Pat Sajak appeared on Friday’s Good Morning America to give his first interview since undergoing surgery for a blocked intestine, a procedure that famously took him off the Wheel of Fortune set for several weeks.
In an emotional segment, the 73-year-old game show host recalled the entire terrifying ordeal: “My blood pressure had fallen dramatically. [The doctors] had to wait till it lifted a bit so they could do the surgery. … I was in the fetal position, lying on the bed. … And then they gave me something, I couldn’t even tell you the name of it, but suddenly, I wasn’t thinking about the pain. I just had these beautiful pastels and lovely faces coming out of it.”
Though it turns out he was “just high” from the medication, Sajak was convinced he was going to die. “I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ‘This must be what death is like,'” he said. “I didn’t feel badly about dying. I felt badly that [my wife and daughter] were going to have to deal with the aftermath.”
During Sajak’s hospitalization, letter turner extraordinaire Vanna White assumed hosting duties, for which Sajak called her a “trouper.” As he explained, “It would’ve been well within her rights to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is not what you’re paying me for. This is not what I do. And I’d rather not. But she’s a team player. And she was very nervous and not comfortable.”
“There’s not much I could tell her,” he admitted. “She knows the way the show works. I just tried to be encouraging and help out on that level,” he added. “But she had fun with it.”
As for when we should expect Sajak to retire from the show he’s hosted since 1981, it’s too soon to say. “I think I still do it at a high level,” he said. “But you know, I can’t do it another 40 years, I know that, because I’d be 110, and that would be a record.”
Hit PLAY on the video above to watch Sajak’s full interview, then drop a comment with your thoughts below: How has White been doing as host?