Amanda Guerra, NBC 5 News
Family members of 41-year-old Christopher Waskom of Slidell say they never knew he had the flu. Doctors initially told Waskom that he had bronchitis, but now doctors believe he was misdiagnosed the flu played a role in his death.
The H1N1 flu strain appears to be the cause for the death of a 41-year-old man from Wise County.
Christopher Waskom died on New Year’s Eve at his Slidell home while resting up from a bug his family didn’t know was the flu.
“He laid down to take a nap and two hours later I went to check on him and found him,” said Waskom's wife, Lacy.
Lacy said most of their family had been sick recently but that her husband seemed to be in the worst shape.
“It started off with a cough and then he got a fever and it just kept getting worse,” Lacy said.
She said when they went to the doctor on Christmas Day to get him checked out, doctors said he had bronchitis.
Waskom's family has since learned that the flu likely played a major role in his death.
"The medical examiner called and said that he had flu and with a mixture of pneumonia," said Lacy. "They’re assuming the pneumonia was caused probably from the flu."
Lacy, and friends of the family, said that’s particularly scary considering Waskom was in pretty good shape.
Waskom was a master plumber, ran his own business and was training in his spare time to be a youth pastor at the Open Range Cowboy Church in Krum
"The youth just attached themselves to him," said Lay Pastor Mickey McNary. "They just loved him cause he was always upbeat and happy, had patience."
However one thing he wasn’t was a person in bad health.
“No pre-existing medical conditions, he didn’t smoke, he was a perfectly healthy 41-year-old man,” said Lacy.
She said she’s still trying to understand how no one diagnosed her husband with the flu.
“It’s just so hard to believe and you keep thinking this is all going to go away, but it’s not,” said McNary.
“People need to take into consideration that this is not just harming the young and the old or the ones that have pre-existing medical conditions,” said Lacy.
The Waskom’s had been married for two years and were raising six kids together ranging in age from 9 to 19.
The family has moved in with Lacy's mother while they figure out how to move on financially, but she said they are doing their best.
"I know where he went and he’s in a better place than the rest of us," said Lacy. "It’s faith. You’ve got to remember to forgive and that the good Lord will pick you up and carry you on."
The community is also trying to help the family out. Folks at the Cowboy Church are working on organizing events in Waskom’s memory this year and Lacy said a Chris Waskom Family Fund has been set up at Sanger Bank.
She said she and their children are trying their best to get back to normal knowing he will always be with them.
"I’ve never seen a man in my life like him. He was very special," Lacy said.
A memorial service was held last weekend at the church for Chris Waskom and he was laid to rest.
The family has set up a family fun at Sanger Bank in Sanger. Anyone interested in donating to the family can ask to donate to the "Chris Waskom Family Fund."