A slight, barely noticeable fever lasted for days. My sister began to worry. Her son is barely a year old. But her hesitation forced my mother to intervene. On a cloudy Sunday a week ago, the couple had to bring baby Diego to a medical clinic. My mother's instruction.
Within the day, the blood test results came in. Doctors ordered immediate confinement. The baby's blood platelet count dropped below 100. Possible cause: Dengue Fever. I was at work when the news broke out. Coming from a crisis after our network had been hacked, the family emergency had me telling the boss that I would go half-day. Understanding my situation since he too had gone through such ordeal with his son, he let me go.
Grim images ran through my head as the taxi sped to Manila Doctors. Where did the mosquito come from? What about the dozen kids who live in our compound? Was it the dirty driveway? Was it because of my plants? Between the empty streets and cluttered thoughts, I didn't notice that I was already approaching the Emergency Room. There, inside the Pedia quarters, screams of a baby boy can be heard. A huge needle had pierced through his underfoot for the intravenous fluid to flow. His body temperature shot to 40 degrees an hour before I came in.
"Kuya pupunta ka ba dito?" I read the message on my phone. "Nawiwindang na ako."
I was doing my report but the thought of Baby Diego, smiling, showing off his tongue, leaping from one side of the bed to the edges of the mattress kept me from accomplishing anything. I was beset with gloom.
On the phone, my mom tried to down play the situation, but you can sense her alarm by the sound of her voice. Knowing what's need to be done, I was already on my way when she asked for assistance. "They might need a down payment before admission." I thought. And knowing it will take ages before the matriarch can prepare, (she looks after Baby Lenin) my timely arrival eased the young couples' trouble.
The Favorite Aunt soon followed to make sure the patient is well attended. Being the only doctor in the family (and a caring relative who's always been there every time there is a medical emergency) her presence had wiped away every fear clung to my skin.
"Hindi ko na pinapunta si Ate para hindi na siya mahirapan." She was referring to my mom. I saw her gently touching Baby Diego's forehead before a hunky nurse told us that the semi-private ward is ready for occupancy.
My nephew showed signs of improvement soon after we moved in. He began to smile again, crawl across the bed, stick his tongue out and even mimic the baby sounds we did. It felt like he had no illness at all. Our best guess was that he regained his strength after being re-hydrated.
The Favorite Aunt left at the same time provisions from home began arriving. After carting the bags and baby stuff from the lobby to the room upstairs, I told my sister that I'd be leaving as well. I have work at six the next morning, and our mother was eagerly awaiting news.
"Get well soon," I kissed my nephew goodbye. He smiled at me.
That night, my sister sent a text message.
"Please pray for Baby Diego," the message read. "Mataas ulit ang lagnat niya."