Flu season is a time between October and May that many people dread out of fear of contracting a well-known and potentially life-threatening illness.
For Sequim resident Alix Bass, this flu season has turned into a nightmare and left her mother fighting for her life.
Bass, 28, would normally be tending to her shift at QFC on East Washington Street and taking her two daughters to Greywolf Elementary School in Sequim while her husband works in the Coast Guard in Port Angeles.
Instead, since Jan. 24, she has been spending her days at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Oregon where her mother has been put on life support after contracting influenza B and streptococcal pneumonia.
“She’s fighting very, very hard, but it’s going to be a really long road,” Bass said.
Her mother is a 46-year-old Oregon resident that came down with cold and flu-like symptoms and chest pains on Jan 20.
She was admitted to the ICU at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Oregon and after tests were performed, she found out she had influenza B, streptococcal pneumonia and was septic. She also had no kidney function and was put on dialysis.
She was later transferred to a neuro trauma ICU at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and put on a VDR ventilator and an ECMO machine to keep her alive.
Bass said without the life support machines, her mother would not survive.
“It’s super hard especially because we are seven generations of only children for females,” Bass said.
Bass does not have any other family other than her husband and children, step-dad and grandmother.
“It’s always just been her and me, we’ve always been the only consistent people in each other’s lives.”
How to help
Bass is asking the Sequim community for support, whether it be thoughts, prayers, and/or donating to the family’s gofundme account to help pay for her mother’s medical and living expenses while she’s in the hospital.
Bass said the gofundme account also will help with her mother’s monthly insurance rate, which was increased to $1,400 per month after the insurance company discovered her mother’s illness.
“Initially I didn’t know there was any insurance issues,” Bass said. “I was thinking the insurance is not just going to pay for all of it.”
“Her insurance company found out what’s being done and it just skyrocketed,” she said.
So far, the gofundme account has raised about $3,400 to cover her mother’s monthly insurance rate for a few months but she is hoping for a about $5,000. Both her mother and step-dad are currently not working as they have been hospital-ridden for several weeks.
Bass said her mother has never received a flu shot, but all her doctors said her illness could have been prevented if she did.
Bass said she personally has had negative experiences with vaccines in the past and generally tries to stay away from them. Since her mother’s illness and condition, she said she is looking into getting a flu shot for next year, and one for her mother, too.
“Now I’m scared to death,” Bass said.
“I think I’m going to do it next year and I’m going to make her get a flu shot.”
Bass said while her mother is still fighting for her life, her condition is slowly improving. She is still on one form of life support, but she has been out of a medically-induced coma and awake as of Feb. 12.
“Everybody is shocked,” Bass said.
“She is doing so well.”
Bass said if her mother continues to recover, she will need physical and occupational therapy in the months to come.
“She really needs the physical therapy and the breathing treatments,” Bass said.
“We just keep trying and hope for the best.”
Bass said the gofundme account will go directly to her mother’s medical expenses. She said there is a US Bank in the hospital and she just opened an account for her mother and step-dad.
The Peninsula Daily News reported that according to the Center for Disease Control, flu activity has jumped across the nation, with 36 states now reporting widespread flu activity.
In Clallam and Jefferson Counties, public health officers said flu activity on the Peninsula and in Washington state has been “moderately severe.”
Health officials said annual flu vaccination is the best method of prevention against illness, as well as covering coughs, proper hand-washing and staying home from school or work when sick.
To donate to the gofundme account or to learn more about Alix’s mother, visit https://www.gofundme.com/6ny72u-help-for-heather.