Friday, July 20, 2018

Leptospirosis took a freshman's life

By Karen Galarpe

More than 20 years ago, I found myself walking with someone toward a yard with a huge tree somewhere in a barangay near the yet-to-be developed Bonifacio Global City. It was a cloudy afternoon, and the skies, with its dark clouds soon to bring rain, seemed to be mourning.

Outside a simple house were a few chairs, and we were met by a woman with a sad look on her face. She was the mother of the young girl in a coffin inside the house.

Entering the house, she gestured toward the simple white coffin, and "introduced" us to the young girl. "Anak ko," she said.

We barely said a word, and proceeded to view the body. She was a lovely girl, so young and full of promise.

Her mother then bade us to sit, then told us about her.

She was a freshman at Centro Escolar University in Manila studying dentistry. One day it rained so hard, and she had no choice but wade through calf-deep floodwaters somewhere on her way home from Mendiola to Fort Bonifacio.

Then she became ill with fever and malaise. "Akala namin, trangkaso lang," the mother said. But the young woman got worse as the days went on, complaining of headache and body ache. Then she turned yellow.

They brought her to a doctor but by then the leptospirosis had already caused kidney failure. She died a few days after.

We didn't know what to say. What made it worse was that only after the girl died did my companion find out that she was his sister from a different mother.

This is a true story. It's what made me want to reach out to my own brother from a different mother.

Leptospirosis can strike innocent youth as well as otherwise healthy adults. This rainy season, please do take the necessary precautions and avoid wading through floodwaters.

And reach out to your family. Before it's too late.

READ: Even simple skin abrasion can lead to leptospirosis --doctor

READ: Infographic: What is leptospirosis?

BOOK OF THE WEEK: I am currently finishing the Left Behind: The Kids series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye with Chris Fabry after I was able to order the books missing from our collection. Yes, I read young adult fiction. :) The Kids series is the young adult version of the Left Behind series. It's Christian fiction that's hard to put down.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1