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Pat Sajak Opens Up About Life-Threatening Health Scare and Retirement Rumors

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“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak spoke candidly about his recent emergency surgery and how it will affect his career with the game show he has hosted since 1982.

In November, Sajak underwent emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine.

During his absence from work, Vanna White, the longtime letter-turner on “Wheel of Fortune,” stepped in to host.

Now that Sajak has had time to recover from the life-threatening health scare, he is back in the studio and says he is “feelin’ great.”

“I’ve actually felt ridiculously good for several weeks,” Sajak said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I’ve been back in the studio actually, doing shows. Even spinning the wheel and, you know, nothing has popped. So I think it’s OK.”

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Sajak recalled the day that he returned home from a walk with his daughter and experienced such “horrific pain” in his stomach that he went to the emergency room.

“I didn’t know what it [was] — but within two and a half hours, I was in surgery,” he said. “It was that quick and intense.”

Doctors diagnosed Sajak with a blocked intestine and whisked him away into emergency surgery.

The game show host, trying to cope with the pain, recalled the medical staff giving him various pain-relieving drugs, but nothing worked.

“You couldn’t do anything. I was in [a] fetal position, lying on the bed,” he said. “They try to give you various drugs for the pain. And none of it — none — was working. 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.”

In his medically drug-induced state, Sajak recalled thinking of his wife and daughter and how they would be left to sort things out after his death.

“In the background, I could hear my wife and daughter talking. It sounded like they were a mile off, but they were right next to me,” he said. “They were talking to each other. And I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ‘I think this must be death. This must be what death is like.'”

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Sajak began to feel bad at the thought of how his death would affect his family.

“Hearing their voices, I thought, ‘Boy, their lives are going to change now.’ And I felt badly for them,” he said. “I didn’t feel badly about dying. I felt badly that they were going to have to deal with the aftermath. As it turned out, I was just high.”

Now that Sajak has been cleared to resume his life as normal, he is cracking jokes about his return to “Wheel of Fortune.”

“I’m as good or bad as new, and that’s great,” he said. “I still have my wits about me. They didn’t remove that, so I’ll be selling vowels for a long time.”

Sajak credited White for her hosting efforts while he was away, but he seems happy to be back in the saddle. He would like to continue hosting for as long as he is able.

“I’ve got to do this until — you know — I’m doddering,” Sajak said. “I think I still do it at a high level. 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.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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