Dengue fever

Already on our first night on Koh Tao Kjersti started feeling poorly. Fever kicked in and she was in no mood to play. The next day she opted to stay in bed while I went free-diving. After she had a second night of fevered sleep, I understood that something was amiss and went with her to the local clinic in the morning, where she was promptly admitted and put on a drip. I canceled our day of free-diving and settled in with her at the clinic.

At 14:00 (2:00pm) the results of her blood-tests came in: Dengue fever. The clinic staff went into high gear.

The nurse drove me to our hotel on his scooter and gave me 15 minutes to pack our stuff, before he picked me (and all our gear) up in the ambulance. At the clinic we picked up Kjersti and a nurse that would travel with us (As a side-note, I have to add that the nurse that traveled with us was a ladyboy). We drove as fast as the ambulance could go straight to the pier and got on the first boat to Koh Samui. They didn’t exactly have any medical facilities on board, but we made do.

On Koh Samui we were met by an ambulance that drove us with the siren howling and blue lights blinking straight to the Bangkok Hospital Samui, where Kjersti was admitted to the ER.
As you can tell she is thrilled to be in the hospital.

After more blood-test and an x-ray we finally got out of the ER and into a normal room, where we are now. The day has flown and we’re happy with the care she’s getting, but … this isn’t how we were planning to see Thailand. Hopefully she will recover fast.

Day 2 in the hospital
The doctor is saying that it takes about a week for Dengue Fever to run its course, sometimes a little less, sometimes a bit longer. Today is our second day of proper hospital care (but the third day she has a fever), which means that Kjersti should be well by the time we’re supposed to fly from here on Feb 1st.

I have to say that this hospital really is excellent. They inspire confidence and obviously know what they’re doing. They are used to Dengue Fever and they know how to deal with it. So though it sucks that Kjersti is sick, we’re in the most capable hands to safely get her through it.
I’ve checked into a hotel (Baan Talay) nearby the hospital, so that I can sleep properly. A small leather hospital couch is not a comfy bed for a tall Norwegian. The plan now is that I go to the hotel in the evening, eat dinner, sleep, eat breakfast and return to the hospital early the next morning.

Day 3 in the hospital
I woke up at 07:00, had breakfast and grabbed a cab to the hospital. Kjersti was in the same state as when I left her last night. Positive changes are that she’s eating slightly more and seem to be in better spirits, but she’s still very weak, fever is making her temperature rocket and plummet, so if she’s warm one second, then she’s freezing the next. The doctor said her blood plate levels have dropped to 81,000 which is a trend that will unfortunately continue as long as she has a fever. When it comes to blood plate levels anything above 150,000 is normal, while levels below 30,000 is considered dangerous.
She is able to rest and sleep a lot, so I’m hoping she’s getting stronger. There’s little I can do, except stay by her side and help with whatever small stuff she needs … My respect for nurses that do his job every day is growing tenfold.

Day 4 in the hospital
This morning was a repetition of yesterday’s, because I was up at 07:00 and in the hospital by 08:00. Kjersti was in better spirits when I arrived, but her general state declined after breakfast. The doctor showed us that her blood plate levels have dropped further: it was now down to 57,000, which is not good.
On a positive note she hasn’t had any fever since a few hours before breakfast (15 hours ago), so that’s a good sign, because once the fever is gone, we shouldn’t see a further drop in blood plate levels. The doctor urged caution, because the fever normally lasts a week and it can disappear for a while only to return with a vengeance, but I’m optimistic.
She has had fever since the evening on the 23rd, so it’s been 5 days now since the Dengue Fever gripped her. Hopefully she will have a night without fever, so that she can start to rebuild her strength.

Day 5 in the hospital
When I came to the hospital this morning at 08:00 it was obvious that things were better. Kjersti hadn’t had any fever during the night and she had spent most of the night dreaming about food, so these are good signs 🙂 She is also fully awake and not nearly as tired as before, so it’s obvious that she’s on the right track. We needed to take the wheelchair for a spin, so that we could get her some decent food 🙂

On his morning round the doctor revealed that her plate levels had dropped to 50,000, but since it’s only a little less than yesterday, he was optimistic that the worst had passed and that Kjersti is now on the road to recovery. She has had Dengue Fever for 6 days now, so this is in tune with that it lasts about a week. The doctor said that her fever had vanished already on day 5, which is a sign that she is in good health, because normally people have a high fever for a week and then start recovering.

Day 6 in the hospital
A new day and things are looking better and better. Kjersti hasn’t had a fever in over 2 days now and the results from the blood-tests are promising: Her blood plate levels are rising and this morning they were up to 60,000 so the tide has definitely turned. Her appetite is not as good as yesterday, but to be honest I don’t even get hungry by the hospital food here.
The doctor was optimistic and hinted that she could leave the hospital tomorrow if things continue like they have 🙂 If she gets out tomorrow, it means I can at least get one decent dinner in her, before we’re scheduled to fly out on Friday. The only obstacle is if her blood plate levels are under 100,000 then the doctors won’t recommend flying, so fingers crossed we’ll see a good rise by tomorrow.
Argh … This day was looking so good, the only minus was that Kjersti didn’t have much of an appetite. The hospital food wasn’t that inviting, so I went out and got her some nice pasta and a salad for dinner, but before she could start eating it, she started to throw up, so that’s a definite step back 🙁 The nurses gave her a shot for nausea, so hopefully she’ll feel better soon. She needs to start eating again, because she needs the energy from the food to get well. Her mom’s cooking would have done wonders just about now.

Day 7 in the hospital
I was worried when I came to the hospital this morning, because Kjersti’s state was deteriorating when I left last night. I hoped it hadn’t gotten worse in the course of the night. When I walked into the her hospital room, all my fears were dispelled. She was freshly showered, in her private clothes, laying on the bed writing post cards 🙂

When the doctor came on his morning round, he was happy to inform us that the blood plate levels were up to 108,000 so she is safe to fly and good to go 🙂 Her liver will take about a week to repair itself, so no alcohol for her in the next week or two. The doctor is now writing up the report for us to take back home, but a little after lunch, we should be able to leave the hospital 🙂
At 14:00 it was a reality: We are leaving the hospital 🙂 I have to mention the cost of getting proper treatment: 145,770 baht (US$ 4885) … I actually think it’s not a bad price considering the awesome job they’ve done and the first class facility we’ve been in. Still, I’m happy we have traveling insurance, so they’ll pick up the tab 🙂