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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dengue Fever

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. 

Unfortunately, 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 hours!

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.

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