It was the first thing I said to my brother when I got home from work on Friday evening. That brother of mine is not much of talker, but when he looked at me with genuine concern, the gesture kind of gave him away.
I remember waking up that morning feeling tired. It was as if I went swimming the night before, making my arms and back sore. It’s Friday, so I thought I’d run on autopilot, and go through my usual daily routine. The last work day of the week meant “dress-down day”. We are allowed to report to work in t-shirt, jeans, and rubber sneakers. Because I was feeling under the weather that morning, I settled for a yellow collared shirt and pair of black cropped denims. I was supposed to wear my old (and filthy) low-cut Chucks, but I left them by our back door. I was lucky that I had one of my brown ballet flats in the car to complete my lame outfit.
As usual, an hour or so after most of my breakfast buddies come in, we took our early break. When we return, the entire production floor is well-ventilated; so much that you would oftentimes think one will eventually freeze to death. Employees are not allowed to tweak the settings of the air-conditioning system, so it’s either you find someone to do this or die of hypothermia. Mind you, my only weapon was a Pashmina shawl.
My day at work was a drag. I was out of focus the entire time because I was cursing the coldness under my breath. I had to stop altogether about twenty minutes before my shift ends; I couldn’t take it any longer.
I was worried about driving myself home just as I always do whenever I’m this sick. It’s one of those times I wish I had a driver or at least someone to drive for me instead. By God’s grace, I reached home in one piece, but I almost crawled my way into our house.
I checked my temperature right away. At 5:45PM, my temperature read 39.5˚C. Okay, that wasn’t a good sign. I asked my brother to boil me some water while I prepare my early dinner. It’s a good thing that Mom had cooked dinner before she left that afternoon, so we can take our meal whenever we like. When I’m done, I decided to take a warm bath. I mixed ethyl alcohol into my pail of water; something my mother does whenever one of us is sick. It is believed to potentially reduce body temperature. I wore the warmest pieces of sleepwear in my drawer, added a pair of thick socks and a hoodie jacket to complete my wardrobe. I took a tab of Bioflu, and buried myself under the covers. I had my alarm set every hour so I could check my temperature. This is the graph of my readings:
I don’t remember what time it was when my mother came into my room to check on me, but I know she did because I felt the back of her hand in my forehead.
The next day, my fever still hasn’t lowered to normal reading, but I was hungry. I tried to get up, and helped myself downstairs. My youngest brother was already awake, getting ready for school. I was almost finish with my breakfast when I heard him tell Mom that my other brother’s sick, too. Oh, no. I wondered how he contracted my disease when I didn’t even have colds and cough, so my illness wasn’t exactly viral. In fact, I had the impression that I was suffering from mild UTI symptoms which justify the soreness of my lower back.
It was one of those rare moments when two of us siblings are sick, so it must be hard for my parents and youngest brother to take turns in looking after my brother and I. We were both isolated in our respective rooms as if we were admitted to the hospital. I think my fever finally broke on Sunday morning while my brother remains febrile this morning when I left for work. He is the least sickly among us three, so I’m very much convinced that Mom is more worried of him that me. I mean, come on, I was able to take care of myself what with all the energy left of me on Friday night.
I’m lucky, I have the entire weekend to recuperate; otherwise, I won’t be able to come to work today. I hope my brother gets better soon especially when Mom’s alone to look after him while everyone else is either at work or in school. *sigh*
Added on 10 December 2012 (1627H): My mother just sent me an SMS, telling me that she decided to bring my brother to the hospital this afternoon. He had rashes all over his body, and is suspected for having dengue fever. :(
Added on 10 December 2012 (2027H): I received a call from Mom saying that my brother’s blood test results were positive for dengue fever. They didn’t have to perform the tourniquet test on him because rashes were all over his arms and back—one of the common symptoms of dengue fever.
It’s a good thing, however, that the Revised Dengue Clinical Management Guidelines of the Department of Health includes a new way of identifying whether one does have dengue fever. The integration of Dengue NS1 Antigen Test or Dengue IgM Antibody Test was expected to support any other laboratory test results.
Say, in the case of my brother whose body temperature has not lowered in 48 hours. In this phase, his platelet count is expected to drop; however, to the doctor’s surprise, my brother’s CBC results remain normal. Had the revised guidelines not been implemented, they would have sent him home and rule out these symptoms of dengue fever.