Fantasy author Mercedes Lackey has made a full recovery, after a horrifying incident at Gen Con. Convention goers and fans were shocked to learn that Ms. Lackey was taken from the Indianapolis Marriott Hotel to the hospital. It was believed at first that she had suffered a stroke, but instead it turned out she had been poisoned by her hotel room.
Gen Con, the longest running gaming convention in fandom, was this weekend, from Thursday, August 2, to Sunday, August 5, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mercedes Lackey (Misty to family, friends, and fans) checked into the recently renovated Marriott Hotel on Wednesday, August 1. As one of the more important guests at the convention, she was lodged in one of the rooms which had just been redone. Thursday, after a busy day at the convention, she went to bed in her room. She awoke Friday morning unrested, as if she had gotten no sleep. She reset her alarm and went back to bed for an hour. An hour later, still feeling unrested, she set her alarm for another hour. When she finally got up, she felt ill, not just tired.
Mercedes Lackey reported what happened next on her Facebook page.
“I realized I was getting more and more unsteady, dizzy, disoriented, losing my balance. I began talking to myself and heard myself slurring words. I realized I was in trouble, tried to dial 911, got 977 instead, hit the 0 on the house phone, told them I thought I was having a stroke, and please call emergency services.
By the time they got there I was hallucinating. When I opened the door to the paramedics, and the hotel manager, I saw the medics, the manager, and standing between them a beautiful woman with long sandy-brown wavy hair in an astronaut’s orange jumpsuit. I explained what my symptoms were as best I could and THEY were convinced I was having a stroke. Meanwhile, Judy Chambers who had been gofering for me had arrived, with Bill Fawcett. Bill took over in his usual efficient manner (and he is literally my guardian angel in this).”
Luckily, it was not a stroke. The recently renovated room was outgassing. The new paint, carpeting, and furniture were all outgassing. (Think of “new car smell,” only a hundredfold worse, and no way to open the windows.” The room had not been sufficiently aired out before she checked in and it had no way to vent the gas building up. Ms. Lackey is, in her own words, “incredibly sensitive to that stuff.”
The Indianapolis Marriott bragged “with newly redesigned rooms and meeting space, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown is the perfect home base for your next business or leisure trip. Our hotel boasts extensive renovated event venues with over 40,000 square feet to bring meetings and celebrations to life.” Unfortunately, Mercedes Lackey was placed in one of the extensively renovated rooms. Extensively renovated and insufficiently aired out.
By the time she got to the hospital, Ms. Lackey “was hallucinating like it was Woodstock.” Barely able to speak, she was subjected to MRI, EKG, and EEG tests. Author/editor Bill Fawcett, the husband of author Jody Lynn Nye, stayed with Mercedes Lackey until she was able to sleep and acted as her advocate in the hospital. He also spoke with the hotel manager and learned the source of the problem. After some rest, the hallucinations and slurred speech began to clear up, and Sunday she was released from the hospital to return to the con. Mercedes Lackey was given a different room at the hotel. Unless she suffers any relapse, she was scheduled to return home to Oklahoma today.