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“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak opened up about his recent absence from the show after a health scare, and what it means in terms of his actual retirement from the show.
The 73-year-old host had never missed a taping in November, when a sudden pain in his stomach quickly turned into an emergency surgery to correct an intestinal blockage. Now he has a full recovery and is back in the studio doing what he does best.
“I just felt ridiculously good for a couple of weeks. I’ve been back in the studio and on to the spinning wheel, and nothing has popped up,” the Wheel of Fortune host, said on “Good Morning America.”
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The star recalled the day he went under the knife, as well as relatively normal. He woke up and took a walk with his 24-year-old daughter, Maggie, however, things took a turn when he arrived at the house and get ready for work. He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his stomach and was quickly rushed to the hospital. Within two hours he was in surgery.
“You don’t have to do. I was in the fetal position, lying on the bed,” he said. “They are trying different meds for the pain. And none of them work. And then they gave me a little bit, and I couldn’t even tell you the name of it, but all of a sudden, I wasn’t thinking about the pain. I have had these wonderful pastel colours and the beautiful faces coming out of it.”
The star noted that he did not fear for his life, but he was worried about his family, it must have been his last time on Earth.
“In the background, I could hear my wife and daughter to talk. It sounded as if she were a mile off, but they were right next to me. They were talking to each other. And I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ” I don’t think that this has got to be dead. This must be what death is, ” he said. “Hearing the sound of their voices,” I thought, ‘Boy, their life is going to change now.’ I felt so bad for both of them. I didn’t feel bad about dying. I felt bad that she was going to have to deal with the aftermath. As it turned out, I was just too high.”
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Fortunately, the doctors deemed the operation a success. However, because they do not know for sure what is the cause of the congestion, and he was ordered to adjust his life-style. As a result, he has been back on the job after a short pause, in which his longtime co-star, Vanna White took the job.
“I’m just as good or better than new, and that’s great. I still have my wits about me. They don’t remove it, so I will be selling pavers for a long, long time,” he said.
Vanna White, will be filled in for the “regular” Wheel of Fortune ” host Pat Sajak, when he had to undergo an emergency surgery.
As it is for White to take over his duties, Sajak says to her, the agreement was to fill in while he was away.
“What a trooper”. And I’m not being condescending in any way, as it would be in their rights to say, ‘Wait a minute, this isn’t what you’re paying me for it. This is not what I am doing. And I’d rather not, ” he says. “She is a team player. And she was very nervous and not very comfortable.”
The star, who has led the show since 1982, more than 7,000 episodes, admitted that the incident, as a parent, have helped him appreciate his position on the show, and what it means to be in front of people. However, he realizes that he simply can’t do it forever.
“I’m not getting any younger,” he said when asked how long he will remain on the host. “A couple of years ago?”
He goes on to say: “I am very, very sensitive about it… I would prefer to have a couple of years too early, than a couple of years too late for that.”
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When pressed, Sajak is estimated that he is expected to retire in two or three years.