Meed Aedes Aegypti, the mosquito known to carry Dengu, Chikunguya, and Zika.
I'll start by admitting that the title is just a little ficticious. I didn't learn this lesson today, but yesterday. I intended on writing the article last night after publishing the bioreactor article, but digestive troubles and a headache sent me to bed. The reason I only posted one article yesterday, way later in the day is because I spent the day with "break bone fever", also known as the mosquito borne illness called Dengue.
It's a fact of life here, especially as a foreigner, to end up with at least one (if not several) mosquito borne illness. We are in a sub-tropical climate and mosquitos are everywhere. They die back as you get into the dry season, but there are always pockets where they flourish year round. When we moved into the house here on the hill, there really wasn't much for mosquitos, which was nice as the whole front of our house is just bars and open air. As we got into the wet season, mosquitos have come out, although not as bad as some of the areas downtown can be.
I got one mosquito borne virus, probably Chikinguya based off of the symptoms. It started with a non itchy rash, all over my body. Little red spots equidistant from each other. I watched them spread across my whole body in just a short time one evening, although it started as a slow patch spreading for days. We were having money troubles (as always it seems) at the time, so I attributed it to stress. My skin is known to react badly to life stress.
Then I woke up one morning, got out of the hammock and felt like I had just stepped on a bed of nails. My hands and feet throbbed. I tried to get things done that day, but had to keep laying down over the pain. My hands and feet were sore for days, and the rash faded slowly. I'm thankful it was never an itchy rash, but it was a bit concerning to me at the time.
A few months ago, John ended up with Dengue. It started with him rolling around groaning in pain with a fever all night. I looked it up at one point for a minute on his phone, it seemed to fit. We just had to ride it out, as there's little you can do other than mask the symptoms. I've asked him for details about his bout with it, but life was pretty stressful at that time so he honestly doesn't remember much other than the extreme back pain, headache and fever.
I woke up yesterday in extreme gastric distress. I had bad abdominal cramping and was pretty digestively upset in general. There were points where I got pretty nauseous, narrowly avoiding being sick as I've almost always been able to meditate out of throwing up. It causes a lot of pain for me with a broken jaw, so I do what I can to avoid it. The pain was sharp and constant, I was hobbled bent over for most of the day. I had a severe headache from the start of the day too, which sometimes happens as a result of my injury. When I woke up, I was attributing my symptoms to completely different things.
Then the pain got worse and spread to my back. I started to feel hot and cold alternatively. I tried to write the bio reactor article repeatedly, with no results. My headache would become unbearable when not laying down. I could only lay on my left side when having abdominal pains, but the back pain would force me to move after while. I now understood why John was rolling around the way he was that night.
Our friends suggested I take the drug commonly prescribed for this Paracetamol. Upon looking into it, I'm glad I didn't you can overdose pretty easily on it. It just seemed to be a pain reliever and fever reducer and is one of the drugs you need a prescription to get here.
I got the suggestion later in the day to drink hot cinnamon tea. I have a few mexican cinnamon sticks on hand, so I decided to try the more natural route. I hobbled around to make the tea, adding some nance leaf that's helped me with pain in the past. I'll write an article later today sharing the recipe, as it's pretty remarkable.
Abdominal pain became too great at the end of preparing it, so I brought it in the room with me and laid down to try and get some of the pain to lessen. Awhile later, the tea was no longer hot by this point, I managed to take a few sips. Over the next half hour, I kept sipping. I noticed the edge on my back pain subsided and that my main discomfort was now my headache, which was pretty bad. I took an acetiminiphen and laid down waiting for it to kick in. I had a few dabs throughout the day, but we have a tiny supply at the moment so there wasn't much to go around.
I dealt with a lot of anxiety yesterday, as this is the worst possible time for me to get sick, especially with something that made it so I couldn't get anything done. Rents due in just a few days (technically more than a week overdue, but my landlord is out of town) and we're currently short on paying it, and we're even more short if we intend to buy any groceries in that time. We had rent saved up earlier in the month but problems with the truck made a decent dent into what we had. This is partially why I've been writing more recently, although we had always intended to be at this higher writing output anyway.
I managed to get my headache to lessen, with the aid of self massage. I had spent the earlier part of the day writing my outline in bed in my notebook for the bioreactor article, and I sat down to write the article. I got pretty digestively upset repeatedly during the writing and editing of that article, but I pushed through and got it done. I went to sleep exhausted and headachey, with abdominal pains once again.
I woke up just about every hour last night, digestively upset. It'd start with a pang in the gut that would wake me up and I'd run to the bathroom. I feel better than I did yesterday at this point, although I'm still not better by any means. I've got residual pain in my abdomen and I'm sore all over. The headache is still there somewhat and I'm pretty tired at this point. It's been an interesting experience, but I wish it would have waited a week, until after the rent is paid.
This morning I did a little more research into Dengue. Apparently it's spread by one type of mosquito (aedes aegypti), in most of the world. Apparently there are three varieties that carry it in Austrailia, which is crazy to think about. This mosquito is known for biting primarily during daytime hours.
The symptoms can vary some from person to person but symptoms of uncomplicated dengue (that is dengue that doesn't require hospitalization) are: high fever (sometimes bilateral, coming and going. That's what mine was), severe headache, pain behind eyes, joint and muscle ache, metallic taste in mouth, appetite loss, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diahhreah, general unwellness feeling, skin rash 4 days after the onset of fever and depression. I had most of these, although I won't know about the rash for a few more days.
So now I know why Dengue has been given the name break bone fever. You roll around in bed and just about everything hurts. Certain positions relieve most of the pain, but you're always forced to move as another pain becomes too great. This is one of those things that you just have to ride out, paying attention that you aren't having any of the more severe symptoms, signaling that you need medical attention. These include: bruising, severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from eyes. These things don't happen with most people. While I got many of the symptoms, I didn't get them all. John never got the rash. It's all really dependant on the person. The fact is though, these mosquito borne viruses are just a fact of life down here. I feel better today, better enough to write but I'm certainly not going to be moving any piles of urbanite today.