Being sick in paradise truly feels like hell.
I came back to visit my beloved Dominican Republic. I was flooded with happy memories, surrounded by lush green hills, and a magnificent turquoise ocean, when towards the end of my trip I began to feel dizzy and weak. Although I was familiar with that feeling, initially I denied it, but the escalation of symptoms pointed to the same nasty suspect I already met a few years earlier.
The Dengue Fever knocked me down for the 2nd time, and while I thought I knew what to expect, I didn’t know that the 2nd time is known to be worse and more dangerous.
I was lying in a hotel room bed in Las-Terrenas and felt so miserable. I definitely couldn’t tell where I got it, and which one of the thousand mosquitoes who bit me injected that obnoxious virus into my veins. I was shaking and shivering, and freezing as if I was standing naked on top of a glacier.
I covered myself with any extra sheet and shirt I could find. Bearing in mind it all took place in the tropics, I definitely looked quite ridiculous. Then I began sweating like hell. Soon, the bed looked as if I poured an entire bucket of water into it. The volatility in both temperature and feeling persisted for a few days, after which I managed to arrive to the airport to board the worst flight of my life. When I arrived home in Israel, I told my girlfriend that I feel better and that the worst high fever part is behind me. She thought I looked pale and insisted that we go to the clinic for a general examination. After a few questions and a blood test, I was sure they would send me back home to rest, but then the speaker called my name : “Mr. Hirsh! Please come urgently to room number…”. The Dr. told me that my platelets count is extremely low and that she is sending me to the hospital with an ambulance. “Are you kidding?” I asked her. “I feel much better now. Why being so dramatic with an ambulance? I’m fine.”
“No, I’m not kidding, you are in a serious life threatening situation and that’s why I called the ambulance. We are mostly concerned with the risk of internal bleeding that is specifically associated with the 2nd time of Dengue.” So after 3 weeks away from my woman and son, instead of hugging them at home, I found myself hospitalized for 3 days. Other than watching me closely and sending me to any possible examination, they did not give me any special Dengue treatment in the hospital, because there is none. However, I did gain my 15 minutes of fame. I received the honor of being diagnosed by the internationally renowned Professor of Tropical diseases, and I became the most popular patient of the internal medicine department, a bit like a rare monkey in the zoo. I was visited frequently, night and day, by Israeli medicine students, who never encountered Dengue before, and were encouraged to come and see what real Dengue symptoms look like. They asked me time and again: “Can you please show us the red spots and the ‘white islands’ on your skin?” Some even politely asked if they can take pictures. When I finally got back home, I was full of Dengue inspiration. The fever triggered some crazy dreams and I felt like I’m in a “forced pause” of my normal ‘Lovy Dovy’ life with my girlfriend and son. Obviously I grabbed the opportunity, named myself DNG II and painted some of those visions and dreams. DNG II had a short career and produced only 9 works, however I find some of these works to be very powerful because of the intense unusual experience which inspired me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pleasure seeker, however, challenging times and pain are excellent raw materials for my work.