On Sunday, September 9, 2001, I was doing the NYT crossword puzzle while my family was at breakfast. I solved it in 41 minutes, a record time for me on a Sunday puzzle. I couldn't wait for my family to get home so I could tell someone.
When they finally got home, I discovered I was unable to speak clearly enough to make myself understood. When I tried to stand up, my right foot flopped around. (I later learned this condition is called drop foot). I didn't know what was happening but I chalked the whole thing up to fatigue as I wasn't working at the time and was having trouble sleeping.
On Monday, September 10, my right leg was no longer under my control and I had to make my way from the bedroom to the living room by holding on to the furniture. I called my doctor's office and was unable to communicate well enough to make myself understood. I handed my wife the phone and she told the nurse what had been happening and, all at once, one word came to my mind - STROKE!
The doctor's office told my wife to get me to the hospital immediately which she did. By this time, my condition was worsening. I was unable to get out of the car and had lost the ability to talk .
The rest of the day was spent in an almost endless series of tests. One of the first of them eliminated the possibility of a stroke which seemed like good news at the time. Meanwhile, my mental confusion grew.
The next morning, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was taken to Radiology for more tests. By this time, I was not able to concentrate at all. I seemed to be in and out of active consciousness.
What I do remember was the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital on a Tuesday morning and, curiously, people talking about airplanes and the World Trade Center. I remember thinking about the plane that had crashed into the Empire State Building back in the 30s.
Then I became aware of silence. There didn't seem to be any people close at hand. I was hooked up to a machine and I could hear voices dimly buzzing at a distance. I learned later that all the staff went into the waiting room when the second plane hit. As I drifted in and out, I tried to make some sense out of what I was hearing, a jumble of dull urgency and some anger and a new thought entered my mind - terrorism.
I awoke and was back in my room.