• Walgett man David Miller spent 18 days in the ICU after contracting COVID-19. (NITV)Source: NITV
Kamilaroi man David Miller spent 18 days fighting for his life in an intensive care unit after contracting the virus. He feared he would never come home to his family.
Sarah Collard, Jennetta Quinn-Bates

31 Aug 2021 - 5:19 PM  UPDATED 1 Sep 2021 - 11:42 AM

David Miller is from the small town of Walgett in New South Wales' far west.

Like many Australians, he never thought he would actually catch the deadly disease sweeping through his state.

David still doesn't know how he contracted the virus, but earlier this month he began to feel unwell and found himself struggling to breathe after attending a funeral. 

He deteriorated suddenly and an ambulance was called. After being tested for COVID-19, he received the news that he had tested positive for the virus. 

"To have an ED doctor walk in and actually say that 'mate you have tested positive for COVID-19' — your mind just runs wild," he said. 

David was placed in a isolated room for treatment at the local hospital in Dubbo, and within days his condition deteriorated, requiring acute care.  

"It was the longest 18 days of (my) life to be in there. I remember getting very, very tight chested... It was scary and it all became real," he told NITV News.

David says his symptoms were frightening and traumatic; he feared he wouldn't return home to his family, including his young children.

"I am 33 years old and being kept away from your mob... That's a huge thing," he told NITV News. 

David said the virus was unlike anything he had experienced, and could not be compared to a cold or the flu. 

"You think (you'd get) a bit of medication from the doctor and you'd be right, but to have the actual deadly virus... Your life flashes before you.

"All these things start going through your head, 'Is this the last time that you're gonna see (your family)... It gives you a bigger perspective on life."

A call to get vaccinated 'as one mob' 

He said his message is simple — get vaccinated. As his experience shows, even young people without underlying health issues can have serious complications. 

"It's a major wake-up call," he said. 

"No matter what age or walk of life you come from, let's all stick together as one mob.

"Get vaccinated and let's fight this together."

David is now recovering from the virus, and is still struggling with respiratory issues.

His doctor said it could be some time before his symptoms are gone. 

"COVID and this Delta strain, it attacks the respiratory system, so it affects your breathing and all those systems.

"I am trying to stay healthy and put one step forward each day and take it as it comes." 

Federal vaccine rollout slammed as COVID infects 275 Aboriginal people in Western NSW
Linda Burney says the outbreak in the region, which has infected 275 First Nations people, is a failure of the federal vaccine rollout and an 'unmitigated disaster.'