‘A lot worse than you can imagine:’ Metro family has warning for others about the flu

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OLATHE, Kan. — A metro family fighting for their daughter’s life at Olathe Medical Center has a warning about the flu.

They spent the first day of 2020 in the hospital after what they thought was a common cold turned out to be the flu and pneumonia.

“You don’t want to be in this position,” Larry Henry said. “It’s a lot worse than you can imagine.”

That position is Henry and his wife sitting in front of a monitor, intently watching the numbers go up and down because their daughter’s life depends on it.

“Everybody’s just kind of in shock,” Henry said.

The Henry family spend 10-12 hours a day at Olathe Medical Center. Their daughter has pneumonia and influenza A.

The 39-year-old mother of two has been sedated and intubated in critical care since Sunday.

“It’s been, uh,” Henry said taking a deep breath, “it’s been difficult.”

Henry said about a week ago her symptoms that were similar to having a cold got better, but then turned into a three- or four-day fever.

Dr. Vance Burns said that’s a sign you need to see a doctor — immediately.

“Often, it’s not over when the influenza’s over. There’s a pneumonia that follows that, so anyone with persistent fevers definitely get checked out,” he said.

Burns said the flu season is just getting started. They’re seeing people at Olathe Medical Center on the regular floor and the ICU.

“The more severe cases people have been on life support machines and in shock, and many of those people will be left with deficits the rest of their life,” Burns said.

That’s why he strongly suggests getting the flu shot.

“We’re seeing some terrible cases of flu and they tend to be worse in folks who haven’t had the vaccinations,” Burns said.

Henry knows first hand. His daughter didn’t get the shot. He believes it could’ve helped keep her out of the hospital.

“Everybody go get a flu shot. They even gave her a flu shot while she was in here,” Henry said. “There’s just no sense in taking a chance because you don’t want to be here, in this situation.”

Burns said it’s not too late to get a flu shot, noting the flu season is just getting started.

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