Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, of The Social Network and Being the Ricardos, has revealed he suffered a stroke last November.
In a new interview with The New York Times, the 61-year-old, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for The Social Network in 2011, and holds three Golden Globes and five Emmys, revealed the experience was so intense, he’s still feeling the after effect.
“There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again,” Sorkin said.
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The writer revealed that the stroke came on two months before rehearsals for his upcoming musical – a re-written version of Camelot. He is now preparing for the opening of the musical, which is his fourth Broadway production on Broadway.
Sorkin said symptoms showed up in the middle of the night when he noticed he kept crashing into walls on his way to the kitchen. The next day, he found himself continually spilling a glass of orange juice in his home office.
When he arrived at the doctor, they said his blood pressure was so high, he was “supposed to be dead”.
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Since the stroke, Sorkin has not been able to taste food properly. For a month afterwards, he was slurring words and had trouble typing. It was only recently that he built up the coordination to be able to sign his name.
According to Better Health Victoria, “losing interest in food or eating too much” are common emotional effects of stroke. ”Swallowing issues” are also considered physical effects of stroke.
Sorkin, who dated Czech model Paulina Porizkova briefly last year, also splitting from the model the same year, said the stroke has made him make some major lifestyle changes.
“Mostly it was a loud wake-up call,” he said. “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 has been a heavy smoker since high school, and found giving up cigarettes difficult, given they were deeply linked to his creative process.
“It was just part of it, the way a pen was part of it,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I’ll start to salivate.”
Now Sorkin has given up smoking, works out twice a day and eats a healthier diet. “I take a lot of medicine. You can hear the pills rattling around in me,” he added.
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