Serene Branson, the CBS Los Angeles reporter who began speaking gibberish during a live telecast after the Grammys, says she was scared and confused during what turns out to have been an extreme migraine.
In an interview on CBS' "Early Show" Friday, Branson said watching the clip is "troubling."
"I know what was going through my mind at that time," Branson said. "I was terrified. I was scared, I was confused. I didn't know what was going on."
Branson, who said she was unaware that the video had gone viral until days after the Grammys, returned to work Thursday after tests determined she suffered a migraine aura, which can trigger stroke-like symptoms.
In her live shot, she said, she was trying to say "Grammy," and "Lady Antebellum," but could only make nonsensical sounds.
"I knew something wasn't right as soon as I opened my mouth," Branson said. "I hadn't been feeling well a little bit before the live shot. I had a headache, my vision was very blurry. I knew something wasn't right, but I just thought I was tired. So when I opened my mouth, I thought, 'This is more than just being tired. Something is terribly wrong.'"
KCBS producer Kerry Maller, who was on location with Branson, said that after the live shot she "dropped the microphone and got very wobbly." Maller dialed 911 and paramedics examined Branson and determined she was fine.
"I was scared, nervous, confused, exhausted, and in an evening dress in the back of an ambulance," Branson said. "I said, 'I just want to go home. I just want to go home.'"'
Meanwhile, the clip went viral, with many people and news outlets speculating that she may have had an on-air stroke.
UCLA Medical Center neurosurgeon Neil Martin met with Branson and concluded she had a migrane aura. "It's as if there's a wave that's shutting down functions through the brain over a period of minutes," he told the "Early Show."
Branson didn't learn the clip had spread online because she spent three days undegoing medical testing, she said.
"I hadn't been on the Internet," she said. "Obviously, I looked at my phone and it was inundated with phone calls. I spoke with my best friend in the morning, obviously my mother at work immediately, but I spoke with my friend, and I didn't have any idea at that point because, obviously, work and my family were so concerned about my health at that point. But my friend said something about seeing it on the news. And I said, 'the news?' And even at that point I said, 'Gosh, I hope it doesn't make it on YouTube."'
Branson said her parents had seen what happened live.
"My parents watch every night," Branson said. "I talked with my mother earlier in the day. She was excited to see how my hair looked that night at the Grammys. And I know she'd been watching and she was terrified. But interestingly enough, she — I talked to her the next day, and she said, 'This is a condition that I think I may have had. So let's get you right to a neurologist and get you checked out.'"'