Thomas Morris Jr., who worked in the post-office building that processed the Daschle letter, thought he might have had anthrax when he called 911 early in the morning Oct. 21. He died later that day. He was 55.
911: What's the problem?
MORRIS: Ah, I, I don't know if I have been, but I suspect that I might have been exposed to anthrax.
911: Do you know when?
MORRIS: It was last, what, last Saturday a week ago, last Saturday morning at work. I work for the Postal Service. I've been to the doctor. Ah, I went to the doctor Thursday, he took a culture, but he never got back to me with the results. I guess there was some hang-up over the weekend. I'm not sure. But in the meantime, I went through a achiness and headachiness. This started Tuesday. Now I'm having difficulty breathing, and just to move any distance, I feel like I'm going to pass out.
911: O.K., so you're aching, dizzy?
MORRIS: No, no, no, not now. But I am--my breathing is labored, and my chest feels constricted. Um, I am getting air, but to get up and walk and what have you, I feel like I might just pass out and stuff if I stand up too long, so I'm just chillin'.
911: O.K., which post office do you work at?
MORRIS: This is the post office downtown, um, Brentwood Road, Washington, D.C., post office. [pause] There was--ah, a woman found an envelope, and I was in the vicinity. It had powder in it. They never let us know whether the thing had anthrax or not. They never, ah, treated the people who were around this particular individual and the supervisor who handled the envelope. Ah, so I don't know if it is or not. I'm just--I haven't been able to find out. I've been calling. [That particular envelope tested negative.] But the symptoms that I've had are what was described to me in a letter they put out, almost to a tee. Except I haven't had any vomiting, except just until a few minutes ago. I'm not bleeding, and I don't have diarrhea. The doctor thought that it was just a virus or something, so we went with that, and I was taking Tylenol for the achiness. Except the shortness of breath now--I don't know--that's consistent with the anthrax.
911: O.K., you weren't the one that handled the envelope? It was somebody else?
MORRIS: No, I didn't handle it, but I was in the vicinity.
911: O.K., and do you know what they did with the envelope?
MORRIS: I don't know anything. I don't know anything. I couldn't even find out if the stuff was or wasn't. I was told that it wasn't, but I have a tendency not to believe these people.
911: And did you tell your doctor that this is what happened?
911: Did you tell the doctor?
MORRIS: Yes, I did. But he said that he didn't think that it was that. He thought that it was probably a virus or something.
911: I'm going to get the call in to the ambulance.