"Make sure you go to work."
Those were the last words Nick Day ever heard his wife, Katrina, say before she slipped into a coma and eventually died five weeks later as a result of the flu.
The Days, who had been together for 16 years, had four children together: 13-year-old twins Sophie and Kate, and sons Will, 9, and Tom, 2.
Mr Day was by his wife’s side last night when she passed away in Prince Charles Hospital this week.
On Monday, he described her as a ‘‘passionate’’ woman who had only experienced minor health problems when she was younger.
"She was a devoted mother, she was a hard working lady, the only thing she ever wanted out of life was to raise children and she did that for 13 years,’’ he said.
‘‘She was very kind-hearted lady, she had a lovely spirit and she was very witty.’’
Ms Day, who lived at Woombye on the Sunshine Coast, first started to feel ill around July 17. Two days later a doctor diagnosed her with the flu and told her to go home and rest.
On July 21 she went to the emergency room of Nambour Hospital but was sent home.
Two days later her husband came home to find her having a ‘‘very hot’’ shower. When he helped her get out he said she was ‘‘like a block of ice’’ before she turned blue.
He rushed her to hospital then left to organise care for their two-year-old.
"The last thing she ever said to me was 'make sure you go to work',’’ Mr Day said. "She was an extremely practical woman."
Instead of listening to his wife, he cancelled a work trip to Adelaide and returned to the hospital.
‘‘I went to the hospital and she was lying there with lines in her neck and in her mouth. At about 3 in the afternoon we were told she had to be airlifted from the hospital and she may not make the flight,’’ he said.
‘‘I asked, ‘What are we dealing with here? What’s going on?’ and they said, 'We don’t know Nick, we don’t know'.’’
Ms Day survived the helicopter trip to Prince Charles Hospital, but suffered a massive heart attack soon after arriving. Her husband was then told she wouldn't come back from it.
Over the next few weeks her heart beat returned to normal, but her lungs were too damaged for her to survive.
She was then kept alive for five weeks by a heart-lung bypass machine.
‘‘[Tom] doesn't understand but my two girls and [other] son are doing exceptionally well,’’ Mr Day said.
‘‘They did it tough yesterday and they did it tough the day I told them Mum wouldn’t be coming home. But I’m lucky I’m surrounded by my family and friends and we’re just dealing with it the best way we can.’’
Ms Day was eventually diagnosed with a rare strain of Influenza A which had developed from a combination of the flu and viral and bacterial infections.
Mr Day last week warned people not to be complacent about the flu.
‘‘It gets inside and if the body is run down, if you're stressed and tired, it just hits and hits harder, and the body can't fight for itself,’’ he said.
‘‘It can happen in the blink of an eye.’’
Mr Day plans to resign from his job, and has set up the Katrina Day Family Appeal to help take care of his kids and raise money for life-saving equipment for Queensland hospitals. Donations can be made at the Bank of Queensland - BSB no 124 161, acct no 218 622 95.