I'm sorry I've been away for so long. So many things have happened since I last blogged at the end of October last year.
My darling grandfather passed away unexpectedly at the start of November. I had to take some time away to grieve and help keep the rest of the family strong. I was especially worried for my grandmother. She had to be alone at home for the very first time and we all tried to help her adjust to it. We made sure she didn't have much time alone in the first few weeks. We introduced new activities to her so she would have something to do be distracted by. I'm very happy to say that she's doing alright today.
Then after the shock and sorrow of my granddad's passing, a pyschotic boyfriend came into the picture. Thankfully, it all ended very quickly.
That brought me to the end of January where I I fell very ill. For a whole month, I was down with very high fever every day. It would be 39.2°C one night, 38.5°C the next morning and 40 °C that night. I was in a really terrible state. I couldn't eat at all, could barely drink any fluids. I was so weak I could not even sit up.
In the beginning, I was still able to make my way to the clinic near my house with the help of my parents. But as the days wore on, I had grown so weak that the doctor had to come to my house to treat me. Then one night he told my parents that I really should be in a hospital because he couldn't do any more for me.
So I got admitted into Alexandra Hospital. I stayed there for 9 days. The fever was still raging, but strangely it began occuring only at night. The Panadol pills they gave me were useless against the fever. The doctors ordered that blood be drawn from me multiple times a day for every conceivable test. They tested for Malaria, TB, Typhoid, even HIV. Everything came up negative.
My poor arms!
But something showed up in my blood that was exceedingly high. It was the ESR level. This is a non-specific test showing that there was a bad infection going on in my body. But what infection? The doctors didn't know.
Plastic sheet = test for TB, Plaster = wound from the many blood tests
Meanwhile, I was shivering terribly whenever the fever hit and I was getting thinner. The doctors decided that I had to go on the IV drip. They inserted the thick needle into a vein in my hand... which was fine. What was not fine was that the needle ended up going past my wrist and well into my forearm because my hand is so very small. This made it really painful to use my right hand at all. What was really really not fine was when a trainee doctor, who was trying to feel for my pulse, pressed really hard right where the tip of the needle was and promptly burst the IV needle through my vein.
Bruised and sore from the daily needles
Pain. Swelling. Drama. Now I'm left with a tender lump above that vein.
Every day I saw more needles, suffered more fever. The doctors then decided to put me on a very potent antibiotic. It's called Doxycycline. Apparently, this is such a powerful antibiotic, it is used to fight Anthrax and prolonged consumption of it could cause liver damage. Of course, the doctors didn't tell me all that. So I happily popped this magical pill which finally killed the fever in 2 days.
But even though the fever had gone away, the doctors still had no answers for me. They didn't know the source of the fever. They explained that most of the results from their tests turned up negative or contradictory. For example, they said that Doxycycline is used for fevers caused by bites from ticks, fleas and mites. But if those parasites were the cause of my fever, it wouldn't explain my infected lymphnodes. So they're stumped.
The doctors were reluctant to discharge me because they didn't like having a mystery fever. But finally they did and my case has been classified as FUO -- Fever of Unknown Origin.
Hand too small so IV needle relocated to forearm
Yesterday, I went back to the hospital for a check-up. Surprise, surprise! Another blood test was in order. The doctor said that everything showed up negative again, except for one new thing. It's called ANA -- Anti-Nuclear Antibodies. The normal level for it is less than 90. At the highest, it should be 110. Mine is at 265. So the doctors are concerned and said that they would need to keep monitoring me. Again, they don't know what or where this result points to. I hope it's nothing serious.
But no point speculating and worrying myself over things I can only guess at. I'm just glad to be out of the hospital and I'm recovering slowly. That awful month of fever has taken quite a toll on me so I'm still not back at full strength and tire very easily. So at the moment, I'm taking it a bit easy at work, trying to eat well and getting enough sleep every night.
I want to say Thank You to all of you who wrote in asking about me and sending in your best wishes.
To Dawn and Dell who sent a beautiful basket of the prettiest flowers to my home... Thank you!
A big Thank You to the tireless nurses at Alexandra Hospital who took such good care of me, especially Tina Ong. She knew that the nurses in the morning shift would be too busy to pay me much attention so she stayed back after her shift to cool my body down by wiping me all over with a cold compress.
To Ravi and Sandra for all the advice, trying to get me the best care and keeping a sharp eye on things in spite of your work and travel schedules... Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The biggest Thank You to my loving family and friends who came to visit me at the hospital, bringing with them generous gifts of fruits, flowers and magazines... even calling from overseas to make sure I was alright.
And a supreme, paramount, immeasurable Thank You to my Mum and Dad for being by my side every day and bringing me my favourite food... to my darling Uncle for his very generous packets of Ribena and print-outs of medical findings on my condition... to my two favourite Aunts for taking such tender care of me whenever the fever spiked, icing my forehead with a cold towel and feeding me when I was at my weakest... to my beloved grandma for the quiet tears she shed at night over me, for the prayers she chanted tireless and the homecooked food and tonic she prepared lovingly.