Dengue Fever is something that you read about in Lonely Planet when you go to such places as Thailand and/or Central America and is listed somewhere near Malaria in the 'Infectious Diseases' section in the back. I remember reading about it when Summer and I went to SE Asia and thinking 'how terrible'...but it 'won't happen to me!' What are the chances that the mosquito that just bit you has Dengue or Malaria? haha
Ironically I have only been bitten maybe by 10 mosquitos or less since I arrived in Nicaragua three weeks ago. And, apparently, one of those mosquitos had Dengue. I didn't even know I had it until 4 days in. I just thought I had the flu. I remember getting a monster headache last Monday night, but taking Advil and going with my roommates to a steakhouse. The next morning I was up at 7:30, but had the WORST back and neckache. I just kept taking Advil and sleeping and expecting to wake up fine the next morning. I didn't get scared until I took my temperature on Thursday night (at Bridget's insistence) and scored a 102.5. Then I was worried about bacterial meningitis, since I also couldn't touch my chin to my chest. Bridget convinced me that I didn't want to go to the hospital here, and that 102.5 is OK, it's 104 you have to deal with. So the next day she visited the local German doctor and explained our symptoms. (I forgot to mention one of my roommates was suffering the same symptoms as me, and a third started having severe backpain.) So the three of us went to the lab to have blood taken to be tested. Bridget thought maybe we had leptospirosis, which exibits all the same symptoms, but is contracted through rat urine, which we weren't sure if we had had any contact with. I'm kidding, of course we didn't!
At the lab, a nice nurse lady with fake extension nails (a no-no for any nurse in the States) poked my arm and took the blood, and when she was finished, she said, "I need to get you a stitch". I was like WHA? Because I can't look when my blood is being drawn. She meant a Band-Aid, thank goodness.
After that we went to the good German doctor, whose Spanish is better than her English, but when she was examining me and poking around my stomach, I was very embarrassed because she said, "you have the gasses? Yes, very active gasses."
She's the one that read the blood test and diagnosed Dengue Fever because my platelets were low and because I have the classic symptoms. Her entire bill for three visits including very thorough exams? $19. All my blood work at the lab so far? $15. All of my six prescriptions? $20. Not too bad, and I think my travel insurance will cover it all.
Right now I'm on day 6. My feet and hands are swollen and incredibly itchy. Dengue sucks! It hurts SO bad. They call it "Breakbone" fever because of how painful it is to your joints and bones. And they're right. I've never been in this much pain. Today all I can feel is the itch though. Mainly my palms and soles of my feet. I wish I could take a picture of how itchy it is.