Last week was a tough time for our family. It was Saturday, 2am when we we had to rush Summer to the ER because of an alarmingly high fever. She undertook some tests which, later on, revealed that she had dengue. She had to be admitted right away and when I heard those words, all I could really say was “okay.” The next few hours seemed to have progressed so swiftly. Next thing I knew, it was 7am, Summer had an IV on her and I was cuddling her to sleep in a cold hospital bed.
Turns out, there’s no aggressive way to defeat dengue. There’s no cure for it. So we spent the time trying to get her fever to go down, feeding her, keeping her well hydrated, making sure she rests a lot and just wait — lots of waiting. We basically just let the virus run it’s cruel course and hope her body beats it in the end. Kind of frustrating really. But it sure was a test in patience and trust.
Summer spent five days in the hospital, which was torture for her in many different ways. She hated the daily blood extractions, of course, and was constantly and very furiously itchy. So itchy that she would violently roll her body all over the bed, her face all red and drenched in tears. Taking medicine round the clock was not her favorite either. It was horrible to have to see her experience pain and even if I knew I couldn’t take it away, every fiber of my being just wanted to make her feel better so I did my best to comfort her. I must admit though that it did reach a point when I started getting fed up with all the crying, whining and complaining. Her neediness was both irresistible and frustrating to me. Kayo, seeing how it was getting to me, would remind me to keep my cool and remember she’s only four and that her entire body is sore. It was too much for her to handle. So clearly, I just had to deal with it — deal with it with kindness and grace.
All things considered, even at Summer’s worst day at the hospital, I firmly believed she was tough enough to get through it. I also believed God was taking good care of her. Of course I got worried, but I refused to be overcome with anxiety. I think putting all my energy in helping make her better also prevented me from worrying so much. I helped veer her attention away from the discomfort by drawing and painting whatever she liked. She made me draw big playgrounds with many children over and over because I think she just wanted to be able to play and that’s where she really wanted to be. We prayed a lot too, of course, silently and out loud.
By the fourth day, Summer had her appetite back and was in a much better mood. Her platelet count had risen too. It was nice to see her smiling again and regain that twinkle in her eyes. The next day, she got discharged and we headed home happily.
When you see Summer now or even the day after we brought her home, you would not believe she just had dengue. She bounced back swiftly and quite wonderfully. I’m so grateful to have my little sunshine girl back. Many thanks to our dear families and friends for being ready to help out and stand in the gaps. My best friend, Eyette, Summer’s godmother, came to visit right after finding out and brought her a box of corn flakes, which was all she ate for the first few days (Thanks, Eyette! If you hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have eaten a thing!) And of course, thank you to my dearest Kayo for being our sturdy anchor, for taking care of everybody and for cheering us up that entire time. You are, indeed, our hero.
If there was one thing that this very unexpected turn of events taught me, it would be surrender. There was really nothing about that whole experience I could control. It was very humbling to just have to wait, to hold back and not snap when Summer gets too cranky and to fully accept that I don’t always have a solution to problems. I learned, just by sitting beside the hospital bed, caring for my daughter, that there is freedom and strength in surrender and complete trust in the Lord. I’m very grateful it’s all over and that through this unpleasant experience, I gained a special bond with my Summer.