Dear mission partners, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I write this I am sitting in a hospital room. Some of you who follow us on Facebook may have seen the updates we have shared about our son Antonio (Nito). Seven days ago he began having a high fever. There are a few viruses going around and the emergency rooms are full around here with many sick. But his fever was very high consistently around 103-104 degrees. We took him a couple of times to a few hospitals which were all full as well. We ended up taking him back home each time and treating him as we usually do. But this fever was relentless and we began to worry. We finally got him into a hospital and they began treating him for dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness.
He has been in the hospital now since Wednesday and the bloodwork showed his platelet levels dropping significantly each day. We have been through this before with Christen getting dengue when we lived in Esperanza pretty bad. She had a fever for eleven days during that bout. Maya had dengue a few months back but was able to bounce back fairly quickly. But there are four different strains of dengue. Two of them that basically cause fever and some mild symptoms, but can easily be treated at home with fluids and electrolytes and Tylenol to keep the fever under control and prevent dehydration. The problem is you don’t know which one you may have and it can get bad quickly you get dehydrated and it can wreak havoc on your organs.
The other two strains are much more aggressive. Nito got hit pretty hard by one of those with symptoms that went beyond what we were used to with the cases of dengue Christen and Maya had. His fever would not let up, his eyes began to swell, he got dehydrated, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and a lot of abdominal pain with a rash similar to what we have experienced with chikungunya. He also got very pale. But we were opimistic and happy to have him receiving fluids and in a decent hospital. The plans were for Christen to spend the night with him and for us to switch in the morning.
We prayed over him as a family and then I headed home with the kids. It was shortly after that I received a call from Christen who clearly sounded worried and upset after asking the doctor several questions. She put the doctor on the phone who told me that he was actually in the critical stage of dengue and it was considered serious and had the potential to get very bad. Christen was nervous and asked me to come back right away so we both stayed here through the night with him. What concerned us quite a bit was the bradycardia which is a slower heartbeat than normal. It is still a little slow in the ’40s even when he is awake. The cardiologist said it could last up to two weeks but that it should return to normal after that. But thankfully his blood pressure remained stable which was a very good thing.
We just prayed that he would not get to the point where he would begin to hemorrhage. That is when it kills people. There is a dengue epidemic right now, even here in the city. A little six-year-old girl died just yesterday from dengue. We are thankful that there were hundreds of people praying for him. A missionary in Indonesia (Trevor Christian Johnson) who is very knowledgeable and experienced with tropical diseases took the time to talk with us and encourage us, and let us know that he was praying for our son, as did a pastor friend who is a doctor here and an uncle back home who is a nurse. Several brothers and sisters messaged us and people from the church here have visited him all day long. We are blessed and very thankful for how God’s people respond like this in prayer and support.
By God’s grace Tonito seems to be doing a little better. He isn’t completely out of the danger zone yet, but hopefully, tomorrow his platelets will continue rising, and he will continue improving. Pray that the nausea he is experiencing goes away and that he will start eating soon and drinking fluids to get his strength back. He was dizzy and weak just getting up for a shower this afternoon. We still don’t know when he will get out of the hospital, but hopefully, it will be soon. The doctor also said that we shouldn’t be surprised or worried if he seemed tired and sluggish for a little while until his heart gets back to normal. A secondary concern we have is that since he is still being treated, we don’t know what the hospital bills will be like yet. So any help towards that would certainly be needed and very helpful.
Thank you to everyone who prayed, reached out to us in a message, phone calls and even those who offered to help us get him home if necessary. It was very encouraging for our entire family. Those expressions of love and concern bless us in such ways that make it difficult to put our thankfulness into words. Please continue to pray for Nito and for our family. God bless.
Antonio and Christen Salgado and family