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My family's battle against the dreaded Dengue disease

Here’s my personal story that I hope would serve as a warning for everyone. Dengue isn’t just a type of fever. It is not your average viral disease. For some cases, it could be the last fever you ever experience. My story isn’t a story that should scare you. It is one that hopefully saves someone’s life.

My husband passed two years ago today. We had no idea that it would be the longest week of our lives. It started when my husband had a fever Monday of that week. On Tuesday, we decided to take him to the hospital when his fever wasn’t going down. When the doctors took some tests and his results came back with his platelet count at 110,000. The next test they took, his platelet count was at 8,000. It came as a shock because I thought there was no way for his platelet count to deplete at a shocking rate. So, I did what any person would do – I asked for them to re-take the tests. I was hoping that there was just a mistake but I couldn’t believe when they told me the results. From 8,000, his platelet count was now at 6,000. We then decided to have blood transfusion and started to look for donors right then and there. However, we had a difficult time because my husband has a rare blood type. We were able to get from Red Cross Manila on Wednesday morning and did the blood transfusion right away. That Thursday, his platelet count went up to 10,000. The doctors advised that it would be the start of the continuous increase of the platelet count. We were relieved that he was recovering. This was the only good news that we’ve heard since the start of that week. Or so we thought…

My son also had to be taken to the hospital because of Dengue. My husband told me to take my son to a different hospital, one where he will surely be taken care of. When he said that, I figured why not have him transfer to the same hospital where my son would be sent to. After all, I wanted for him to get nothing but the best quality of service. The doctors in the hospital my husband was in said that it was not advisable for him to transfer in his condition due to the risk that his body was very weak and there could be issues during his transfer. They were asking me to sign a waiver saying that the hospital would not be liable for any possible outcome that would result from the transfer. I, of course, did not want the burden of that kind of liability in any event that something happens to my husband. But I consulted him and asked him if he can transfer to a different hospital. He said he was too weak to do so which is why we opted to stay in the

hospital we are already in. My son is in another hospital, receiving the best care he can get – being monitored from time to time, the hospital conducting tests every now and then, with two IV transfusions while my husband only had one.

On Friday the 13th of October, at around 3 in the morning, my husband was sitting on his bed. He called my name while he was smiling. But behind his smile, I saw his pain. I knew he was still having a hard time. As I went closer, he pulled me in and hugged me very, very tight. While he was hugging me, he said “Thank you. I love you.” During that time I thought everything was going to be okay; that he was going to be okay. But I thought wrong… After a few minutes, he started having difficulty in breathing. I had to page a nurse to ask for an oxygen tank but it didn’t arrive right away. I had to follow-up which at this point was very disappointing because wasn’t

there supposed to be an oxygen tank readily available inside his hospital room right beside his hospital bed? After 15 minutes, I had to ask again because it was getting harder and harder for my husband to breathe. And this time, they provided the oxygen tank.

Inside the room were the nurses and our trusted household help, Sandy. After a while, my mother-in-law and my brother-in law with his wife arrived. They arrived almost at the same time the doctors did to check on my husband which was around 4 in the morning. At this point, my husband was fighting for his life and there was nothing I could do about it but be with him. But it was so hard for me to see him in pain like that. They were conducting tests I had to go out of the

room and let all my frustrations out with me. I remember screaming and crying to God and I did not want my husband to see me having a hard time, too. When I went back in, they were already resuscitating him. There was nothing I could do but watch and feel hopeful but helpless at the same time. This was not how I imagined our week as a family to turn out. Minutes before it was 6 AM, I asked the nurses to stop resuscitating my husband. I asked them to just stop whatever they were doing. I told my mother-in-law to just let go and surrender him to God. Then that was it. I hugged my husband as tight as I could and whispered to him something that I would shout to the world – “I love you. Tell Jesus I said “thank You” because even for a short while, He gave us the chance to be with you here. You may now go home, beb. Don’t worry about us.”

Friday the 13th at 6:10 in the morning, my husband was pronounced dead. The doctors said they detected blood in his lungs and results showed that the virus has already infected his brain. I can still remember how difficult my situation was during that time. I lost my husband due to Dengue and my son was still sick with the virus. I could not find the courage in me then to let my son know that his father has passed because he was still down with the same disease that his father lost his short battle with. I almost lost my son, too, because of Dengue. But I will forever be grateful to the hospital for taking care of my son. Because of that, he survived.

I lost the man who showed me brighter days and pushed me to be the best version of me. He was the one who convinced me to go back to singing. He always went with me and drove me to my gigs no matter how late in the night. My number one supporter always watching me from the crowd. It isn’t easy. I did what I could and I am still striving to be that version he insisted me to be. He believed in me and loved me and my son unconditionally. And now, I know he still watches me; not from the crowd, but from above.

My story is only one of the countless heartbreaking stories there are about Dengue. It was not easy, and it will never be. Which is why I wanted to share my story even if I have to recall the painful moments this illness has brought to our family. My intention is not to scare people. It is to spread awareness on how terrifying Dengue can be. Hopefully through this, people will not think of Dengue as an illness one can just shrug off. I really hope an action will be made, especially now that there are a lot of paraphernalia we can use to avoid Dengue. It would be amazing if the politicians would find a way to provide free Dengue kits to those who can’t afford it.