Woman shares near-death experience with flu
MADISON, Wis. — A Madison woman is sharing her near-death story following a bout with the flu in hopes of convincing others not to skip the vaccine this season.
Despite an announcement by the Centers for Disease Control warning the vaccine may not be as effective this year, doctors still recommend you get a flu shot. Allison Miller agrees – but it’s not advice she took last winter.
“Like a lot of people, I was 33 years old, I was otherwise healthy,” she says. “You hear about it, but I didn’t think it applied to me.”
But at the start of March, near the end of the flu season, Miller began to feel a bit run-down. When her flu symptoms took a more serious turn, she called 911.
“One of the last things I remember is arriving at the hospital and giving them my basic information,” Miller remembers. “I woke up three weeks later, and my whole world was changed.”
Miller’s bout of flu had deteriorated into double pneumonia, then put her into septic shock and shut down several of her organs.
“That all happened not even 18 hours after she got checked into the hospital,” husband Rafael Nunez says.
After Miller’s heart and lungs began to fail, doctors put her on external life support and eventually had to amputate her left leg for lack of blood circulation.
“One instance has altered everything forever,” Miller says. “I’m grateful to be here, but it’s certainly tough to adapt.”
Admitted on March 8, Miller left the hospital more than two months later on May 22. She is still re-learning basic life skills and now uses a prosthetic leg – a tool she’s thankful for in a situation she never imagined.
“It’s not anything anyone imagines,” Miller says. “This is clearly extreme, but it’s also a warning to people.
“Looking back, [a flu shot] might’ve been one of the things that maybe would’ve prevented things,” Nunez says.
Miller says the importance of a flu shot can’t be overstated, especially for those who think this couldn’t ever happen to you.
“It’s not just the flu,” she says. “The flu is serious, and even if you’re otherwise healthy, it can result in some pretty drastic consequences. and people need to be aware of that. The more people who get vaccinations, the less likely the situation I had will happen to somebody else.”