A late season increase of influenza A – a strain of influenza that has made about 99 percent of all flu cases this year – has seen thousands of people across the country.
In Portland, two young girls left the motherless, killing a 37-year-old woman and her unborn child.
Stephanie Shradar had had the flu shot back in October, as she often did at the beginning of each flu season, her husband Lee Shradar said. He and their daughters soon followed.
While Stephanie was older for a pregnant woman, she had had two uncomplicated pregnancies with her daughters and taken care of herself. Her third child, a girl, was due in the fall.
So Lee didn't think much about it when Stephanie began to feel sick Monday. Their older daughter, Vera, 7, also felt a little sick.
Stephanie went to work at her architectural firm on Monday. The next day she stayed home because she felt worse. Lee came home for lunch to check her and ended up driving to Rite Aid to get a new thermometer to make sure they could accurately measure fever Stephanie had begun to run.
She measured only 1
Stephanie also called the woman's clinic in Providence, where she was regularly treated. Providers who prescribed a flu medicine that she took on Wednesday afternoon.
It made her a little nauseous, but Lee said that Stephanie was an extreme regulator of these kinds of things, so the label followed the medicine.
At lunchtime Thursday, Lee was optimistic that Stephanie was getting better. She had made it downstairs on the couch to see old episodes of "The Office" on Netflix. He gave his soup and went back to work and to take the girls to a post-school event, just to return home at. 8 to find her energy level had fallen, and her face and eyes were beginning to swell.
The consulted women's clinic and Lee's mother, a former ambulance nurse, decided to go to the emergency room.
Stephanie never came home.
Even healthy people face a risk
Stephanie was seen in the emergency room within an hour. An X-ray showed that her breast was fine. She was associated with IV's to get fluid and medicine.
Lee went home to sleep at 2am and was not so surprised to find the next morning that Stephanie had been hospitalized overnight.
"She's sick and she's pregnant, it takes some time to jump back," Lee said, thinking about that time.
Pregnancy weakens the immune system, so the mother's body does not fight for the baby growing in her. So even though she was immunized for influenza this year, she faced an increase risk.
The flu shot this year also has little protection against strain A, which has contributed to its spread and severity since mid-February. 19659002] Over the past few weeks, almost all state and US territories have reported widespread influenza. So far, Oregon has reached 2016-17 influenza season levels and may exceed it to be closer to last year's exceptionally bad year.
Nearly 99 percent of all people in Oregon who have had flu this year have had influenza A. A Friday report from the Oregon Health Authority said a child died of influenza the first week of March. The story of the week by Stephanie and her child's death has not come out yet. The Oregon Health Authority officials refused to say how many children died this week. The state does not track adult influenza death.
Almost 140 people were hospitalized that week and 150 were hospitalized seven days earlier.
While most people admitted due to influenza are 65 years of age or older, it is important even for normally healthy people like Stephanie to seek early care if they have weak immune systems.
Pregnant women should seek medical attention as early as possible if they have any of the flu problems, because a small fever can lead to birth defects in a baby, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Daughter born on their anniversary
Lee canceled work the next day and spent most of the day with Stephanie, with breaks to take the girls to school and pick them up. She was in constant pain Friday and wanted Lee to put wet towels on her head, legs and chest, feed her ice chips and adjust the bed.
He was to give her a lunch of soft food, and she wanted him to do the same for dinner.
But when he had arranged child care, bought groceries and came back to the hospital, her condition had deteriorated significantly.
She was raised and needed help to get to the toilet.
Back then, she was admitted to the intensive care unit where nurses struggled to get a blood pressure reading because her heart was so weak.
"That was when the bottom began to fall out," said Lee
Then her parents flew in from their vacation in Arizona to Portland.
Stephanie stabilized for a while, but at 10 am doctors got out of her room to tell Lee and her parents that they had lost their baby's heartbeat.
Lee and Stephanie had waited until the last few weeks to tell them daughters, Vera and Eisley, that they would get a new sister who soon came into the world. They were cautious because they knew that complications could occur.
They had been a little uncertain about the new baby. Stephanie wanted a third child badly, but Lee was worried about the time and loss of sleep and was the parent of an infant for the first time in five years.
But they were happy if they didn't reeling a bit from what it all meant.
Lee was destroyed by the first death. But he found that at least the loss made everyone focus on Stephanie and what she needed.
"We were really hopeful," Lee said.
But it didn't last long. The doctors had gone down the hall to get water and juice to Lee and Stephanie's parents as an alarm code was announced for room 36 – Stephanie's room.
They saw the staff rushing in and could hear the machines beeping. The hospital plan arrived.
They were in shock and watched that the ICU doors were open and shut, open and close.
Then a doctor left Stephanie's room to tell Lee that they lost their wife's heartbeat for two minutes. They did CPR and were able to get it back.
"We just came in for the flu, remember you," Lee said. "She was strong, she was healthy. She did everything she needed to do. We just came in for the flu." Pneumonia had overtaken Stephanie's lungs for the last four hours. During the next day or two, she was intubated, placed on dialysis and given dozens of medications to try to keep her blood pressure up and reduce her pain.
Lee's mother and brother were in town on Saturday morning.
They all switched with Stephanie's hand and whispered how much they loved her.
"We were a team and would always be a team," Lee told her. "I needed her to fight. And she did. She struggled." Of course, on Sunday, the body delivered the baby – a good sign, doctors said. Lee chose the name Alice May because Stephanie had suggested Alice and they both liked it. May was chosen by their daughters.
It was March 10, 18, to Lee and Stephanie's first date as a 19-year-old at the University of Kansas.
But Stephanie was unable to pass the placenta, which meant a plan was in place to perform surgery the first morning getting it out.
Lee spent most of a sleepless night in a room over Stephanie's. In vain and worried, he sat down to hang out with her and the nurse while everyone else was asleep.
His mother came to get him in the morning, and when they left the room to meet Stephanie's parents downstairs, a nurse took up saying another alarm had gone off in Stephanie's room.
Doctors tried several times to keep her heart beating, and eventually the family agreed to a last plague surgery.
pm. 8:25 Monday a doctor told them that Stephanie was dead.
& # 39; She wanted to be a lawyer & # 39;
A week later, Lee still found it impossible that this vital woman he had spent his entire adult life with had gone because of the flu.
Stephanie was young, healthy and positive, Lee said. She was committed to a successful architecture career and felt she was thriving at her current workplace. Having had a dog for years, they had just adopted a puppy last year.
Lee knows how to lose a parent. His father died when he was 8, almost the same age as Vera. And now Lee had to give her and her sister the same horrible news.
He said he was surrounded by friends and family, support and love. A family friend started a GoFundMe to raise money for Vera and Eisley's future education. Lee said he didn't want them to miss college or more than the loss of their mother.
"I want to be able to give what my parents gave us to our girls," Lee said.
And he hopes that at least Stephanie's death could help raise awareness.
"I think she'll be a spokesman for people getting help when they need it and don't wait too long."