Understanding the difference the flu vaccine can make.

A shot at good health

A few years ago, Suffolk police major Steve Patterson began a journey to improve his health.

Little did he know what kind of challenges he’d be facing in the upcoming years.

“A Biggest Loser contest started on the job and I joined the team. I began to run, bike, and walk and eventually lost 54 pounds,” says Steve, who faced diabetes.

In April 2009, Steve had the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy for a 10-week program at Quantico. To participate, he had to lose more weight.

“I stepped up my exercise program and cut back on what I ate. I made the weigh in. Over a two-month period, I lost 40 pounds,” says Steve. “No worries, I thought. 

Feeling invincible 

Steve completed the FBI academy in March 2010.

“I felt great, so great that I developed a false sense of security,” says Steve. “When I caught a cold in December that year, I treated it with over the counter products. Rest was not an option. I even ran while snow was on the ground.”

Family and colleagues begged Steve to go to the doctor. He finally did in January and was told he had a sinus infection. He took the given prescription and kept exercising.

“On February 17, 2011, I went back to the doctor with severe cold and flu-like symptoms. I was given more medicine and told to get some rest,” Steve shared. “Who knew that I would get a long, medically induced rest?!”

On March 6, Steve woke to a shining face he hadn’t seen before. He was semi-conscious and not totally aware of his surroundings.

“It took a couple of days to realize I was in the hospital and the face was a nurse. A week later, I finally understood what had happened,” says Steve. “My cold/flu had turned into severe streptococcal pneumonia. I was placed on a ventilator for 12 days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sentara Obici Hospital. I had been in a coma for the ventilator to do its work. After a few days, my kidneys shut down and I went through four days of dialysis. A few days later, additional problems developed with my heart. The infection caused my whole body to turn red, almost like a really bad sunburn. Then, my body began to peel. Today, I still bear the marks left over from the infection. I couldn’t speak well either. I had a long road to recovery.”

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