In 2006 I was attending a theoretical physics conference in Madrid, Spain, when I started to experience some very strange, and I admit, very scary symptoms. On the second last day of the conference, after the lunch, served as a 3-course meal with a glass of wine, I started to feel dizzy and quite unwell. So I returned to my hotel and rested, as most people would under those circumstances, and by the morning I felt ok again. Then on the last day after the final lunch I started to feel much worse than the previous day, weak and fatigued, and dizzy with cold sweats. I managed to walk back to my hotel with great effort in taking each step. I remember the great difficulty in even walking up a few steps. I was really worried, especially when one of the servers at the lunch said to me that I looked terrible, that I was ‘white as a ghost’.
As I laid there on my bed, in the hotel room, I thought about whether I should go to an emergency hospital in Madrid or try to survive (literally) long enough to get to Israel the next day as this was planned on my itinerary. I decided that I’d rather be in hospital in Israel than Spain. Even though I also had chest pains I believed that that was gastric reflux aggravated by the spicy food at the conference lunch. After the previous night the symptoms had subsided by resting and so I decided to just rest and get to the airport the next day.
At the airport, I recall, as I walked towards the departure gate, the cold sweat was just rolling off me and I did my best not to fall over from dizziness. I was still totally fatigued and it was so hard to pull my suitcase on wheels, but I tried to not look unwell as I wanted to get on that flight.