“On the 3rd day of Lunar New Year, her lymph nodes were swollen.”

“She said “Mummy my neck is painful.” I said, oh maybe 落枕 làozhěn (stiff neck). I was so ignorant, I said “I have stiff neck too, mummy also don’t sleep well.” So we both went to bed.”

“But the next day I felt she looked very listless and tired. Then I touched her and she said it was very painful. I asked how painful? I touched her lymph nodes and it was painful to the touch. And she had fever.”

“So I thought there was something wrong. Stiff neck is not like that. Something is wrong. The lymph nodes were swollen and she had fever.”

““Okay lah” I said quickly, “Cannot wait, let’s go see doctor.” So the doctor gave antibiotics, Augmentin. And of course paracetemol. Augmentin brought down the swelling very fast, it went down with 2 doses of Augmentin. But her fever did not go away.”

“So we continued with the paracetemol two or three times a day. The Augmentin was a 5 days course. However, though her lymph node swelling went down and stopped hurting, the fever continued and so did her lethargy. She was very lethargic. Then she started complaining of giddiness. I wondered why the fever would not go down.”

“So we went back to the doctor. That moment when I said “Let’s go back to the doctor I don’t think this is right,” she said she felt giddy and saw purple and yellow colours. How come will see colour one I said.”

“At first we thought maybe it was puberty because she is 12. But we’ve never heard of menses being like that. I mean when womens’ menses come we might feel a bit faint or have pregnancy-like symptoms. I thought this was all very unusual because my daughter is not normally like this.”

“So I told her since you are giddy, go brush your teeth, we’ll have breakfast and go to the doctor for a second visitation.”

“After she brushed her teeth, she came out of the bathroom bumping into things along the way – she probably lost her vision in a way. She fell but I caught her. It was almost like fits. She was very stiff. I told her “cannot faint cannot faint” and asked my mum to bring medicated oil. She regained her consciousness and asked what happened, where is this place mummy. But she could recognise me. She said “I see yellow. Why am I like this, what did I do?” I told her “You almost fainted. Can you walk? Cannot walk mummy carry you. We have to go down and see doctor.””

“We sat her down slowly and gained back composure. She drank hot water, vision came back everything stable. But she got a cut.”

“The doctor then suspected it was dengue, because after the lymph nodes swelling went down her fever persisted, something must be wrong. We went to check for dengue markers.”

“We went to the polyclinic for a blood test but the results were negative, all her stats were normal. We got the results within an hour. The doctor was glad it was not dengue. Luckily the markers for dengue were normal. But we felt strange about the persistent fever because she is already on Augmentin, a very strong antibiotic.”

“The doctor said, “The thing is, either you go hospital because the fever has persisted for 3 days (despite antibiotics) and it seems like you don’t have dengue – maybe drip her. Or allow me to give her another brand of antibiotic but only 2 days, to go together.” I asked if it’s too much but he said its fine.”

“The fever came down on Saturday. So I asked her if she can manage tuition. She went for tuition, everything else went already that day. But on Sunday morning, fever again!”

“I was worried – how come fever again? We can’t be eating medicine forever. I told her, okay tell you what today no tuition, no Chinese tuition. So she stayed at home and the whole day she was quite listless and tired . I made nourishing soup but she was still very tired. I asked “Tomorrow can you go to school or not? She said ok. So we started the week, Monday. But she started complaining about joint pain. Wait, joint pain is dengue symptom right? Aching right? She didn’t have it before. Before was fever, giddiness, headache, now joint pain is something new already. Wrist knuckle, ankle knee cap. Something’s not right.”

“When she reached school her teacher took her temperature and she almost failed the check but was allowed to go to class. She made it through the day. By now it has been almost 10 days.”

“At night she covered herself with blankets and we had the windows closed, but she still complained that she was cold. Fever. We went back to the doctor. She had a temperature of 38.1. The doctor asked, why is she still having a fever? In this case, I think cannot, we need to go, we need to ask your girl to go hospital. I said I thought that time blood test there was nothing. The doctor said she can go for further blood test. But we can’t do that here, you have to go to the A&E for advanced blood tests. I don’t know what the difference is.”

“So we went to the A&E. The doctors there were also thinking about dengue. I said we had checked for dengue, for so-called markers, last week. They said the test result was not valid anymore since it has been a week already.”

“The doctors made her lie down and examined her joints. Suddenly, we found a rash on her foot. We didn’t see it before. It made it more likely to be dengue – a rash, joint pain.”

“A paediatrician came and checked – everything was good. But the senior doctor said admission was warranted to do advanced blood tests. So we admitted her. Throat swabs were taken, urine tests, activated the bone specialist just to make sure her bones have no major problems , in case (the pain) was due to growths or something.”

“In the end we stayed for 2 nights. Everything was okay, all her tests passed, so peace of mind. After that, nothing happened. So that’s it.”

“But the thing is… there is still some joint problem. So I’ve been thinking… is it a problem with her joints? She still has aches here and there. And during the stay in the hospital, the doctor did say that sometimes that can be due to inflammation. So he gave her anti-inflammation medication. While she was in the hospital, she recovered. While she was there she was not on any antibiotics.”

“I did hear that there was a case of Dengue at Dairy Farm.”

“She lost about 5 days at school. But the whole course of the illness was about 10 days. Which spontaneously resolved while she was in the hospital.”

“She also had conjunctivitis – when we revisited the doctor before referral to hospital we found that she had pinkeye. During those days when she had pinkeye she had been very listless. My mother asked her “Why are you always so tired after you come back from school?” The eyewash we gave her for pinkeye would relieve the redness temporarily but she would complain of pain but not itchiness. So this was inflammation as well.”

“The doctors said it could have been dengue but blood tests showed nothing. And since the fever has gone away, that meant she has stabilised.”

“She still has a bit of joint pain but not like before when it was 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, now its like 2 out of 10.”