Friday, October 23, 2015

Dengue Woman Blues
By Michael

Windy's 45th birthday cake, October 14 in Pago Pago.
About all I could do was hold this camera. Frances made
the cake. 24 hours after this shot, Frances was down.
Any sickness with the word Fever in the name sounds especially ominous to my ear. Scarlet Fever, Cat Scratch Fever, Fever Seizures, and…Dengue Fever.

We got the latter. It was bound to happen. We were warned in Mexico. There were warning signs up everywhere in French Polynesia. We saw them when we arrived in Pago Pago, America Samoa.

I was wiped out for days—prostrate is the medical term. My brain didn’t want to function. The muscles in my legs and around my eyes ached so badly that sleep was difficult.

Then Frances got it. Her case was textbook—all of my symptoms plus a rash over her entire body. She got the fever, had 24 hours of remission, then descended back into it. Windy checked off all the diagnostic boxes in the Merck Manual we keep aboard.

“She’s definitely got Dengue.”

“Do we take her in?”

“There really isn’t anything they can do for her unless it turns into a hemorrhagic fever, then we have to get her in immediately.”

“How will we know?”

“Any bleeding or bruising.”

We watched Frances for a couple anxious days. We put off our departure to Tonga. Today is the day Windy finally gave her a clean bill of health, and Frances is finally ashore hunting frogs (no, not in the killing them sense) like she’s been pining to do.

The good thing about acquiring a tropical, mosquito-borne illness in a place where they are common, is that the local medical infrastructure is totally prepared for dealing with it. Had Frances deteriorated and acquired the hemorrhagic fever version that can present in Dengue patients, we’d have been in a good place to seek care.

So how was your week? Still eager to go cruising in the tropics?

I want to make light of it. We are so lucky health-wise. We’re all well and we rarely get sick. Above all else, our good health is the reason we are able to choose and pursue this cruising life. We do not take it for granted.


Michael at Ditching Suburbia sent this to us when he heard we were under the weather, perfect. This is Stevie Ray's brother, by the way.


  1. Happy belated birthday to Windy, and hope you both recovered well! No dengue fever risk here in Idaho, where the Bliss crew is currently with her RV Betsy, but cold nights!

  2. HBD to Windy! So glad you are all rebounding! Stay well.

  3. Yikes! So glad you are all ok. We looked up dengue risk in Tonga and it appears to be pretty nil. Cyclones however another story..... And happy birthday Windy!!!

  4. Sounds horrible. Funny I was down and out today with a stomach bug, can't imagine our kids getting it. Just one of those things with sailing. Glad you all are doing better.


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