I’m an ICU nurse, and I want everybody to know how badly Influenza can fuck you up.
41 year old female gets the flu. “Infuenza A”. Presents to a small town ER in acute respiratory distress. While there, she codes with an MI (Myocardial infarction, i.e. heart attack) brought on by the respiratory distress. If the lungs can’t process Oxygen, well then Holy shit.
They transfer her to a hospital slightly more equipped, but it’s not mine. Mine is on “diversion” meaning we are full and there’s not a single bed in the house available. She has another MI and codes again. This time she is down for a full hour. When I say “down” I don’t mean “passed out”, I mean she is getting chest compressions, defib shocks, epinephrine, intubated, everything. It’s a code blue that lasts a full hour.
They get a pulse and stabilize her. Finally, she comes to my ICU. But, this woman now has hypoxic brain injury stemming from from the previous two times she was coded. CPR is a piss poor replacement for heart function.
I have her off the ventilator now, she can breath on her own. She’s even awake and oriented. But she can hardly move, I don’t trust her to be able to even swallow. She can wiggle her toes and weakly grasp her hands, but that’s pretty much it. We put in a PEG because she needs nutrition. Hopefully, she’ll get function back, but it is going to take years. I’m hopeful, because I always am, and she has good family support.
But, DAMN. All this shit happened to a woman with ZERO medical history.
Get your fucking flu shot every year.