If all feelings of relaxation and rejuvenation were squelched during our travel debacle on Saturday, yesterday they were absolutely obliterated. I am now more fatigued, more stressed and more anxious than I was before the cruise. I suspect I've aged at least a decade in the past 48 hours.
We thought Robby was fighting a double ear infection. Of
course it was painful and he was ill, but we were confident that after
some antibiotics, Christmas shaped macaroni and cheese, and a lot of TLC
he would return to his normal and active self. Despite the medication,
he continued to decline.
By the time the sun rose yesterday, I
knew that something was dreadfully wrong. Robby was limp, pale and
disoriented. His fever was spiking so high he had febrile seizures. He
was so light sensitive that he begged me to turn off the Christmas tree
because it was "burning his eyes." He was coughing, shaking and becoming
weaker by the moment.
His pediatrician did a lot of research
and consulted with experts in Tropical Diseases at Children's Hospital
in Washington DC. She discovered that Haiti, the island that we visited
just a few days ago, has been experiencing an outbreak of Dengue Fever.
To our dismay, the timeline and all of the symptoms mirror this
illness. We were on Haiti for a mere six hours, yet it was apparently
long enough for an infected mosquito to bite Robby on the ankle and give
him this horrible disease. He received the official diagnosis of Dengue
Fever, in addition to a double ear infection, yesterday evening.
there is little that can be done to treat Robby's affliction. We have
to try to keep him comfortable (not easy when his fever rises to nearly
105 degrees) and hydrated. If he has difficulty drinking or if the
febrile seizures increase in frequency, he will be hospitalized. The
illness lasts for approximately a week and consists of various stages,
none of them pleasant.
I feel helpless seeing him so ill and not
being able to fix him. He has never been this weak, and I'm scared. I'm
terrified to leave his side, even to use the bathroom for fear of his
falling, seizing or needing me for any reason. It has been a long 36
I also find myself feeling extraordinarily angry that he
became ill during what was supposed to be a wonderful family adventure. I
know that it is completely illogical and will have no benefit, but I
want to shake my fists at the universe and scream, "This isn't fair!"
One little mosquito bite on his ankle has created a tidal wave of
frustration, fear and heartache.
There is nobody to blame so,
typical to a mom mentality, I am blaming myself. If I hadn't insisted
that we do something educational during our time on the island, we never
would have toured the fishing village where the mosquitoes were
lurking. I should have just let the boys play on the beach all day! My
brain knows that I shouldn't beat myself up, but my heart can't stop
assuming the blame.
Today will be spent curled up in bed with
Robby trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. I can do so little
to help him right now and it is tearing me apart. I wish I could wave a
magic wand and make him all better. Since that isn't going to happen,
I'll continue to stay next to him and try to reduce the symptoms. It's
hard to accept, but there is nothing else I can do right now.