help much… my little Cassy has just been added to our database and the list just goes on and on as days pass by.


We surely learned a lot from that experience. From learning about dengue to the private hospital schemes and everything in between. I guess it is really worth the share.

MY LESSONS LEARNED FROM A WEEK OF DENGUE

1. Boosting ones resistance is the only “cure” for dengue.
- Cure is quoted here for really, up to this moment, there are no medications or vaccines yet discovered to CURE dengue. The best thing that the doctor advises is to eat lots of fruits and have a healthy regular meal and hydrate A LOT! The fruits to regain body resistance and the fluid (water, Gatorade etc.) will flush out all the toxins out of your system through peeing.
- For my Cassy, I have monitored her all throughout and made sure that each time she pees, she’ll drink an equivalent amount or even more. She’s like peeing every 15 minutes and it’s good! Fruits, fruits, fruits, I even cut the apple into chips so she’ll be eating it while watching cartoons.
- JUST A WORD OF CAUTION- don’t let them eat something “black” because it might be confused from blood when they poop. Doctors are also monitoring if there are cases of internal bleeding in the patient. So grapes should be peeled before they eat it.

2. After 48 hours of fever, make sure to consult your doctor- 
Dengue disguises itself as simple flu. Just when you thought the sickness is already over, no flu and sign of severity, unknowingly, your platelet count is still going down. That’s where severe cases like rashes or nosebleeding comes because it’s already on the later stage that they discover they’re deceived by dengue. So a RULE OF THUMB, after 48 hours of fever, with fever or not, have the doctor check you!
- Cassy doesn’t have fever all throughout her hospitalization but still her platelet counts are going down. We went to the hospital 24 hours after she got fever, the doctor checked her for UTI and it was negative, he instructed us to bring her back after 3 days in case the fever persist. The moment we got home, she’s ok, and the next few days, she’s got no fever. We decided not to bring her back as per doctor’s instruction. The blessing is that at 2AM on the 3rd day, she got feverish, 39.2 C, I administered paracetamol, and she’s ok again. But yeah we brought her back to the hospital and that morning, she was diagnosed for dengue with platelet count 109 (normally it is 150-400). I just wondered if I were asleep that whole night, never knew she’s got fever, never brought her to the hospital… we could’ve been so sorry. That day, we knew it is GOD WHOSE WORKING IN US!

3. Fruits, water, regular meals and all helps, but when everything else fails TRY PAPAYA LEAVES.
- Doctors won’t recommend it; they might be accused of being quack because it has not been proven scientifically. It was just advised by some friends plus a simple internet search ! Good feed backs so we tried. We’re hopeless after 3 lab tests of fluctuating platelet counts so we gave it a try. It was just like administering an herbal medicine so we’re not worried of any side effects. I am not saying that the recovery of Cassy is all about this but I guess it helped at some point. From 109 on the first day, it went down to 75 on the next day, then 59 on the third test. Platelet count administered every 24 hours. On the third day, we administered papaya leaf extract. We gave her just a teaspoon of extracted papaya leaves plus really a lot of water and Gatorade and fruits… and on the third day her platelet count raised to 71. We were overjoyed. It must have worked. So the next day, we gave her another tablespoon of extracted papaya leaves(plus hydration and healthy foods of course) and to our surprise it doubled to 144! We were released that morning because of that.

- I think it’s just worth the share of this portion because it might attribute to the very FAST increase of our daughter’s platelet count. For those who might be interested, the steps are simple. (a) get FRESH “from the tree” papaya leaves (b)crush it then squeeze the juice(don’t boil or anything, just wash it with clean water) (c) for our 5 year old daughter, we administered 1 tablespoon per day. (not much of overdose if greater than that amount, it’s more of preventing diarrhea if ever she’ll get so much in a day).

4. Dengue has different severity depending on the type of mosquito bite. – It can go as mild as just getting fever like Cassy, but it can be as terminal on the second day with all the rashes and the bleeding. So really seeking for immediate medical attention is still best. Blood transfusion is really not a common thing for dengue patients. Kids can have a platelet count of 10 and yet no blood transfusion is necessary. It really depends on the patient’s case. But for adults, a platelet count of 30 is already bad. Sometimes still, blood or more properly platelet transfusion is refused by patient’s body, so that’s where the dilemma worsens.

5. For private hospitals, doctors will charge you of professional fees according to your ability to pay!- Having 50% of the hospital bill from professional fee is just plain too much. While we used to be charged of professional fee equivalent to our room rate, by the same doctor, when Cassy got confined few years back, this time around we have been charged MORE THAN TWICE THE ROOM RATE. I mean spending 20k for four days of hospitalization and just 8 bottles of dextrose is just plain expensive. Haay. I must’ve taken a medical course instead! The case varies from having or not having PHILHEALTH and of that having a health card plus of course on the level of severity of your illness. If you don’t have PHILHEALTH it would be equivalent to the room rate, if you’ve got, it will be doubled, if you’ve got some health card, it would be more than thrice! Nice money making scheme really!

6. And my last item for this post is really not much of a lesson learned but an ADVICE that’s proven effective ever since. PRAY! It works!
- We are very thankful of all those who really took the time to pray for our Cassy to get well SOON! Our Pastor-Pastor Melo, associate pastor-Pastor Jun and her Sunday school teacher –Sis Marife, visited her in the hospital. They all went there separately so each one offered a prayer for her before they leave. We know it was just so powerful and really our GOD is the healer! We also know that Cassy has been prayed over at Papa’s church and at our church too. We also appreciate every token of love shown to us for those who took time to visit her in the hospital and who really help us in looking after Cassy. We just feel so much LOVED! Thank you!

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