“Why do you avoid swimming pools?”
From time to time, people ask us why we don’t allow our daughter Sophia to dip in swimming pools. Some said “Kawawa naman ang anak mo, hindi makapaligo sa pool!” We let some grins and sardonic remarks passed by. The reason is simple: the last time she swam in a pool, it endangered her life. She didn’t drown, but she got something that resulted her 2-weeks hospitalization and she almost died.
It was the last week of April 2017 when Sophia complained that she was not feeling well. She had high fever, at least 38.5 C with bad cough. We thought it was just flu or asthma attack, but when we saw rashes on her tummy, we immediately brought her to the doctor’s clinic.
DAY 1- Dengue?
Initial diagnosis was Dengue fever. After consultation, her pediatrician ordered for Sophia’s hospital confinement. We were so worried because her condition worsened after few hours. She couldn’t swallow foods. Even drinking was painful for her. At the back of my mind, I know it was not Dengue.
Then the doctor told us to backtrack her activities for the past week. We remembered that she swam in a public swimming pool in Laguna during a family outing. The pool was crowded because it was Black Saturday. The doctor was pretty sure that Sophia got sicked due to that.
Day 2- Painful Blood Extractions
The screaming during blood extractions was hard to watch. Sophia said the pain was excruciating that she didn’t want another nurse to come inside the room. Sadly, blood extraction should be done every 6 hours.
Her dengue test result was negative. I thought it was a relief, but believe me, it was more horrible to not know what virus or sickness your child has. Her doctor was trying to figure out if it was typhoid fever, measles or scarlet fever, etc.
Day 3- Worsening Condition
Sophia was not eating anymore. She couldn’t move her arms and limbs which were aching. The appearance of her rashes changed again. Doctors were giving her medicines but her fever kept on reaching 40C. I could clearly remember the instruction about her medicine, “don’t expose it to light”. In short, ‘yung dextrose niya nakabalot sa black na plastic hanggang dulo. Hindi pwedeng mailawan. This could really tell it was not a typical medicine.
Day 4- Worst
Her pediatrician-pulmonologist was very worried because she could see Sophia’s condition was worsening. She sought help from an Infectious disease specialist and a hematologist. That afternoon, Sophia underwent several tests again.
Day 5- Kawasaki Disease?
Three doctors came in to our room. They explained that Sophia was not responding well to medicines. And then, they mentioned something I never heard before, KAWASAKI DISEASE. What the heck is that, I thought that time. They said Sophia was exhibiting 4 symptoms of the disease such as strawberry tongue, high fever, rashes and painful joints. The medication of Kawasaki disease was rare and expensive, they added.
That night, we decided to transfer Sophia to another hospital.
After several days, her new doctor who was a pedia cardiologist said Sophia was getting better without the Kawasaki medication. It might still be Kawasaki or ADENOVIRUS. But one thing is for sure, Sophia got the disease in the public swimming pool during Holy Week.
Since then, her pedia and other doctors advised Sophia to refrain from swimming in public pool or spring until she reaches the age of 7.
Even though Sophia is already 7 years old, we’re not still allowing her to dip in swimming pools. Every time I see swimming pool, I remember Sophia’s rashes. Although some parents might raise eyebrows whenever I turn down pool party invitation, we hope they’ll understand that we just don’t want THOSE GRUELING AND TERRIBLE DAYS to happen again, those days we almost lost a battle.