21 August 2009

Que Horror!

Murphy's law.  That's what Nards and I blamed.

We had a photobooth gig at Fiamma, and we did the usual set up.   All systems go half an hour before the start of the event.   Deepa and I did our test shots, and Nards was satistfied with the prints,  When the guests arrived, the flash started acting up.  For every four photos the machine took, the flash would only pop for two of them, which meant that when the prints came out, the grid would show two photos and two black ones.  We paused the service to try to resolve the problem.  Individually, all components of the booth were working, but somewhere was a malfunction that we couldn't find; and if we couldn't find it, we couldn't fix it.

I was apologizing profusely to Marbee and Deepa, and I told them that worst case scenario, we will end the service way ahead of schedule.  

After going through a fifteen minute panic attack, Nards and I decided to eliminate the flash completely, hike up the ISO and use the pilot light to illuminate the photobooth user.  I was praying under my breath when we resumed the service and waited for the first print to come out.  It worked.    Nards and I were so relieved that we were both weak-kneed.  It was the first time that our machine failed us (and at a very important event at that!), and it was very unnerving.

It wasn't very long when the queu to the booth was long, and Nards and I happily assisted the guests and manned the printers. 

Cissy and Noah arrived at 9, and I was so happy to see them!  Here's our photo from the booth.

They look cute together no?  As Nards said, "bagay sila."

19 August 2009

Dengue 101

Three weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, Nards and I were up early to attend mass.  I took a shower and got dressed, but I wasn't feeling good as I pulled on a my jeans and shirt.  I figured it was the beginnings of flu, nothing more.  We went to church, but I was feeling worse by the minute.  I was sitting down for most of the mass, and I could barely make my way back to the condo.

When we got home, I put on warm clothes and curled up under a thick blanket.  My fever was high.  Nards prepared tocino for brunch, but I barely tasted it.  My head hurt, my entire body was in paain and I was extremely thirsty.  Nards gave me Advil and it kicked in just as my parents arrived in the afternoon for a visit.  I was fine for an hour or so while my Mom and I caught up and Nards and my Dad discussed photography stuff.  When they left, the pain and high fever came back with a vengeance.  It went on until Monday.  Nards biked to the drugstore to get bioflu, a thermometer, and a some fruits.  My fever was see-sawing from 38 to 39 deg.  I've completely lost my appetite and the only thing I can take in was water.

Tuesday, Nards dressed me in a sweater and yoga pants, packed a bag, and brought me to the hospital.  I was confined and got an IV on the back of my left hand.  The high fever continued for a couple of days, accompanied by head ache and body pain.  Everytime I went to the bathroom to pee, Nards (who is a paragon of patience and love) had to half carry me there and drag the IV pole behind him. I could barely talk and was unaware of things that were happening around me.  Nards said that I asked for water every half hour or so, and that I slept most of the time.  My parents and siblings were there each day, and it's such a comfort to see Nards and my family everytime I opened my eyes.

A nurse would come in at 6AM daily, and drew blood from the inside of my right elbow.  On the fourth day, the doctor told me that my blood count was down from the normal 200 to 157.  Nothing to worry about, he said.  But that he expects my blood to go down even more once the fever dropped.

The fever dropped on our fourth day in the hospital, my blood count along with it.  From 157, it was 90, then 48, then 11.  The doctor ordered for two units of plasma, which meant an IV on the back of my right hand as well. 

 A team of nurses arrived in our room when it was time for the first transfusion.  One of them was assigned to check my blood pressure, pulse and heartbeat, just in case I was allergic to the plasma.  After the first bag, nothing happened.  After the second bag, I had hives.

So they administered Benadryl on the IV on my right hand.  It was PAINFUL.  The second it entered my veins, my arm felt like it was on fire.  The nurse said that I'll be knocked out pretty soon and will be sleeping it off for about 8 hours. 

I got high.  I have no recollection of this, but Nards caught it on video.  (I'm glad that he did, because I wouldn't have believed that it happened!)  He showed it to me the following morning during breakfast.  I was there giggling like an idiot, and mumbling.  You can even hear Nards in the background asking me in his amused voice why I was laughing. 

The doctor ordered another three bags of plasma and five units of platelets the following day.  Papa and Nards had to go to PGH just to get the platelets.  The hospital ran out because they had numerous dengue patients needing transfusion.   While they were getting it, I got injected with hemostan to curtail the bleeding. 

In the second round of transfusion, we requested to have claritin instead of benadryl for my allergies.  I was so relieved that they agreed. 

The blood tests  were still a daily thing.  My arms were already badly bruised and they eventually had to draw blood from my ankles.  Maygedhanzaket.

A couple of days after the last transfusion, when my blood count was up to 75, the doctor signed my release papers.  I was so happy!  I was giddy as I was wheeled out of the hospital.  Nards and I sat on a bench just outside the hospital doors to enjoy the cool breeze, the blue sky and the warm sunshine.  I was so elated to be outdoors. 

It took me another two weeks and a half to be a 100% recovered.  I was weak and easily exhuasted after discharge, I could barely even sit up before the computer to check my email.  I was also susceptible to infection because my white blood count is relatively low.  Nards, my darling husband, patiently took care of me, gently helped me move around, fed me, did the housework and biked to the stores to buy food, meds and Off lotion.  I am so blessed to have him. 

Now, I'm paranoid about day time mosquitos.  I put on Off lotion everytime we go out.  Everyday in the house, I put citronella oil and water in an aromatherapy amphora and light a candle underneath it.   Sometimes, I also light citronella sticks (the healthy version of katol) that I got from Sonya's Garden. Better be paranoid than sorry.  There is no medicine that can cure Dengue.  It was an altogether horrid experience, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. 


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