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Story Archives: Assistant DA recovers from West Nile
|Assistant DA recovers from West Nile|
Concordia Parish Assistant District Attorney David Opperman said the West Nile Fever made him so ill that he was confined to his bed more than a week.
"It's no fun," Opperman, 50, said this week. "You don't want it."
Opperman said he was diagnosed with West Nile in St. Francisville on Tuesday, Aug. 28, just a day before Hurricane Isaac made landfall at New Orleans.
"The Friday before I was diagnosed I had been with a friend at another lawyer's office in New Orleans," he said. "I felt a headache coming on and by the time we left, my head was pounding. I thought it was because I hadn't eaten."
When he awoke at home in St. Francisville on Saturday morning, he said he "wasn't feeling well. Our dogs had infested our house with fleas and we had flea-bombed the house and I just thought I had breathed in some of the insecticide and that it would go away."
By early afternoon, he was working in the yard but feeling so dizzy that he told his wife he thought at one point he might pass out.
"I just kept thinking it would pass and when I went to the barn to get some string for the trimmer I sat down and fell asleep," he said. When he awoke, "I had fever over 100 and the chills. I had dizziness, a headache, my muscles ached. Even my toes hurt. Every joint in my body hurt and my head pounded so hard that I could feel blood pulsing in my temple."
He said his wife, Jane, made an appointment for him with a doctor on Monday, Aug. 27.
"I had felt so bad that whole weekend and had so little energy that I just threw on some shorts and a shirt and dragged myself to the doctor and the hospital for a blood test," he said. On Tuesday, he said he was diagnosed with West Nile Fever.
"The hurricane was about to make landfall in New Orleans and I didn't know what was going to happen with the weather," he said. "I felt so bad I figured that we should head north to Vidalia."
There, Opperman said his family stayed a few days with his wife's parents -- Charles and Dorothy Chauvin.
"I was in bed for a week," he said. "It was a constant cycle of fever and chills. I would be freezing one minute, take something to help me sleep and then wake up a few hours later soaked in sweat. I had absolutely no energy and all I wanted to do was sleep and be left alone."
By the long Labor Day weekend, he began to feel well enough to walk.
"I felt better during the day but the fever came back at night," he said. "The doctor said I'd just have to ride it out. I was told to take Advil and Tylenol and that's about all I could do."
He returned to work at the DA's office on Sept. 4.
"I was maybe 75 percent then, but by this past weekend, I finally felt like I was through it," he said.
Opperman said he has no memory of getting bitten by a mosquito prior to becoming ill.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health & Hospitals said there have been four cases of West Nile reported in Concordia Parish this year, two involving the West Nile neuroinvasive disease, the most serious type, one case of West Nile Fever and one asymptomatic case in which the individual shows no symptoms.
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