Monday, August 27, 2012

days with Dengue..

"Excluding the fact that you have been tested positive for Dengue, do you have any other health issues?"

This question from Dr. Gopala Swamy H. C., to me, was a very tough one to take up. I think this is one thing that makes some people great - 'handling extremely serious things literally lighter'. At that moment, it really took a lot from me just to think about anything other than Dengue, for which I was declared positive.

"As you know, there is no treatment for any Viral infection; so is with Dengue Fever. Only way is to treat it symptomatically and avoid any further complications. It is a self-limiting disease" he continued, after picking the glimpse that I was taking a while to get tuned to his tempo.

"aaammmm.." following a gush of fresh oxygenated blood to my gray matter, I replied "Am unable to digest anything I eat.. everything just gets vomited".

"Do you have a history of Gastritis?".

"Yes, I do; a severe form of it though" - while I said this, it made me remember 'All Good Things Come With A Price'; a couple of years ago, Marriage came to me with Gastritis.

"Fine, lets stop your Antibiotics; will put you on Acera-D, which will act to reduce instances of Gastritis; Immunace Forte, which is just a vitalizer; and if you continue to record temperature, take Febrex 650mg tid. Drop by the Lab to let them draw your blood sample again and see you tomorrow morning along with the Report" - he handed over the prescription to me with a smile, which made me realize that every minute of his does count.

"Okay; Thank you Sir.." I slowly made my way towards the Lab.
It was a fortnight ago, on a lovely Sunday in a birthday party, I started feeling all the 206 bones and over 650 muscles in my body aching together; which wasn't very usual, I knew. A dose of Paracetamol and Diclofenac only could give temporary relief; but later that night I was all feverish with severe head-body aches, which made me almost shiver to death. Next day morning, I struggled to hold my balance and gait, walking to the Doctor next door; who straightaway put me on Cipro, which never gained me independence from illness while the Country witnessed yet another Independence Day. With constant fever ranging between 102 to 103oF with unbearable aches all over, I had no other go than paying a visit to a nearby Multispecialty Hospital.

When it all just ended with another prescription for a higher Antibiotic, I couldn't keep any mum - "Sir.. could we go in and have the complete blood picture looked at?". "It might be too early to look into it but anyways, we shall.." said the Doctor. My suspicion proved true; the Platelet and Total Count were deep down the normal range! Without my consent, they immediately drew my blood sample for the Dengue NS1 Antigen Test; the assay ran positive. "You need to get hospitalized without any delay, we got to start off with Platelet Transfusion" Doctor said. It was then my Dad and Sister went to the Family Physician for a second opinion, who referred me to Dr. Gopala Swamy.
Next day morning, soon as I received the report from Lab, wound was seared with hot iron; the Platelet count had gone further down.

I knew Dr. Swamy was playing a mind game while he said "No worries, we shall somehow bring up the Platelet count".

"Sir, is it this the right time for Platelet Transfusion?", I was sounding all worried.

"Don't think so. I have seen patients recovering gradually with a Platelet count as low as 50 thousand; yours is in the 1 lakh range. Hospitalization and Platelet Transfusion is recommended only if your count drops down to 30 thousand and below. Until then be happy at home, take complete rest and try to eat well. Will put you on few shots of Steroid, which I have seen to improve Platelets; If someone asks you if Steroids are the treatment for Dengue Fever? NO. But, it works; how?  don't know", his confidence was backed up by huge experience.

Soon I was in the Emergency Ward for the first Steroid shot and rest of them were in queue to be shot into me by my Sister at home; this is why I feel one shouldn't have a Doctor sib.
I went on to find out what possibly would have gifted me this viral infection; the culprit was none other than the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. It was a relief to know that Dengue could spread only by the bite of a vector Aedes; pretty sure I wouldn't be spreading infection to others since hundreds of mosquitoes were clapped to death during my 'NO AEDES' campaign and it was well over seven initial days of infection, during which period one can possibly be a potential source of infection to fellow humans through bite of an Aedes. But there always was the danger of internal hemorrhage due to low Platelet count, leading to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock, which could possibly be lethal.
Following appropriate medical attention by Sister, continuous prayers of my Parents and unconditional care from my Wife, I started improving and my Platelet count was ticking up in the next five days. It was only then I gained some confidence and strength within to fight out Dengue. I was somehow lucky enough not to end up with severe complications of Dengue Fever. Today’s blood picture showed my Platelet count well up in the normal range, a good sign for sure.

"My next post would definitely be about 1947 - The Vegetarian Restaurant" was what I told my friends while having lunch there during our last meet. Am sure Raju & Vivek, who were expecting something from me about '1947' in this Blog would be taken by surprise on reading what really followed. It's been a month I went on leave at work, huge responsibility resting on me in that front as well. While many of my contacts are wondering into which Shell I managed to creep in lately, I slowly and steadily am fighting and counting off my days with Dengue..