Friday, September 19, 2008

Tropical Fevers

I can't promise such regular posting in the future. This one is actually a shameless attempt to solicit your sympathy. Caleb and Nathan and I are battling yet another round of viral fever. In the subtropics fevers are like ketchup. They come in "97 Varieties." The doctors never really bother to figure out which of the 97 is the current culprit since they all require the same basic treatment. (If I hear "Tylenol and fluids" one more time I think I'll scream.)

Since I can't boast of dengue or something impressive like that, let me describe the agony in detail. The fever creeps up slowly, a tenth of a degree at a time. When it passes 101 it feels like every muscle in my body is contracting at once. I start to shiver and can't find enough blankets in the house. (We don't have many since the temperature in HCMC almost never drops below 75 and is usually in the high 80s.) The fever peaks around 104 and hovers there for a while. I start wondering what songs I'd like sung at my funeral and whether I have anything suitable to wear in the coffin. (Remember the good old purple dress I wore when we left our wedding? That's at the top of the list. Ten-years-old but still faithful--you've got to love clothing like that. As an aside, can you tell I really need to do some shopping when we are back in the States. Does anyone know of good resale shops in the Wheaton area?) Finally the Tylenol or ibuprofen kicks in and the fever starts to relent leaving me sweaty and shaky and tired. For the next several hours I wander around in a fog trying to take care of the boys, fold laundry, etc. all the while feeling like a 90-year-old arthritic and wishing I had one of those clever walkers with the wheels on front. Just when I begin to hope that the fever is losing hold, it starts creeping up again. This goes on for a couple days. Then the fever peaks at lower and lower temperatures until finally it goes away leaving me wiped out for another week or two.

Unfortunately, this is my third round of viral fever in the past six months. In between fevers of unknown origin I also had two bouts of antibiotic resistant strep. (Thanks to all the streetside pharmacists who hand out antibiotics 3-4 pills at a time to any paying customer, antibiotic resistance is a big problem here.) At the risk of sounding really whiny, I'm sick of being sick. I suppose I should be grateful that the boys seem to have lower temperatures and bounce back more quickly, but it's really hard to care for a fussy infant and an ornery toddler when I'm fussy and ornery myself. Daniel helps out as much as he can, but he can't completely clear his schedule every time one of us gets sick. At this rate, he'd never get anything done.

Anyway, I think that's sufficient to evoke some sympathy. Sorry to whine and run, but I think it's time to take more ibuprofen. I will try to write again soon.


Megan said...

That sounds miserable! Hopefully you won't deal with this as much when you're back in the States.

As for resale shops, I used to go to Second Hand Rose. It's downtown Wheaton.

kel said...

I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself and how sick I've been so far this school year. Thanks for giving me a healthy dose of perspective!! Hope you feel better, friend!

Heather said...

Thanks for commiserating. Kel, I'm so sorry you've been sick. I can only imagine how tough it must be to teach when you're feeling miserable. Megan, thanks for the tip about Second Hand Rose. I'll have to check it out. I should go for now. Both boys are covered head to toe in a red rash. If my internet diagnosis is correct, that is actually a sign that the fever is heading out the door. Hopefully I am just a day or so behind.