Montel Williams opened up about surviving a rare stroke on Thursday’s episode of Good Morning America.
The TV star endured his stroke in May while working out at a hotel’s gym in New York. He revealed to ABC News’ Robin Roberts he had always been in a hurry—”working out at the gym like a 25-year-old” and “traveling [to] three cities a week.”
He heard a pop while lifting his dumbbells and turned around to find where the noise was coming from. At that point he realized he was by himself then the entire room turned into “a blur” and he started drooling out of the side of his mouth. “A wave of like super tired went over me,” he explained.
He remembered an episode of Dr. Oz where he discussed strokes and realized that he was experiencing the same symptoms. He remembered that the TV doc advised those who experience strokes not to sleep or lay down so he kept himself up. “I could barely move,” he recalled. “I stood up and grabbed onto the walls. I had to wall-walk about 50 yards to the elevator.”
When he achieved his lodging room, he fell on the lounge chair and shouted for his wife, Tara, to call an ambulance. “If she had not been in that room, I would be dead today,” he said while getting a bit choked up.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 11, 2018
Fortunately, there was an emergency vehicle prepared to treat stroke patients only three traffic lights away. The rescue vehicle arrived within six minutes, and the crisis staff played out a CT filter in the city. Williams at that point began conversing with a specialist through a screen, who affirmed Williams was having a hemorrhagic stroke, which, as per the National Stroke Association, is less basic than an ischemic stroke.
“Had they treated me the way you treat an ischemic stroke, they would have killed me in the street,” he said, “because they would have given me blood thinners and I would have bled out.”
Williams was then raced to NewYork– Presbyterian Hospital, where he burned through six days in intensive care. He said his life partner remained close by the whole time.
“I can’t even remember what happened in those six days because I couldn’t move and I really couldn’t talk,” he emotionally recalled. “But I could hear her say ‘I love you’ before I went to sleep and ‘I love you’ when I wake up. And that’s what kept me going.”
After his hospital stay, he began his “intensive” recovery program. While he began the treatment in New York, he later made a trip to his wife’s main residence of Jackson, Tenn., where he burned through about a month and a half recouping and propelling himself in recuperation.
“I could be now left with a whole bunch of residual symptoms that—had I not worked as hard as I did, I would not have overcome,” he said.
Gratefully, Williams has recuperated and is currently back at work. He’s featuring in another show called Military Makeover.