Over the next couple of weeks, the soreness got worse. Then, one evening, with her husband and two sons out of town for the weekend, Smith realized she couldn’t stand up. She was stuck on her living room couch.Her neighbor happened to stop by, and Smith asked her to call an ambulance.The paramedics arrived. As they loaded her onto a stretcher, Smith began screaming. “The doctors later told me the nerves were all inflamed,” she says. The pain “was like having third-degree burns on my legs.”
In the ambulance, the paramedics asked Smith if she had recently received a flu shot. At the hospital, the nurses asked the same question.“I was like, why does everybody keep asking me if I’ve had a flu shot?” she says. The nurses told her paralysis was a rare, but known side effect.