Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chikungunya

In our house, it has mostly been referred to as the Chicken Goonies.

Funny name, unfunny disease.

Since February we have been hearing about chikungunya, a mosquito-borne arthritic virus that causes fever, rash, and joint pain. (Learn about it here)  It had been spreading in Santa Cruz and we knew several people that had had it.  We were doing what we could to control the mosquitoes in and around our house, but God saw fit that we should experience the darker side of the tropics.

It started Friday, May 15th, late at night.  Kaylee thought she might have food poisoning.  She made it through the night pretty well, but the next morning, she couldn't get out of bed, because it hurt to stand up.  Not exaggerating.

For 5 days, the girls and I took over the household responsibilities and tried to make Kaylee as comfortable as possible.

Then on Wednesday, as I was preparing my lecture for the next day's Church History class, my chest and back started getting stiff and sore.  By nightfall, I had gone from running the household, to being completely useless.  Kaylee made supper and washed the dishes while sitting on a stool, because she still couldn't stand up.

In the morning, I felt as though I had spent the previous day playing pickup football.  My back, chest, and shoulders ached, my feet hurt, and my legs were incredibly stiff.  My head was okay, so (foolishly) I taught my class.  I was fine for the first hour, but the second was less than heavenly.  I returned to the house feeling totally wiped out.  That night, the fever hit.

I spent 3 days in bed with fever.  Saturday, I woke up with the granddaddy of all rashes.  It was so bad that the girls didn't want to hug me when they got up.  Our resident nurse said she has never seen anything like it in her life, most of which has been lived here, dealing with tropical oddities.
I know most of you don't want to, but you can click to enlarge
That night, we couldn't get the fever under control.  I had already maxed-out on Tylenol and Ibuprofen is off limits.  I was shaking uncontrollably (again) and poor Kaylee was already so wiped out that she didn't have the energy to nurse me through the night.

A coworker took me to the ER around 9pm.  I was given an IV with Dioxadol, another fever killer, and waited an hour.  No change.  They gave me another Tylenol (oops) and sent me to a cold shower.  That didn't stop it either.  The nurse couldn't believe it when she took my temperature!  After waiting around for another hour or so, it finally dropped to about 101F and they released me.

Now, 3 weeks later, I can almost walk like a person.  I can hold a cup of coffee, too.  It affects each person differently; for me, the worst has been concentrated in my feet, shoulders, and hands.  The stairs have been the biggest challenge; even yesterday I couldn't walk down them normally, rather one at a time, holding onto the railing for balance.  This afternoon, it still hurts a little, but I can actually walk in a full stride.  Yesterday, I played my bass again in our morning devotional.  Still, you couldn't pay me to play volleyball or soccer today.

Thankfully, through it all, we have managed to keep our spirits up.  We knew what to expect and Kaylee and I shared some good-natured laughs at the way we both hobbled around.  We appreciate the help of coworkers that ran errands for us.

The biggest blessing of all was our girls.  They were incredibly helpful, running little errands for us and doing extra work in the kitchen.  They got along and played quietly so we could rest.  I think they were a little shell-shocked, honestly, to see us so weak.

They did find out that sometimes it is a good thing that Daddy and Mommy can't move much:


They say the symptoms could linger for weeks and months.  Thankfully, Kaylee is mostly pain-free, but my improvement has been very slow.  Please pray that we will be able to get everything done that we need to for our return to the US in two weeks and that we have no trouble traveling!!

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