Mosquitos, West Nile Virus, and the crap that followed - Defender Source
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Old October 4th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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Chris Davis
94 NAS D90 6.2LS
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Mosquitos, West Nile Virus, and the crap that followed

When in mosquito country, believe me, deet is your friend. But I was in my back yard in Boulder Colorado and I never thought I was much at risk. I got a bit on my head and a week later was feeling sort of flu like and my wife noticed a rash on my head...

The second trip to the emergency room they did a spinal tap and noticed a bunch of white blood cells--typically indicative of meningitis. Next thing I know, I am admitted to the hospital. I am a fit guy, 44 years old, avid outdoorsman and mountain biker so I went in with pretty decent physical strength...

I got hit with West Nile Virus (WNV), Meningitis, and pneumonia--the WNV caused the meningitis and I probably had a walking pneumonia previously undetected they believe. The meningitis was so severe that I almost died and my brain needed proteins so bad that it cannibalized all my muscle. The WNV also attacked my respiratory system and paralyzed my diaphram as well as damaged my left arm and leg. I spent over 2 weeks in the ICU with breathing and feeding tubes down my throat and 5 bags dripping into my IV. I spent a month in the hospital and became so weak that I had to relearn to walk and move. I am out now, at home, and can move on my own, but am so weak that the road to recovery is going to take a long time. My diaphragm, which controls most of your breathing, is still paralyzed with no activity on the left side and only minimal firing on the right--any time I lay down, I need a breathing machine and I can't sleep or nap without one. All my breathing comes from my upper chest/neck area and it ain't much. I can't exercise.

I may one day get some of my diaphragm back--if my body can build new neuro paths which is not unheard of. lots of time will tell. I can't even change oil on my trucks anymore, but sure hope to be able to wrench again, as well as be able to walk uphill. Little steps.

1 mosquito bite. That is all I had. There are reported cases all over the nation, although this severe is rather rare. People do die of it every year--I was close and would have been considered rather young to die.

I am one of you folks--and lucky I was fit enough that my body protected my brain. I am stoked to be around, and have an amazing friend and family network that fed me emotional strength that really kept me going--I will continue to live life to my fullest potential. I tell this story only to warn of the danger that mosquitos can present and for those of you venturing into mosquito realms with family and friends, do consider using deet or something just as effective!!! Just as important, don't take this life for granted--love your friends and family to the fullest. Peace to you all!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:03 PM
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Neill Thornton
1984 D90 300 Tdi / 1965 Series IIA
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I was just listening to NPR a few days ago and they were talking to a team of researchers that had unlocked what makes DEET so effective against mosquitoes. Ever since the military developed it in the 40s no one really knew what made it work.

Now they have unlocked the genes and antennae receptors that go along with them, and are working on much less toxic (ever get DEET on your sunglasses?) repellents that may be even more effective.

Glad to hear you pulled through, and as long as you keep taking little steps and don't give up, each day is better than the last....
"It doesn't swoop, curve, or look like it's going fast when it's parked. It never looks like it's going fast. It doesn't go fast." - Richard Hammond, BBC Top Gear

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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Chris, so glad to hear that you are on the mend. That is some frightening stuff. Keep up the good spirits and all will be OK. You will definitely be on my families prayer list. You are so right when you say to not take anything for granted. God bless buddy.

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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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mark kellgren
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Damn. Good luck with your recovery! The US military considers the combination of permethrin (treated clothing) and DEET (on exposed skin) the most effective treatment. It's what I go by and is very effective.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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Thanks for sharing Chris. Wow, this hits close to home as i prepare for a trip to Tanzania at the end of this month to hike Kilimanjaro. May you always continue to find the strength to carry on.


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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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Sorry to hear about this. Concerning your recovery, ask your doctor's about using an ESTIM. My brother also got sick and had to deal with some of the same things you are, diaphragm and limbs. The ESTIM has helped him rebuild neuro paths and regain strength in both of these areas. Best of luck in your recovery
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Old October 4th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Bill Larson
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That is incredible Chris...strength of mind and body. I hope you have a full and quick recovery and will keep you in thought! If you need anything reach out!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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Keith Armstrong
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Crap-a-roni! Sorry to hear that, but Really Glad you're okay now.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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That's insane Chris - hoping for a complete and speedy recovery for you for sure. Were you in the hospital last weekend when we were texting about Mallory stuff? They thought originally I had WNV back in the late 90's when I was admitted to the hospital, but they ended up just saying it was likely a form of Campylobacter - was in the hospital for over a month and missed almost an entire semester of school.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 03:14 PM
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Ian Gregory
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Keep your chin up Chris a positive attitude such as yours is one of the best things you can have. Hope you get better soon.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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jim pendleton
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Glad to hear things are getting better for you Chris. Had no idea this had happened to you. We have had family members younger and older then yourself go through the same type sickness here in Kansas. Am pretty sure I had a small brush with the West Nile 3 years ago myself. Pretty scary to consider the damage it can do so quickly.

The brain eating amoeba in our state lakes is another serious thing to look out for as well.

Hope your recovery goes well.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 05:55 PM
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Don Bunnell
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Holy shit! Hope your road to recovery is a short one. Being a Rover owner and mtn biker you have got to be tough so I am sure that's why it didn't take you permanently out.

Sending healing vibes!
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Old October 4th, 2013, 09:23 PM
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Wow, that is absolutely crazy. I am glad you are pulling through with a supportive family by your side. Ive taken for granted West Nile (Dad got it in his early 70s and brushed it off) thinking only the extremely young or old should be wary of it, yet here you are. I've been fighting lyme disease this last year and the wife, medical type, has been on my case constantly to use Deet when outdoors. Guess this is a good reminder to all. I will be praying for your full recovery and I still have the headliner if you want it for when you are back on your feet, as trivial as that sounds right now.
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