EL PASO, Texas -

Nearly 3,400 El Pasoans caught the influenza this season.
15 died.
This season, the flu touched a member of our ABC-7 family.
Reporter Alec Schreck: a young, active, and otherwise healthy man was in the hospital for 37 days - on the brink of death..
"I've always been the kind of guy that never goes to the hospital" said Schreck.
"So I just thought I won't go."
It's a story many of us have heard.
It's the tough guy mentality.
But for Schreck, that mentality nearly cost him his life.
"I was suffocating. It was probably one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. It felt like someone was holding me underwater and I was going to die," Schreck said.
Schreck tells ABC-7 he started feeling the usual cold kick in when the New Year rang in.
"It started getting worse. I started getting sicker: cold, fever chills," said Schreck.
When he started having problems breathing, his wife took him to the emergency room.
"I went (and the nurse) asked me to fill in my name with a pen.  I said 'I can't breath'," said Schreck.
"I just broke down and started crying because I knew it was going to be that bad," said wife Anjana Dalal-Schreck.
"I was blue. My lips were blue my fingers were blue. Death was right there," said Schreck.
Keep in mind, we're talking about a strong and healthy man.
Schreck has reported from the summit of Mt. Cristo Rey, ran through the mud, even reported from Juarez.
It was the flu virus that sent this strong man to intensive care, where he was fighting for his life.
"The feeling of suffocation went on for days," said Schreck.
Once doctors stabalized him, the long, hard road to recovery began ... and it's been a difficult one.
Schreck tells ABC-7 he lost 30 pounds of muscle.
"It took me two weeks not to need help to go from a bed to a chair," said Schreck.
"So this is how I get to spend a Sunday afternoon at Las Palmas ICU when you refuse to get a flu shot," Schreck said from his hospital bed.

He spends his days "just walking and trying to do these little leg lifts and being so exhausted from doing next to nothing," said Schreck.
"It hurt me more because I know how active he is and I know how much it hurt him to not do all the things he normally does," said Dalal- Schreck.
For Schreck it was an experience that changed his life
"As soon as I was able to breathe again, I realized that I was really blessed and lucky and fortunate like there's a bigger purpose. Because when you go to the hospital you either die or live so if you live why not make the most of it?," Schreck said.