While Vanna White held down the fort on the Wheel of Fortune stage, host Pat Sajak recuperated from a recent emergency surgery—and now he's opening up about the experience. People reports the 73-year-old TV personality appeared on Good Morning America Friday, his first public sit-down since his November procedure for a blocked intestine. He said that day was an intense one, kicking off with "horrific pain" in his stomach after he'd taken a morning walk with his 24-year-old daughter. He was in the hospital a little more than two hours later for surgery, curled into a fetal position from that pain. He said none of the pain meds were working, until one finally did. "Suddenly, I wasn't thinking about the pain," he recalled. "I just had these beautiful pastels and lovely faces coming out of it."
He could also hear the muffled voices of his wife and daughter—and in that state, Sajak thought he'd come to the end of the road. "I remember thinking, not in a maudlin way, 'I think this must be death. This must be what death is like," he said. Turns out, "I was just high," he added. Now he feels "ridiculously good" and is back on the Wheel of Fortune set: "I've been back in the studio ... even spinning the wheel and ... nothing has popped." He also has big thanks for co-host White, who he noted stepped up to the plate in his absence, his first in 40 years of hosting the show. "What a trooper," he gushed. "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." (Read more Pat Sajak stories.)