“I had dengue when I was in my early twenties, just after army. So it was 1997.”

“I was at home. I was staying with my parents in Lorong Lew Lian, Upper Serangoon area. We didn’t know there was dengue there until I got it. It happened because, if I recall correctly, there was a construction site behind it. They were leveling state land and I had that dengue during that period of time. I estimate a few months just after finishing national service (in the army).”

“I was in the middle of my audio engineering course. So I did come home every night. My room was facing some trees. I noticed numerous mosquito bites, more than 10 over a few nights. Then I put some mosquito coils in place – the traditional mosquito coil coupled with bug spray. But by the time I did that it was too late.”

“Within the week I had fever that didn’t come down, and I felt very nauseous, miserable is the word. Then went for blood test and realized that the platelet count was low – less than 20. I was warded for one night for observation where they had to give me a drip. Since I was a young man I was maybe more resilient, but still the sense of being miserable lasted for about 10 days. Waiting for the body to fight, it was about 10 days of hell.”

“I went to the hospital almost like the next day, or over the next two days after the fever started. My mum brought me in because the fever didn’t come down and the aches were maybe weird to her. And she just told me, let’s go. We went to A&E actually, not the regular GP.”

“I think I was amongst a few of the ongoing cases that happened then. They just said, oh okay Serangoon, (that’s a) Red Zone, we think its dengue. I don’t know if they did any testing for dengue – maybe they did, but they didn’t tell me, I was just miserable then. They drew a few vials of blood, I stayed for the night, and then they said, do you want to stay some more? I said no thank you so I went home.”

“I wasn’t in critical condition. My temperature was reduced from near 40 to 38+. I was clear of mind, I was functioning, so they let me go home. But the sense of nausea was quite strong.”

“They said to come back if fever goes up above 39 again, if my sense of well being dropped over the next few days please come back and look for us again. That’s what they said. It wasn’t like specific. If I feel worse, come back.”

“Came home, change of diet to nothing fried, nothing spicy, until I got better.”

“The fever went on for a week.”

“Before I realized it was dengue, I suspected it was regular flu. Flu with a different kind of ache. I recall that the steps I took were slower – I just didn’t want to function. And it’s a different sense of dread when you’re having dengue as compared to regular flu. Like there’s a weight on the chest . It feels like it takes more effort to just exist.”

“For me, I had muscle aches. Very like, I don’t know how else to describe it – sickening pain. It’s a different kind of ache, different from regular flu. I never felt it before. It was very nauseating. There was weight loss – I wasn’t fat then, my BMI probably about 24, yet I lost about 5-6 kilos, over 10 days, because I had no appetite. It could be water loss, or it could be just not eating you know.”

“Did we employ further anti mosquito measures? Yes we had to. We were all freaking out. So every room had mosquito coils, lemongrass , citronella oil, and the electric bug zapper thing. We continued that for about a month.”

“We weaned off the coils which were getting smokey and then we weaned off the citronella oils later, when the mosquito bites still didn’t come anymore. But during that period for about a week during my dengue they were doing aggressive fogging. They fogged the (construction) site, they fogged the open drains behind. The town council came by and they fogged up the place – every alternate day for a week.”

“We felt safer.”

“If I could take a dengue vaccine, would I take it? Yes. Yes. I would still take it even if there is a small risk of getting a worse version of dengue. Dengue is an ongoing risk in Singapore. Regardless of age and time period. As you grow older, your body will be able to take on less and less of this suffering. So I would definitely want to take the vaccine.”

“But I would probably read into the pharmaceutical literature to see if they are covering the more common strains that are in this region. If they are covering a strain that’s outside of this region then no point. It has to be localized.”

“I would also give my kids the dengue vaccine. I vaccinate my kids for anything I know that is vaccinable in Singapore.”

“Any measures to especially take care of mosquitoes now? I will probably check for stagnant water at least and I’ll open all windows to test drive the environment to see if there’s mosquitoes coming in. Typically there are none in the environments I go to. If there are I’ll start off with citronella oils first and probably a mosquito net if needed. But that’s as far as I’ll go now.”

“Once you’re cured, happy-go-lucky again, don’t care.”