The media mogul, 65, is finally in the clear after dealing with a “serious” case of pneumonia that left her doctor terrified.
Winfrey said that she had to head to the hospital after returning from a trip abroad.
“I thought I had a cold, but it wasn’t a cold,” she told Ellen DeGeneres on Monday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I ended up in the emergency room, and they said, ‘You have pneumonia.’ And I go home with pneumonia, and pneumonia’s nothing to play with y’all. It’s very serious.”
Winfrey said she started on a round of antibiotics, but they “weren’t working.” She ended up seeing a lung specialist who was shocked at the severity of her case.
“I went back for another CT scan, and they said it’s actually worse, you should see a lung specialist. So I go into the lung specialist, and I say, ‘I’ve got a little rattling,’ and he puts the stethoscope [on my neck] and I see the ‘Oh s—’ face. It is like, ‘Oh, my — something’s wrong with you.’ I can see it, he didn’t hide it,” she said, laughing.
Winfrey’s pneumonia was so bad that the doctor told her, “You must cancel everything.”
“I never cancel anything; I work all the time when I’m sick!” she said. “He goes, ‘You must cancel everything, you cannot fly for a month.’ ”
But the time off worked, and after a week of rest, medicine and spending some quality time with an inhaler, Winfrey’s doctor was visibly revealed that he was able to help THE Oprah Winfrey.
“When I walked in and I was better, he thanked me three times for getting better, and said, ‘Can I have a hug?’ and I could tell that he was like, ‘Not on my watch is this going to happen,’ ” she said.
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Pneumonia is a bacterial infection, unlike the common cold or the flu, which are viral infections. The symptoms go away in a few days or weeks with antibiotics, though sufferers may continue to feel achy and tired for a month or more, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Don’t play with it and get your flu shots and get your pneumonia shots,” Winfrey said. “It’s nothing to play with.”
The WW shareholder and spokesperson said the entire experience “changed the way I look at wellness.” Now that she’s cleared to fly again, Winfrey is going to share her outlook on wellness with the country during her nine-city 2020 Vision tour.
“I’m trying to motivate people to take care of themselves and not get pneumonia,” she joked.