California man Shawn Burrough felt the beginning of the flu bug hitting him around Christmas Day 2017, but rather than rest, he tried to power through it.
Less than two weeks later, the San Diego County man is in an intensive care unit, fighting for his life, according to KTLA.
“He had a little chest congestion, headache, body ache -- the usual stuff where you’re like, 'OK, I’m getting the flu,'” said his wife, Jennifer Burrough.
She said her husband tried to work through the sickness and let the symptoms run their course, but on New Year's Day, she finally had to take him to the emergency room.
“He couldn’t breathe," she said. "They had to rush me out ... intubate him and sedate him. They told me he was in renal failure, his white count was through the roof, [and that] he has severe pneumonia.”
Heavily sedated and on a ventilator, Shawn is also receiving dialysis treatments because of the infection in his blood, said Jennifer.
The family of six had decided against getting vaccinated before flu season, Jennifer said, citing the low success rate. But after her husband got sick, their two youngest children also tested positive for the flu virus.
"The doctor checked them out," she told KTLA. "Their lungs are clear. Thank God everything's fine."
Shawn, a U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran, was a perfectly healthy and robust father of four in the Lakeside community outside of San Diego, according to his wife.
“Other than being a little overweight he’s totally healthy, a totally healthy guy,” said Jennifer.
She cautioned others to heed the warning signs, no matter how small, which can lead to catastrophic consequences if left untreated.
According to a YouCaring fundraiser page set up by friends of the family, Shawn has an aggressive, resilient illness -- strep pneumonia -- as well as influenza B and kidney failure.
His doctor says his small gains are encouraging, but "nowhere near where we need him to be," according to information posted on the crowdfunding page.
As she struggles to find hope and keep her family strong, Jennifer offers words of caution to others who may think they're invulnerable to viruses.
“If you’re sick -- I mean the first cough, I don’t care if it’s not the flu -- go get seen just in case," said Jennifer. "You never know."
For today, she is praying for her husband's recovery.
“He’s my rock. He’s the love of my life, sole provider, great man. He’s everything."