FENNIMORE (WKOW) -- It's an epidemic that's sweeping the nation. More and more people are getting influenza and it's costing some patients their lives. Now, a Fennimore family is grieving the loss of a 33 year old father who died, in part, from the flu virus.
Damien Lord's family says he was a man who loved to fish. He was a proud father of two and was generous to so many around him.
"This was a 33 year old man who had no medical complications in his entire life. He had never been in the hospital," said Zachary Biddle, Damien's brother.
But a week and a half ago Damien's girlfriend said he went to the emergency room with serious symptoms.
"He was coughing to the point where he was blue in the face, he's shivering, he's walking around with a blanket, he didn't eat anything," said Miranda Schwoob, Damien's girlfriend.
At the hospital, Damien tested positive for influenza and was sent home. But things worsened and Damien eventually went back to the E.R. where he was told he also had pneumonia. Damien was then sedated and transported to a hospital in Madison where he spent much of his time in a rotorest bed, a bed that would flip him over from time to time to keep pressure off his lungs which would increase his oxygen levels.
"Friday was his best day," Schwoob said.
However, by Sunday, Damien health deteriorated fast. His family was given a choice: either have Damien undergo a risky procedure to try to help him, or do nothing and see if he gets better. The family chose to operate on him.
"If we didn't try, then we wouldn't know and it would kill us if we didn't try," Schwoob said as she started to get emotional.
The procedure didn't help.
"The doctor came into the waiting room where we were. He started crying telling us he's not going to make it. His (Damien's) breathing just kept going down hill and there's nothing that we could do," Schwoob said as she cried.
Damien died on Sunday. Now, those close to him are warning others about the severity of the flu.
"The doctor said it was a very, very, very bad case of flu," said Tammy Fiedler, Damien's aunt.
"I don't think people take it seriously," said Schwoob. "You have to wash your hands, you have to take care of yourself, you have to take care of your family."
"You don't think that it's going to happen to you or anyone close but it hits hard," said Fiedler. "I wasn't expecting this," she said as she, too, got emotional. "I was going to go visit him before I went on vacation, cause you know when you go to the hospital, you expect to get better and come home and this all happened so fast. And this is what happened."
Damien's family is now raising money on a GoFundMe page to help with his funeral expenses.
"It's just hard going to the funeral home and setting up arrangements. It's probably the hardest," Schwoob said as she wiped tears from her cheeks.
For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/37410377/2018/02/01/flu-partly-to-blame-for-grant-county-fathers-death