Six Thousand Days Since Normal
Page 3

Here's the rest of this story; it is very crazy, true, and quite long:


The internal hearing was held in February. During the previous month, with some assistance from an employee representative and a lot of information I had garnered on my own and from a new friend—a very highly regarded scientist who conducted Gulf War Syndrome research at my institution—I won my case hands down. People have said to me a number of times that I should have been an attorney. I guess I was really good.

They were forced to comply with the ADA. So I was re-hired as a technical writer and full-time telecommuter.

In April, I went to meet with the head of my new group at the bad building. Upon arriving home, a slicing, screaming pain was traversing the whole right side of my face. The next morning, the right side of my face was totally numb.

My Dad took me to the ER and they sent me to the ENT (ears, nose, and throat doctor, otherwise fondly known as otolaryngologist) on call, the department chief. After more CT scans—he never took a sample from my nasal passages to test—he scheduled me for surgery, which occurred in June.

Footnote: After all our groups moved out of this leased building, the owner was forced to rip out the entire HVAC system. It had been that contaminated.

Late June 1998

The surgery, which I later learned should have been a routine, one and one-half hour procedure, took more than four hours. They had decided I was a fine candidate on which to use their newly acquired, very expensive, fancy machinery. Yeah, sure. The vendor was present and was likely doing a lot of explaining and demonstrating. After all, I had the head of the otolaryngology department doing the surgery. And he was a professor.

During the weeks that followed, I kept falling a lot for no apparent reason. I started having violent focal migraines. I had a weird, awful metallic taste in my mouth. I could barely eat. And I was shaking a lot. My internist thought I was nuts. But I was very sick. And no one would help me. I just had to keep working. Much later on, I learned that I had been on the verge of going into adrenal shock, a potentially fatal condition.