Tom & Hayley are visited by the Dengue Fever Fairy
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
142Trip End Jun 18, 2011
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On our third evening here we went along to a local book store and café which shows free movies in the evening and got some nice ginger teas and watched The King’s Speech with Colin Firth (which is bloody brilliant and we highly recommend watching it). On the way there Tom mentioned that he had some funny tummy pains, nothing too painful and he managed to watch the film with no problems. Afterwards as we were walking back to our guesthouse I also started to get tummy pains and we figured that we must have eaten something a bit dodgy. We went back to our room and planned out our sightseeing for the next few days, after relaxing for the first two days we figured it was time we actually started to visit some of the sights
It is really difficult to explain what happened next. We woke up the next morning and we had both become so so ill. We awoke to find that we had blinding headaches, especially behind our eyes, raging temperatures, sore backs and necks, joint pain, stomach pains, vomiting, sensitivity to light, nausea, dizziness. I have never had a fever as high as this before, we were sweating through our clothes and the bed sheets and mattress were soaked. When we had checked in to our guesthouse they had no double rooms left and we had been forced to stay in a twin room instead, which actually turned out for the best because it meant we had separate beds which helped when we were so hot and sweaty. The worst symptoms were the headaches, dizziness, fever and joint pain. The pain in our joints were horrifically bad, especially in my kneecaps; just walking to the bathroom reduced me to tears, it felt like someone had smashed my kneecaps in with a baseball bat. We were exhausted and we spent the entire day falling in and out of sleep and trying to drink as much water as we could. As the first day wore on and the temperature outside increased our fevers were becoming unbearable and pretty soon all of our symptoms were eclipsed by an increasing feeling of delirium. Neither of us could think straight and after a while we became so delirious we didn’t know exactly where we were or what the hell was happening to us. In all honesty it was terrifying. These feelings of delirium lasted for the first two days of our illness; I can hardly even remember these two days properly, it all feels like a blur and all I can clearly recall is looking over at Tom and seeing him writhing around on the bed in pain and dripping in sweat, all the time feeling like the room was spinning into space. Luckily there was a water cooler downstairs in the guesthouse courtyard and every hour or two we would hobble downstairs together, holding each other up in case we keeled over, and fill up our water jug and bottles; we knew that we needed to keep drinking as much water as possible
Now I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t you just go to the doctor? Well if only it was that easy. As I said earlier Laos is one of the world’s poorest countries and unfortunately for us Laos is just not set up with health care of an international standard. Our guidebook advises that while healthcare in Laos is adequate for sprained ankles it is not good enough for anything more serious than this. There is local healthcare, however this does not guarantee that the 'doctor’ you will see has actually had any medical training, they are more likely to be a local villager who has experience of helping sick people. Third world countries also have issues relating to sterilized needles and we were terrified at the thought of having blood tests or injections with dirty needles. It is advised that if you need medical treatment you fly back to Bangkok. Despite being so ill a small part of our brains were still functioning well enough to know that we couldn’t risk visiting a local Laos doctor and that if things got really bad we needed to get our arses back to Thailand. At first we thought that we had food poisoning but as the two first days passed by something in the back of my head was telling me that this didn’t make sense. Before we had arrived in Asia I had read about the many tropical diseases which are prevalent here and something in my memory was telling me to take another look at the health section of our guidebook. As soon as I did this it was made sense; all of our symptoms tallied up with Dengue Fever. Reading further we learnt that there is no treatment for Dengue other than rest, paracetamol and plenty of water; so we got back in bed and fell asleep.
On the third day we woke up and, thank god, the delirium had passed
However, we really do have the worst luck lately. The following day I woke up and had a new type of agonizing stomach pains. I was doubled over in pain and spent most of the day in tears. It was all too much for me, having been so ill for so long I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was terrified that something awful was happening to me and worried that the Dengue had come back or taken a turn for the worst. At 9pm I broke down in tears and Tom and I agreed that we couldn’t let this carry on any further. I dosed myself up on painkillers and got back in bed and by 10pm Tom had bought us some last minute flights back to Bangkok for the following day and booked us into some nice accommodation. So despite seemingly starting to get better we now had flights booked and were due to leave Laos in less than 12 hours. After a 3 day journey to get here we couldn’t believe that we were having to leave under such a black cloud and without having even explored Luang Prabang properly. It was a very strong reminder that sometimes life takes unexpected turns and you have to do your best to deal with them.
P.s. all these photos were taken in the first 2 days before we became ill xxx