Iconic screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has revealed that he had a stroke months ago with the doctor telling him that his blood pressure was so high that he was ‘supposed to be dead.’
The 61-year-old filmmaker told the New York Times on Wednesday that he had the brain attack back in November while writing his new Broadway musical Camelot.
He admitted that the stroke was a result of blood pressure so high that his doctor told him ‘you’re supposed to be dead.’
Sorkin revealed that he had experienced the symptoms of a stroke in the middle of the night as he bumped into walls and spilled his orange juice while walking around in his home office.
There have also been long-term effects like he still cannot taste food and even slurred his words for around a month after it happened and even couldn’t sign his name ‘until recently’.
Close call: Iconic screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has revealed that he had a stroke months ago with the doctor telling him that his blood pressure was so high that he was ‘supposed to be dead,’ as he is pictured on March 11
He explained: ‘Mostly it was a loud wake-up call. I thought I was one of those people who could eat whatever he wanted, smoke as much as he wanted, and it’s not going to affect me. Boy, was I wrong.’
Sorkin claims that he has since quit smoking which he has done heavily since high school and was essential to his writing process.
He explained: ‘It was just part of it, the way a pen was part of it. I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I’ll start to salivate.’
The esteemed writer said that he has also made other big changes including a healthier diet and working out twice a day in addition to medication as he said: ‘I take a lot of medicine. You can hear the pills rattling around in me.’
It seems like those life changes have certainly made a difference as Sorkin was seen looking thinner while on a recent outing in New York City on March 11.
The West Wing writer said that he knows that he is fortunate to be able to continue his career as he was worried he wouldn’t be able to during his darkest times.
He said: ‘There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again and I was concerned in the short-term that I wasn’t going to be able to continue writing Camelot.’
New York Times writer Michael Paulson revealed that Sorkin had originally told him about the stroke in passing and off the record and that they would revisit the subject so the Oscar winner could consider the implications before going public.
Icon: The 61-year-old filmmaker (pictured in February 2021) told the New York Times on Wednesday that he had the brain attack back in November while writing his new Broadway musical Camelot
Alarming: Sorkin (pictured in March 2022) revealed that he had experienced the symptoms of a stroke in the middle of the night as he bumped into walls and spilled his orange juice while walking around in his home office
Ultimately Sorkin decided to talk about the incident and road to recovery in hopes that it could serve as a cautionary tale.
He explained: ‘If it’ll get one person to stop smoking, then it’ll be helpful.’
A stroke ‘is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can reduce brain damage and other complications,’ according to the Mayo Clinic.
The not-for-profit organization website also notes that many fewer Americans die of stroke now than in the pass as there are effective treatments which can also help prevent disability caused by a stroke.
Sorkin is one of the most prolific writers of the modern age as he has earned several accolades including an Oscar, BAFTA Award, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and three Golden Globes.
Coming soon: Camelot is Sorkin’s fresh take on Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot based on the original book by Alan Jay Lerner
He rose to prominence as writer-creator and showrunner of television show Sports Night from 1999 to 2000 and The West Wing from 1999 to 2006.
Sorkin also wrote screenplays for A Few Good Men (1992), The American President (1995), and several biopics including Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Moneyball (2011), and Steve Jobs (2015) ultimately winning the Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay in 2011 for The Social Network.
He is also known for writing for theatrical plays including A Few Good Men in 1989 and 2007’s the Farnsworth Invention (2007) in addition to Broadway revivals of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird in 2018 in addition to his latest project Camelot.
Camelot is Sorkin’s fresh take on Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot based on the original book by Alan Jay Lerner.
According to the website for the play, it is a ‘timely story about the quest for democracy, striving for justice, and the tragic struggle between passion and aspiration, between lovers and kingdoms.’
The stage show features an impressive cast including Andrew Burnap, Phillipa Soo, Jordan Donica, Dakin Matthews, Taylor Trensch, and Marilee Talkington.
It is currently in previews at the Lincoln Center Theater-Vivian Beaumont and will have the official opening on Thursday, April 13.
THE CAUSES OF STROKE
There are two major kinds of stroke:
1. ISCHEMIC STROKE
An ischemic stroke – which accounts for 80 per cent of strokes – occurs when there is a blockage in a blood vessel that prevents blood from reaching part of the brain.
2. HEMORRHAGIC STROKE
The more rare, a hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel bursts, flooding part of the brain with too much blood while depriving other areas of adequate blood supply.
It can be the result of an AVM, or arteriovenous malformation (an abnormal cluster of blood vessels), in the brain.
Thirty percent of subarachnoid hemorrhage sufferers die before reaching the hospital. A further 25 per cent die within 24 hours. And 40 per cent of survivors die within a week.
Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, family history, and history of a previous stroke or TIA (a mini stroke) are all risk factors for having a stroke.
SYMPTOMS OF A STROKE
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Of the roughly three out of four people who survive a stroke, many will have life-long disabilities.
This includes difficulty walking, communicating, eating, and completing everyday tasks or chores.
Both are potentially fatal, and patients require surgery or a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within three hours to save them.
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