Chris and Cheryl (and their family) are serving in the Dominican Republic for the summer.
Hi again from the north shore of the Dominican Republic. This week has been very different from the rest of our time here this far. Our daughter Jacolyn kept having a fever and was feeling continually worse over the week end after our last update. On Sunday night her fever was going very high (104 F) and the only way we could keep it in control was to give her Tylenol every 4 hours and we had to force her to take a shower to cool her down at one point. Monday morning I (Chris) went to the village to teach my class. At 10:30 in the morning Cheryl called me and told me that Jacolyn was still having high fevers and was starting to feel really bad. At noon We took Jacolyn to the emergency room at the Hospital in Cabarete where they gave her a quick wipe down to cool her off and put her on IV to rehydrate her. After doing some blood tests and checking her over they diagnosed her with Dengue Fever which is a virus that is spread by mosquito bites. She also still had an ear infection.
Some of the symptoms that accompany Dengue are high fever, severe head aches, severe arthritis type pain in the joints and over all lack of energy. With Dengue there is also usually a drop in white blood cells and platelets in the blood. In severe cases if left untreated the white cell count drops low enough to get to the point where you start bleeding internally. While we were there they had another young child that had come in with dangerously low levels and we found out that they nearly lost him.
Cheryl and I spent our week this week trading off with staying with Jacolyn at the hospital. Cheryl took the day shift and I took the nights. Needless to say the classes that I was going to teach this week were cancelled.
On Tuesday morning the doctor came in and told me that Jacolyn's white cell and Platelet counts were still going down but they thought she was going to start to improve soon. Wednesday morning they took another blood test and found that her white blood cells were starting to go up a bit but her platelet levels were still dropping. Her fever was gone now but she was getting a rash and her hands and feet were starting to get itchy. The doctor told us that the rash and the itching were likely a good sign as this frequently happens close to the end stages of the virus. In the afternoon they took Jacolyn for a chest X-ray to check for fluid in her lungs because she had been on IV and in bed for a couple of days. They also did an ultra sound to check her liver as one of the things that can happen with Dengue Fever is that the patient can develop what is referred to as Reactive Hepatitis which is a liver condition that clears up after a couple of months. Jacolyn's lungs were clear but the ultra sound did indicate that her liver was some what compromised. They also told us though that Jacolyn would have to stay in the hospital until her Platelet level started to go back up again.
On Thursday morning after doing another blood test the doctor told us that not only had her platelet level started to come back up again, it was back in the normal range. They told Jacolyn that she would be discharged from the hospital but she had to stay at the house to recuperate for the next week. She needs to go in every day for three days to get an antibiotic injection and on the fourth day she needs to go in for a follow up blood test and another ultra sound to check her liver. She was told that she needs to stay away from greasy or deep fried foods for two months now to give her liver a chance to recover properly.
We were also told that we needed to be extra careful now when Jacolyn goes up to the village. She needs to wear long pants and use bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away as another bout of Dengue right now could get very serious very quickly.
Thank you to all who prayed for us as we went through this very difficult week. God is good, Jacolyn is getting better and is out of the hospital. Please continue to pray for complete healing and for protection from any further illness or infection for Jacolyn and the rest of the family.
Thank you and God Bless
Chris, Cheryl, Jacolyn and Jennifer Peters