“Andrea was gorgeous,” says her cousin Jenni. She had long hair, and was extremely good looking. “She always said, when we were kids and then teenagers growing together that she was going to have a big impact on something in this world. She could feel it.” Jenni was two years younger than Andrea. She watched her lovely cousin grow up, marry, and have two lovely children. “All her dreams came true,” says Jenni, and Andrea was gearing up to making a difference, doing something.
It was not to be. Andrea was only 24, in perfect health, her children three and seven, when she caught the flu. At first, it did not seem like a big deal. No one took it seriously.
Then Andrea felt worse. She followed her doctors’ instruction to the letter, and tried both medication and “natural stuff.” She got plenty of fluid and did her best to rest. But she was feeling worse, so she went to the hospital. She spent two or three days there, mostly getting an IV to be hydrated (Jenni is not sure what else was done for her). Then her doctors felt she was well enough to be sent home. So she was released from the hospital.
But “that flu attacked harshly that night.” She went to sleep, and never woke up. “No one saw it coming.” Says Jenni. “She drowned in her sleep by pneumonia.”
The family was devastated. Jenni says: “It shook all our family. She was an only daughter and now two kids had no mama.”
“The flu seems harmless because it’s just so common,” she says. But it could kill. Jenni and her family learned this the hard way – as did 169 families of children, about half of which were healthy, the majority of which were unvaccinated, during the flu season of 2012-2013 and an unknown number of adults.
“Her kids and her parents all get flu shots now as they researched the risks, you never think it will happen to you.”