IN 1979 I HAD BEEN HOME from work for several days with what seemed like a bad cold and headache. Mostly I tried to sleep. At one point my wife went out to do an errand. For some reason I was up, maybe trying to get a glass of water. When my wife returned to get something she forgot, she found me on the floor. She could not wake me up. (She apparently found me within minutes of my collapse. We were later told by medical authorities that if she had not found me in those several minutes I would certainly have died).
Panic-stricken, she half carried and pushed me into the car with the thought of getting me to a hospital (my wife is not a Christian Scientist, and those were the days before the emergency number 911 was available). Along the way she found a police car and hoped the officer would escort her to the hospital. He declined, thinking I was drunk or high on drugs. She got me across town to a hospital.
I am told no one knew what was wrong with me until one doctor came along and said I probably had meningitis. They did a spinal tap that confirmed that I had a serious type of spinal meningitis. I was put on penicilling and remained unconscious for about ten days. I remained in the hospital another week. When I left the hospital the prognosis was very uncertain. The physicians could not say whether, when, or to what extent I would recover. At that point I weighed around 97 pounds, and was paralyzed on the entire right side of my body (the doctors said that the paralysis might have been the result of the spinal tap they did to determine the diagnosis). I was barely conscious, and could not walk more than a few steps without someone holding me.