I wrote this as an ode to someone who helped me when I had dengue. He requested me not to divulge his name so I’ll just refer to him as Angel.
My family has been touched by dengue twice, first me, and my brother in law second. And that for me is twice too many.
I had dengue when I was pregnant. It was my 1st trimester so the risk was high. I remember being sick and weak for a week. We didn’t even know it was dengue at first. We thought I just had the flu. I stayed home, bed ridden, had no appetite and was crazy dizzy all the time. I was prescribed antibiotics by my OB, who assured me that it was safe for the baby. But after I finished the round of antibiotics, I was still sick. My fever was on and off. And I was still really weak which I normally wasn’t, even when I was pregnant. My OB decided it’s time to take a blood test. I even asked if I can do it in the morning, but my OB said she would be more comfortable if I had it immediately, in the middle of the night. So my husband rushed me to the hospital and the tests were done.
THE HOSPITAL CONFINEMENT
Then the result came. My platelets has drop to 70,000. Normal platelet range is 150,000 – 400,000/cubic mm. I was confined immediately. The next day, it dropped to 40,000. My husband had a worried look in his face all the time but tried to hide it. I only wanted to eat banana. My OB was worried. My good friend Winnielyn was checking on me all the time. She was even bringing food to the hospital for my brother and husband. (how thoughtful!) my OB called in another doctor the help, a dengue specialist. We talked about my case, he said he wants to be very careful coz I’m pregnant, but there is no need to panic coz I’m not bleeding anywhere. He also told me that he is not planning blood transfusion yet coz he thinks I don’t need it. There are some docs who would consider it when reaching a certain level, but I’m glad he is more open minded. He is more concerned with the negative effect blood transfusion would have on my baby.
I hated needles! They were drawing my blood 2 times a day. My arms were black and blue from all the needle pricks. They ran out of veins to draw blood on so they started drawing from the back of my hand. The only good thing that came from having my blood drawn so many times I lost my fear of them! Well…. almost…haha! I was hooked to an IV with meds but my platelet was still dropping. My platelet record low was 27,000. They were all getting worried. I was worried more for my baby.
Then a CURE came.
I think what saved me; aside from my doctors, science and prayers was a SOUP COOKED BY AN ANGEL. A friend of a friend. He cooked soup for me. And I didn’t even get to meet the person. We just communicated via cell phone. My friend gave my husband the cell number to call. He was asked questions like when I started having fever, what was my platelet count and was scolded a little when the Angel found out I was pregnant saying “Why did you just contact me now!?” He was given the instruction to have someone bring a thermos immediately to an address and get the soup, and have me drink all of it.
The soup was like a broth. Whitish in color. It wasn’t tawa-tawa as some thought. I later found out that Angel cooks the soup for dengue patients —anyone who calls, anytime, free of charge.
Normally one doze of the soup is enough to make the patient better. Some require 2 dozes. I drank it twice. The taste is not unpleasant, but it’s bland. And when you’re sick, it’s harder to swallow.
He does this as an act of charity. After some prying, Angel told me that they are not that rich, that a lot of times he has to buy the ingredients even when he is short on money coz he can’t find the heart to deny moms crying over the phone asking for help to save their kids. He finds ways to always have a batch in his freezer should anyone calls in the middle of the night. He told me if he sold the medicine he would surely be rich by now since he has been cooking the soup for 8 years. But he chooses not to, to give thanks to the person who taught him the recipe — because at one time, he was that parent, the worried one, when his eldest had dengue. And someone’s granddaughter called him up to tell him what to do, how to cook the soup, but the creepy side of the story is the grandma who gave the instructions has already passed away. He followed the instruction, fed his son the soup and his boy got well. At first he only gave it to family and close friends. Then word spread like wildfire and people he from all walks of life started calling him asking for the soup. And he made it for all of them, saving someone’s child, sibling or parent one doze at a time.
THE ONE THAT SLIPPED AWAY
One story that he told me he can’t forget was about a mom of 2 daughters, both had dengue at the same time. The mom called him up asking for the soup and he obliged. Sadly the doctor didn’t want the mom to give the soup to her daughters. So she just kept the soup in the ref. Her eldest died. She then took the soup and gave it to her younger daughter. And she got well. Though grieving for the loss of a daughter, the mom was thankful her other daughter survived.
One time, he even gave his soup to the daughter of DOST Secretary Mario Montejo. That was the only time he gave someone 3 dozes of the soup. And Sec. Montejo thanked him by treating Angel’s whole family to Subic Tree Top which the Secretary owns.
I also learned by some more prying that some patients who got well insisted on making donations to sponsor future patients. The soup that was given to my brother in law was given by the patient before us who also requested to be kept anonymous. And the chain of anonymity is kept Angel never ever told us this when he gave the soup for me when I was pregnant. We asked how can we help but he just tells us to get well. Once he knows that you’re platelet is up and are going to be discharged from the hospital, he just disappears. He doesn’t text or call just make you feel that you owe him or anything. His mission with you is done.
Before I wrote this article, I asked Angel permission to do so, coz I wanted to thank him in some way. He actually hesitated. He told me: “People don’t have to know what I do to help others. But I can’t stop making the soup coz for a parents to watch their kids die because of a miniscule insect bite is too painful to swallow ” But upon hearing these stories, I encouraged him to let me write this. I told him, it’s just a personal blog. The people I reach are just limited and this story is too beautiful not to share. Up to this day he still remains anonymous to the general public. No publicity stunt, no news has reached him. And he prefers it that way. He likes helping anonymously. He says it might just be the secret to his cure. The benevolence of it, maybe it is.