January 2018

Or it could be entitled, “Suddenly Our World Changed.”

My husband’s name is Bob, daughter is Emily, son is Jeff.

In 2017 Bob and I both had our flu shots as usual in the autumn. Colds and sinus problems and various viruses were flying around by the end of December. I sought medical help at a Little Clinic on December 30th as I was miserable.

My flu test on December 30th was negative. January 2, 2018 my husband, Bob, was diagnosed with Type A Influenza. Because of his history with mild COPD they did a chest x-ray. It was negative for congestion. He was given Tamiflu and a pearl-type drug for cough. The medical personnel told me to be checked again for flu. January 3 my test was positive for Type A influenza. My doctor decided I was too late for Tamiflu. Then things began to go from bad to worse very, very rapidly.

On January 4, 2018 Bob did not feel well all day. Told me he thought he would feel better by then with the Tamiflu supposedly treating his symptoms. To me his lungs began to sound like an old-fashioned push mower. Late afternoon he told me he had a pain in his side. He believed he had pulled a muscle coughing. I thought that strange as he had not been coughing just then! I have learned we can each rationalize away any pain and symptom. He put himself to bed about 7:15. At 8:00 he came stumbling out of the bedroom saying in anger, “I cannot breathe in that bed!” This from the man who rarely gets angry. He was dragging a blanket along with him as he plopped down in his living room chair and closed his eyes.

I had been keeping Emily informed about our illness. When Bob got out of bed I texted our daughter asking if she would like to meet at our house or at Clermont Mercy Hospital as her Dad was getting worse. She chose Clermont. I went to get dressed. When I came out of our bedroom Bob asked, “Where are you going?” I was afraid if I told him he would balk so I just ignored him. He was so ill he forgot he had asked.

When Emily texted she was on her way, I told him we are going to the ER. As he stood up he said, “This is going to cost me a fortune!” And then his bowels let loose. We went to the bathroom to get cleaned up and change his clothes. I threw the laundry in the bathtub and got him into my car. I had no idea how very sick he really was.
When we reached the ER, Emily was waiting at the door with a wheelchair. As we got him out of the passenger seat, he coughed, and spit blood on the sidewalk. I knew right then we were in deep trouble. Jeff met us at the hospital.

And so our nightmare with the flu began. Six days folded into a horror we could barely imagine. 2018 has been a very difficult year. Now in November we are still coping with after effects of that illness and we are preparing for a new flu season. Yes, we both have had our flu shots again. We are also wiser, knowing as they caution us, the injection cannot prepare for every strain of flu. The next few days or weeks, as I am able, I will unfold for you my reactions to almost losing my husband of then 47 years and how I coped and sometimes did not cope with the struggle and emotional turmoil. We have now celebrated 48 years of marriage! We are always hoping for the best both marriage-wise and health-wise.

AARP Report:

U.S. surgeon general and other medical experts and government officials call urging people to roll up a sleeve to help others was pertinent, given the bigger news of the press conference: that a whopping 80,000 people in the U.S. died of flu last year, far more than the 12,000 to 56,000 children and adults who die in a typical season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Guess what? They all got the flu from someone; someone passed it along to them,” said Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, underscoring how getting a flu shot can help to protect others in your community from either getting the flu or suffering serious complications from it. As he and other doctors at the yearly event repeatedly said, vaccination, while not perfect, can “reduce the severity of illness in those who get vaccinated but still get sick.”

Along with stressing the importance of children getting shots — about half the children who died last year did not get theirs — officials also noted that the majority of the heavy death toll last season was older people, who were especially susceptible to the H3N2 strain that predominated. (Last year’s vaccine was also less effective overall on this strain.) https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/get-your-flu-shot-cdc-says.html