Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flu Fatality Hits Home

Many years ago, the families were best of friends - visiting each other from far away as one family moved. The kids were all friends - older, younger and tweeners. As time passed, the parents of the two families remained close friends attending their kids' weddings, birthday celebrations, and more.

In the late 80's a call came home from the mother of other family. The husband had suffered a fatal heart attack. If I remember right he was in his mid-60s so a relatively young man. What I remember most about him was his effervescent personality and calm demeanor... and their basset hound! It was sudden, without warning, and sad.

In the early 90's, a call came home from my own mother saying the wife of that man had just gotten out of bed, weak in the feet and unable to feel her legs. After several trips to the Mayo Clinic (hometown hospital as we are all from Rochester), she was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. I had no idea what that meant but was soon to find out. You can read that story here:

A few years passed, she passed away and her daughter, the one I have such good, fond memories of was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the age of 50, with an IQ of maybe 85-90, she was aware that her health was not strong and that treatment would make her ill. She was aware that she could soon join her mom and dad and that gave her some modicum of comfort. She passed away a few short years ago, surrounded by the Wynonna song that was played while her mom passed.

And tonight, the older brother of those siblings was eulogized as he passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly from complications of H1N1. He had his dad's personality and was well loved by everyone. Easy going, calm, funny, good natured, and fun to be around, he was just like his dad. Sadly, he was also overweight, probably diabetic, had congestive heart failure, and contracted the flu. As is well stated, the complications of H1N1 are hardest on those with already compromised health systems - the elderly, the young, and those with respiratory ailments.

Sadly, this family has endured more than it's fair share of health related issues.

And for all of us, a reminder as to why staying home and away from the public is so critical if you get the flu.

Don't pass it on. Wash your hands (not that little sprinkling of water you think is adequate - use soap!). Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and wash your hands promptly. Stay home.

To the family, I'm so sorry.

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