Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

If it’s not Dengue, what is it?

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First of all, Mom, Dad, Wendy, and Uncle Daniel – thank you for calling me every few hours the last couple of days to make sure I was alive in my hotel room (and for sending me all that info on symptoms, treatments, ways to aleviate the fever/pain, questions to ask the doctor). Being away, it felt reassuring to know that you knew what was going on and you were only a phone call away. Maureen Miller (Nate’s mom), thank you so much for your email. Your efforts to find contact information and health services in HCMC was much appreciated, I appreciate the time you took to send me that note.

Now, I’ll go on to describe what happened on Monday, the day after I posted about going to the hospital…

I was standing in line inside of a large busy grocery store when I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. At first, I thought I was going to vomit. When nothing came up, I noticed that the sounds of the store were intensifying in my ears. Clink! Clank! Ca-ching! – all became these deafening noises coming in and then slowly drowning out. My head started throbbing with pain, and I could feel my pulse race. When I blinked, all I could see were splotches of white light, everywhere. I was going blind. Shit.

I left the fruit and water I was going to buy on the counter and slowly made my way towards the exit, wanting to get away from the pushy crowds. I knew that if this white out was to last for a while, and I was amongst a bunch of foreign strangers, I would just feel claustrophobic, and the situation would be worse. When I got outside, I had to keep my eyes closed because the sun was so bright and every time I opened them, I just got blinded. I stood there for another 20 seconds waiting and blinking until my vision was back to normal and I wasn’t feeling so sick. That was probably the scariest feeling I’ve ever felt. Not knowing what is happening to you and not being able to control any of these symptoms.

When I got back to the hotel, I tried calling the doctor who consulted me on Sunday, but of course, the number on his card was no longer valid. I tried to have my hotel receptionist call the number just to make sure I wasn’t dialing it incorrectly, but she also got the same message. Another white out came again at that point – this time while I was speaking with the receptionist, who seemed terrified to see me gripping the counter with my eyes glued shut, head in my hands, waiting for it to all go away. As soon as I could see a little, I walked to the computer in the lobby and emailed the doctor, copying my sister so she was aware. A second later, the email bounced back. The address on his business card was incorrect, as well. Damnit. I just hopped in a taxi out front and asked them to take me to the hospital.

When I got there, the tears came. I told them what happened and how scared I was when I couldn’t see, so they put me in a room, laid me down, and said Dr. Susi would see me in a few minutes. When he came in, he listened, nodded, and said they’d go ahead and run the Dengue test a day earlier. The results came back negative. He really didn’t have much to comment about the blind spells, tried to reassure me that I wouldn’t fall into a coma in my hotel room, gave me his personal phone number and his correct email address, and said to come back in the morning for a final evaluation.

When I asked what this febrile viral illness could be, he said it could be a form of menengitis or encephalitis. But because it could be so many other things, it wouldn’t be realistic to test me for everything. He just reassured me that I wouldn’t need to have a spinal tap, it wasn’t parasitic, and any long term damage shouldn’t be a concern for now. I understand that not everyone can be diagnosed and one may not find the answers to all the questions one has, but it just doesn’t sit well with me that no one can figure out what exactly happened here. My sister is convinced it’s Dengue, and having read about it, I wouldn’t be surprised. Regardless of the outcome, I guess it’s always more comforting when you know.

It’s now Day 6, and the only symptom I am feeling is a minor headache. It still hurts a little to open my eyes wide or look up, but I think that should go away in a day or two. Dr. Susi provided a medical report to clear me for travel to Indonesia, so I’m flying out tomorrow to meet my mom and grandmother in Surabaya. They’re staying with our extended family whom will be showing us their home and taking us to Bali on the 26th. I have yet to make any plans for NYE, but right now, the important thing is to get and remain healthy. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being with my mom. I feel better already just thinking about it.

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Written by winniewongsf

December 23, 2009 at 5:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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