Strokes affect people in different ways. Mine began (though I did not realize
it) four weeks ago yesterday, September 27. I first noticed a slight difficulty
typing that day, but put it down to fatigue from flying 25 days out of the last
30. My wife came in from a trip (UA Flight Attendant) about noon and said I
looked terrible, I said I felt terrible, and went to bed.
About 5pm I got up and decided to go to the airport and prep the Eclipse for
the next flight on Monday. I had not had the stroke at this point, for my
signature on the fuel slip was normal, and I felt fine. I picked up some
take-out for dinner, went home, my wife and I ate, and she commented again how
tired I looked, "More tired than she'd ever seen me." Nag, nag, nag. I went to
bed again, got up at 2am to do some paperwork. My best recollection is that
typing was normal. My wife was up at 4am on Sunday for a personal trip to Japan.
She did not notice anything unusual, but once again commented on how tired I
looked and again nagged at me for working too hard. I went back to bed about 5
At about 9am I got up and fixed myself some breakfast and about 9:30 my wife
called. She tried to tell me something, said I was making no sense at all,
figured I'd been awakened, said something snotty, and hung up. But I thought
that a bit odd, because I was fully awake! I put it down to the crappy cellphone
reception at the house plus my wife's insistence on screaming when using one,
and thought no more of it. In retrospect, I'd had (or was having) the stroke.
I then went to the office to continue catching up on my paperwork, and found
I could not type. That should have been the giveaway, but I was in denial, for
fear of the FAA. I went back to bed, figuring a little more sleep would help.
About 2:30 my wife sent a text message that she was on the airplane. I thought
that was very strange, very late for that flight, and tried to text her back,
producing only gibberish. Fortunately I hit the "Send" key. That got her
attention, and she called. "Are you ok?" Long silence, then I croaked out "I
don't think so." She said "What's wrong." After a long delay I managed to say "I
can't sign my name." That did it. She hung up on me!
Next thing I know, about two minutes later my neighbor came in (without
knocking, he has a key) and said "Your wife called, are you okay?" I said I
didn't know, but it was obvious my speech was not normal. For the first time I
realized I was in trouble, and out of a job. My neighbor ran me over to the
hospital, while I called the boss and gave him the news that he needed a new
pilot. Three days in hospital, IV drip working all the time, two echo grams (one
of the neck, one of the heart), two MRIs, and they booted me out in the street.
Follow-up visits with the neurologist and cardiologist, and a sleep apnea test,
all normal. Blood pressure, cholesterol, all
normal. Transient Ischemic Attack, origin unknown. Best guess, genetic
Within about a week, I was walking four miles a day, and enjoying it, for the
walking had been only slightly affected. Then I took a terrible fall and tore a
ligament in my right foot laying me up and forcing the use of a cane to get
around. Bummer! I'm exercising as best I can, will take up swimming next week.
Have been reading aloud and notice no improvement, although others say speech is
much improved. I'm typing as much as I can, with some improvement.
This message, for example took about four hours to compose. Right after the
stroke it would have been impossible.
Outlook. Flying is out of the question. The company will use me as a ground
instructor, if I can get the speech back.