Surviving Sickness as a Family

11:17 PM

It is enough for one member of the family to be sick to send a household into a turmoil. How about if it's two, like what happened to us when my two children tested positive for dengue last weekend? For our family, it meant total disruption of life as we knew it. We knew we had to do something as a family if we were to survive this health scare that entered our home.

The First Signs

On October 6, my son was sent home upon advice of the school nurse because he was running a high fever. The fever persisted the whole day and subsided the next day. We decided it would be best for him to rest for at least two days more so he can be fit enough to join the writing competition on October 9 which he did. He went home from the competition again running a high fever.

We saw rashes appearing on my daughter's back on the same day as the onset of my son's fever. She did not have fever and was not complaining of any pain or other signs of sickness. We thought it was just another allergy bout as her skin is very sensitive when it comes to toiletry products. Before the next day was over however, she was also running a high fever until the next day. We brought her to the doctor on October 9 and she tested positive for dengue. 

My son tested positive as well the next day and was swiftly admitted to the hospital when platelet count was determined to be only 87. My daughter whose platelet count was still 220 was under outpatient monitoring. She was admitted to the hospital the next day because of continued fever and a lower platelet count of 209. Their platelet counts continuously lowered with each passing day. It was nerve-wracking and gut-wrenching. My husband and I both felt sick with exhaustion and worry.

What Can Be Done

Sickness in the family is really difficult. Thus, like in any other aspects of family life, members have to work together to get through the most difficult times. Here are some tips I can share based on our experience.

Caregivers should take care of themselves as well 

It is very important that other family members remain well so proper care can be given to the sick members. This means taking the proper precautions in handling the patient as well as trying to get some needed rest whenever allowed. It would be better to seek assistance from relatives and friends especially if there are more sick members than those who are able to provide care.

Patients should cooperate

Getting well depends heavily on the disposition of the patient. In our case, I requested my children to cooperate in terms of drinking medicine, however foul-tasting they may be and to endure the pain of repeated blood tests without a fight especially for my younger child. They also drank the tawa-tawa concoction prepared by my friends which I will be writing about very soon.

Patients and caregivers should be alert for warning signs

Even when already confined in the hospital, it is easy for doctors and nurses to miss out on important details of the patients' condition if the patient or the caregiver fails to provide proper information. There is no useless detail when it comes to monitoring sickness. What may seem unimportant at first can prove to be critical to the patient's well-being.

My Say

Sickness is one of the most challenging issues faced by families. It can never be an issue of the sick member only as he or she would usually need help to recover. Who else should be there to help but family? 

There are also the realities of medical expenses, possibility of contagion, and the immeasurable emotional factor that goes with worrying about the unknown consequences of contracting the disease. 

That said, I can only be thankful that we survived dengue. It would not have been possible without relatives and friends who supported us all throughout. When family members work together, there is no way they will not be able to pull through even the most difficult challenge.

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