In his first interview since undergoing emergency surgery last month to correct a painful blocked intestine, Sajak shared details of his medical condition, his Wheel plans and how he thinks co-host Vanna White did in his absence. (Watch a clip from the interview below.)
Sajak provided details of his illness for the first time today, saying at one point the pain was so bad he was in a fetal position, and that when doctors administered a painkilling drug the game show host thought he had died. “Suddenly, I wasn’t thinking about the pain,” he said. “I just had these beautiful pastels and lovely faces coming out of it.
“In the background, I could hear my wife and daughter talking,” he added, “It sounded like they were a mile off, but they were right next to me. … And I remember thinking, not in a morbid way: ‘I think this must be death. This must be what death is like.’ Hearing their voices, I thought, ‘Boy, their lives are gonna change now.’ And I felt badly for them. I didn’t feel badly about dying. I felt badly that they were gonna have to deal with the aftermath. As it turned out, I was just high.”
Sajak said his recovery has been swift. “I’ve actually felt ridiculously good for several weeks. 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.” He said he’d continue to host the show until “I’m doddering.”
As for his old pal White’s stand-in performance, Sajak said: “What a trouper. And I’m not being condescending in any way ’cause it would’ve been well within her rights to say: ‘Wait a minute, this is not what you’re payin’ 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.”