Fever dream

Much of this past week seems a blur. I believe it had something to do with the 104 + degree fever, the splitting headache, the quivering agonized muscles and joints, the dagger pains behind the eyes, the intolerable itching that strikes and flees without warning… Yeah, maybe that was what did it…

So last Thursday afternoon I started feeling horrible – headaches, shaking, fever, weak. It took me about three times as long to limp home from Rich and Rebecca’s house in our neighboring favela as it usually does – Jenna helped me make it without passing out in the street. I thought it was just dehydration or a bit of heat stroke, but after spending the following day at home, in bed, resting and drinking fluids, and not feeling any better, I began to think it might be something else.

So Saturday morning I went to the doctor. I have to be pretty sick to actually go see the doctor. I think the last time I went to the doctor was a few years ago when I gave myself an ear infection from too much swimming. This was in Colorado, and I was sure I could cure it on my own by pouring alcohol into my infected ear. We didn’t have any alcohol in the house at the time, so I decided to use the Listerine mouthwash (it’s 97% alcohol!). However, the intense burning the mouthwash produced concerned me, so I quickly stopped. The next week, it still wasn’t any better. In fact, it was much worse. My head hurt, my ear was swollen, and I woke up one morning with blood and other nasty things coming out of my ear. I was sure I had ruptured my eardrum or some other such nonsense, so I went to the doctor that morning to get it checked out… And they gave me medicine and everything got all better. So that was my last visit to the doctor (I think it was almost four years ago…)

But this Saturday, the doctor quickly diagnosed me with Dengue Fever. This lovely tropical disease is not too hard to get (all you need to do is get bitten by the right kind of mostquito), impossible to get a vaccination for, has no medicine that will make it better, and also happens to leave you quite miserable as you lie in bed, drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated, have weird dreams (including one about a nun who leaves her order and joins forces with a hit man and a priest to work with street kids), and take tylenol for the fever and the aches while you wait to get better…

And now it is Wednesday night. Six days later, I’m feeling ok. I’ve barely left the house all week, and I’m going stir crazy. Maybe tomorrow… The aching is mostly gone. The fever is vanished. My eyes barely hurt any more. The headache comes and goes, but I always have headaches. My appetite isn’t back, but that’s supposedly one of the longer-term side effects of dengue (along with depression… that’ll be fun…)

Anyway, that’s life in the here and now. Hopefully I’ll have something of substance as I am able to get back into the swing of things. Until then…

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5 Comments

Filed under dengue, fever, sickness

5 responses to “Fever dream

  1. Anonymous

    oh ben…

    we are so relieved to hear that you are on the up and up. phil was laughing so hard as i read him your account of your last trip to the doctor and pouring mouthwash in your ear… i’m still smiling because it’s just so “ben”… or “ven” as si would say, of course. keep resting and take care of yourself! we are praying for you, my friend.

    love, anne.

  2. Cara

    Poor Ben,

    I cannot imagine a worse week. I kinda wanna chip in with not-so-helpful horror stories of Denge-infected semi-suicidal friends. But a movie on genocide would probably cheer you up more.

  3. laura

    benjo. that sounds extremely unpleasant, and therefore i’m glad you are on the road to recovery. 🙂 take care of yourself.
    saudades.
    laura

  4. josh

    well, ben, you’ve done it again. by talking to anya on myspace, you’ve convinced her that we should get to hang out with you in the flesh. so stay alive and be sure to come to the reunion. this whole, ten years of bodily separation thing is getting ridiculous.

    love ya, buddy.
    josh

  5. Iso

    Pouring Listerine in your ear against inflammation? Wow, you hate to see a doctor. You’re like my father, although he’s into vinegar – I mean the REAL stuff, 20% vinegar. 🙂 “You gotta put vinegar on it!” Maybe you should’ve… 🙂
    By the way, Listerine contains only 25% alcohol. Physically impossible to go over 92%.
    I hope you’re fine now! Love from Hungary!

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