Hello friends, you haven’t heard from me for a while, several weeks now. Some of you who are friends on Facebook know what’s been going on, but probably most readers here don’t know. I have been very, very sick. I’m not completely better yet, but I’m on the mend, and feeling a lot better. It all started on Sunday, February 16th. Let me tell you more.
I woke up this morning and my right thumb was a little bit painful, I’m not sure why, but I didn’t really feel it was too big of a deal. I went on about business as usual.
This morning when I woke up, my thumb was a little more painful than it was yesterday. Still not terrible, but more painful. On Monday mornings, I often have coffee with a couple of friends, one of whom is a doctor from Israel. I told him about my thumb, and ask him to take a look. I told him that I thought I might have a spider bite, but could not really see a bite on the skin, that’s just how it felt. He confirmed that it was probably some kind of insect bite, but didn’t think it too serious, but told me to keep a close eye on it for a few days.
When I woke up this morning, I was seriously ill. I wasn’t sure if it was connected to the bite, or whatever it was, but I was really sick. Within a couple hours after waking up, my sickness was just getting worse and worse, honestly, I did not know if I was going to live through the day or not.
Being the stubborn person that I am when it comes to medical, I wouldn’t go to the hospital, but I decided to just rest in bed for the day and see how I felt. As expected, that didn’t really help much.
I was really feeling terrible, and over the next few days a few symptoms occurred that made it appear that I probably had a stroke. I knew it was now time to see a doctor, no matter what.
I started making arrangements to go down to General Santos City where my doctor is, the one who took care of me when I had a stroke in 2001. However, I found out that she was not available at the time, and it would be a week before I could see her again , so I knew I had to make other arrangements. Through a recommendation from a friend I found a doctor here in Davao that I thought might be good for this particular incident.
Visit with the doctor
I went in to the doctor, explained my medical history, and told him of my current event and my worries about possibly having had a stroke. He really put my mind at ease, when he immediately told me that I had not had a stroke. He told me that I had a very serious infection just under my skin, it started in one of my hands, my right hand, and spread to my other arm and hand as well. He told me that the condition was very, very serious, and that it had most likely started from a bug bite, which is what I had thought originally.
Over the past couple weeks of working with my new doctor to help me feel better, I’ve visited him many times, went in for a lot of different laboratory tests and just about anything you could think of medically. The good news is, I’m on the mend. The bad news, the doctor said it might be another week even two weeks before I’m fully better. I can’t type but I do have a little more use of my arms and hands now than I did before.
Overall, I’m feeling much better, but still very weak.
In the 14 years that I’ve lived in the Philippines, I’ve had three major illnesses.
In 2001 I had a stroke. In 2009 I had dengue fever. Now I’m going through this bug bite infection.
Did you notice something? Two out of three of those illnesses were caused by bug bites.
Things that seem inconsequential, like a bug bite, can become very serious if you live in the tropics, like the Philippines. If you get bit by a bug, or get some kind of cut or scrape, you need to treat it. If you don’t treat it, you might die. If you don’t die, you can still get very, very sick. I feel lucky that I’ve made it through this.
I’m going to be writing more about this ordeal on my personal website in coming weeks, as I’m feeling better. I want to share a little more about my illness, and the things I’ve learned and things that I’ve also remembered over my life here that are related to this type of incident.
For now though, suffice it to say that I’m feeling better, not a hundred percent, but I’m on my way there. Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes that you shared with me on Facebook and other venues over the last few weeks.