Subconsciously, I think I always thought that we wouldn’t ever have the occasion to be confined in a hospital. Boy, was I wrong and twice over! I’m well aware of dengue fever and know people that have had it. The severity of this illness has been well pressed upon me and now that my eldest and I have both had it I know that anyone is vulnerable.
It started with Bastian and at first I thought it was an ordinary fever. He had started orientation at his new Senior High School and I figured it was the long commute that got him sick. However, the next evening he was still with high fever and asked to be taken to the doctor. I was still confident after the blood tests (CBC and Dengue) that we would be sent home with a prescription for paracetamol. When the doctor uttered the words “…positive for dengue” I was a bit shocked.
The doctor gave us the option of having him confined to better monitor him (as there is no cure for dengue fever) or going home but returning everyday to check his platelets. Now if you’re not aware of the specifics of dengue fever here’s a very short explanation:
Dengue fever is not contagious. Dengue fever does not spread directly from person to person. It is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus from the infected person to the healthy person. These mosquitoes bite during the day. – Medindia (Check out the infographic which has a very thorough explanation of dengue.) A significant effect of dengue is a low platelet count and white blood cells.
Fever | Headache | Muscle and joint pain | Abdominal pain | Vomiting | Sore eyes | Difficulty breathing | Diarrhea
Guess what, in all likelihood I got dengue from having been bitten at the very hospital where Bastian was confined. I say the likelyhood was high because I got bit there and we were roomed in with other dengue patients. Symptoms can develop 3-14 days after exposure.
Anyways, of course I opted for confinement. I would never take a chance on any of the kids health. Luckily, I have a health card (Maxicare) that my boss has generously provided for me and my kids. Now, I want to share about Maxicare and PhilHealth.
Since this would be the first time that Bastian would be confined and under this card I was learning as I went. Bastian has great coverage the only thing is that our Maxicare benefit has to be used with PhilHealth. What does that mean exactly? Well, PhilHealth covers a portion of the medical expenses and then Maxicare takes care of the rest. Since I had stopped paying my monthly contributions I was not an updated member and therefore had to shoulder the cost of PhilHealth. For dengue cases (at Commonwealth Hospital Medical Center at least) the PhilHealth portion would be up to Php10,000. Now, for a single mom of 3 that was quite a shocker and a problem.
- Even if you can pay the last 3 months contributions if the patient has already been confined it won’t be accepted.
- PhilHealth doesn’t allow backdating of contributions.
- Ex. Bastian was confined in August. I cannot pay the previous quarter (April, May, June) and even if I paid July, August, September it would not be available for use until October 1 (It can be considered on September 1 but this depends on the PhilHealth office in the hospital that you’re at.
In the end, we shelled out Php12,000 in total for PhilHealth coverage and miscellaneous items. Our total bill came to Php32,000 with Maxicare covering the Php20,000.
Since this happened, after Bastian was discharged and resting at home I made a trip to PhilHealth to start making voluntary contributions. Believe it or not, it was easier than I thought it would be. When I got to PhilHealth Quezon Ave at 9:15am the number being processed was C0063. I was C0096. A bit of a wait and my number got called at 9:55am but by 10:02am I was all done!
Tip: Come prepared with your forms. For Updating which is what I did changing from Employed to Voluntary I filled out 2 copies of the PMRF form and filled out with my current information. You can also update your address, dependents, phone number etc. When updating dependents bring original NSO birth certificates and make a copy of each just in case.
- Take a number for Updating (help desk and guard will assist)
- When called, present your forms
- Pay the corresponding fees (for Voluntary its Php600 per quarter)
- Return to the PhilHealth Officer attending to you and present receipt
- You’ll be given an MDR with your PHilHealth ID/Pin number and list of dependents. Make sure to keep this safe.
Caring for a loved one with Dengue Fever:
As I mentioned earlier, there is no cure for Dengue Fever. There are ways to help hasten and ensure recovery. I’ll share what we did. Since hydration is key I stocked up on bottles and bottles of water and Gatorade. I made Bastian drink every hour and after every urination. The nurses asked us to keep a record of his water intake, his urinating and bowel movements.
Bastian didn’t have much of an appetite but I tried to get him to eat as much as he could. My eldest will always have a special place in my heart and if I’m being honest I was soooo worried for him the entire time he was confined.
Since the room we were in had the weakest signal on earth (I’m exaggerating but yes the signal was so weak that there was only one specific spot in the room that provided a strong enough signal) Bastian and I spent the time talking, sleeping and watching Breaking Bad and The Lord of the Rings series. Despite the circumstances it was a time that I appreciated because we truly spent quality time together.
Friends recommended quail eggs and Tawa Tawa. We were able to get quail eggs and I forced him to eat it! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my hands on Tawa Tawa so I can’t confirm if this does actually help.
Hydrate hydrate hydrate would be my best advice.
When I got a fever roughly a week after Bastian was discharged a silly thought went into my head. Maybe I got Dengue fever, too. Turns out it wasn’t so silly after all. I had a very high fever from Tuesday to Wednesday. Thursday I was alright and even made that trip I mentioned to PhilHealth. On Friday I had another fever and what made me realize that I just might have dengue was the soreness of my eyes. Still I avoided going to the hospital and yes it was because my PhilHealth contribution had not reflected yet. The following Monday I noticed rashes on my legs. I decided to go ton the doctor then as I knew from Bastian’s experience that I might be at my lowest platelet count. Dengue confirmed! My platelets were at a low 74. Still, I went home. It was only the following day at my brother’s urging that I had myself confined. I was expecting to stay a few days but lo and behold I only needed to stay overnight. The dextrose was a big help and got my platelets up to 99.
Availing of FREE Dengue Vaccines
Like any mom, when your child gets sick you research. I found that there were FREE Dengue vaccines being provided. Luckily, I caught a Facebook friend’s post share on FREE Dengue vaccines at Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) so we all trooped on down there. The thing is only Kianna was able to get the free vaccine. Bastian had just come from having dengue and there needed to be at least a 1 month window from the time he had dengue to the time he would get a vaccination. I had been having an on again off again fever (yes, dengue fever!) so a vaccine was out of the question for me. Jael on the other hand was too young to get one. The age requirement was at least 9 years old. Still, it was worth the trip since Kianna got a vaccine and had 2 succeeding scheduled vaccines that were also free.
I’m watching out for another free session and will definitely share via Instagram and Facebook so you can also take advantage of FREE Dengue vaccines for you and your family.
Process of Dengue Vaccination at PCMC:
- Fill out the forms provided (vaccination center was at the lobby)
- Take a number/s for each who will get a vaccine
- Make sure to listen for the seating of your numbers as you will need to follow and move every few minutes as the process is pretty quick
Now more than ever I’ve become a stickler for health and safety at home and when my kids are out. I make sure to spray them with mosquito repellent. The kids like Moskishield for its scent. We’re all taking vitamins and Jael’s favorite is Scotts Gummies.
Definitely, the best way to avoid getting sick is prevention, a healthy diet and clean surroundings.