Chris Jericho has opened up regarding his health scare at the end of 2021.
In early December is was announced that Chris Jericho and Fozzy had to cancel dates on his European tour due to Jericho being hospitalized with a non-COVID related illness. Jericho was released from the hospital a few days later, but details surrounding his hospitalized were scarce.
Tony Khan recently let it be known that Jericho was suffering from blood clots.
With Khan giving a little information Jericho's health scare, Jericho took his his podcast, Talk Is Jericho, to tell the whole story.
"I was in the hospital for blood clots, but it wasn't just blood clots. It was actually a pulmonary embolism," he stated. "Pulmonary embolism basically means blood clots in your lungs. That's what I had, a whole bunch of them, which are now pretty much gone, all of them are gone, which is great to hear."
Jericho recalled that the UK tour was at the end of November 2021 and that's when he first started to experience issues.
"At New Castle, when we were doing the show, I felt a little winded, which is weird because I'm never winded on stage. Sometimes you play a venue that has a low roof or something along those lines and you get super hot to where it's hard to breathe, this was not that. The venue in New Castle was a nice place, high roof, not super hot, but I found myself searching and gasping for breath during songs to where it was hard to sing the lyrics. Didn't think much of it, had a couple more shows in Ireland, but the same thing, kind of feeling short of breath," he recalled. "In this time frame when I was feeling short of breath, I was talking to my doctor at home in Tampa who said it could be blood clots. She said, 'When you get back home to Tampa, we'll put you through cat scans and see where you're at. If you start feeling short of breath, go to the hospital.'"
The next show, Jericho experienced the same issues and was feeling hot with the roof being lower.
"I finished the show and the doctor said, 'You have to go to the hospital right now.' We were in Bournemouth and then headed to London for a press date," he recalled.
Jericho said he wanted to wait until London to go to the hospital. They ended up cutting songs from the Bournemouth show. Jericho got in touch with a "Rock Doc," who is a doctor that will travel to you. Jericho made it to London and stayed at the Hard Rock.
"The doctor came, took some blood, and I told him what was going on. He said, 'we're going to book you for a heart scan later on. We'll take some blood and see what's going on.' I was having trouble walking. I'd be walking across the lobby and it felt like I was walking up a mountain. Huffing, puffing out of breath, something was really wrong. We canceled the press date. We were supposed to have a listening party, that got canceled due to COVID. We were supposed to do a sideline reporting thing at one of the soccer games, and it got canceled, I couldn't do it. About an hour later, I got a call from the doctor who said, 'you have blood clots, we can tell by the blood that we drew, you have to go directly to the hospital,'" he recalled.
Jericho continued, describing his trip to the hospital.
"Pretty scary. I'm in London, thousands of miles away from home, and now I have to go to the hospital. The cool thing was, the Rock Doc worked for a medical concierge. You pay and the service they do takes care of everything. Thank goodness because it's December when COVID is still going on, the hospitals are full, and the last thing you want to do is go to a hospital and sit in the hallway. They were able to book me in a private hospital, get me in quicker, and away you go. I get to the hospital and I can barely walk. Walking across the lobby to get to the car to go to the hospital was a real task, it was terrifying. Three steps and I was huffing, puffing, my heart s pounding. 'Something is really wrong here.' The walk from the car to the hospital, same thing, might as well been a thousand miles if it was 100 feet, not even that, 50 feet. I walk inside, I'm trying to be cool, but I'm a little bit scared. I'm thinking, 'Who knows what it is.' You always think, 'They'll give me a shot and I'll be on my way.' Not necessarily the case," he said.
Jericho thought he would take some pills and be on his way.
"They go, take me for the CT scan, that happens, and then they tell me very soon after, 'you have a pulmonary embolism.' What does that mean? It means your lungs are filled with blood clots and you are now staying in the hospital. They went and did an ultrasound and found there was evidence that a clot had been in my throat. If a clot gets in your throat, that's getting into stroke territory. The reason why these are so dangerous is if the blood clot breaks free and gets into your lungs, you can have serious issues. If it breaks free and gets into your heart, you can have serious issues. If it gets to your brain, serious issues," he stated.
Jericho didn't want to use a wheelchair or put on the gown they provided for him, because that meant a more permanent stay in his mind.
"They come in to give me blood thinner, but it's not a pill, it's a shot," he recalled. "The shot goes right into my thigh. It hurt like a motherfucker, but I felt, 'I have these blood thinners running through my system, it's step one of getting better.' Another thing though, my oxygen levels, they are supposed to be around 100. Mine was down to 92. They said, 'if it goes lower, we're going to have to put you on oxygen.' That was terrifying because, at this time, people were going on oxygen and if that wasn't working, they were going on ventilators because they weren't getting enough oxygen in their blood. I'm starting to freak out because I don't want to end up on a ventilator because they are bad."
Jericho thought he'd be out of the hospital in time for the next show but the doctor told him he had to stay to make sure the blood thinners were working. He got another blood thinner shot and had to cancel the show in Wales.
"What do you do? What do you say? What do you tell people? How do you let them know that the singer of the band is in the hospital without causing a panic? We just let them know that the show was being canceled, I don't remember what the reasoning for it was. We should have just said a COVID reason or whatever, but I don't think we said anything," he recalled. "My oxygen level is going down and that's when they said, 'we're going to put you on oxygen tonight.' They stuck the tube into my nose and that was a freakout because we're going downhill, now there's a tube up my nose and it's getting worse and worse."
Jericho then had to cancel the show the next day in Nottingham.
"We put out a statement that 'Chris Jericho is in the hospital,' which is probably the dumbest thing we could have done because now my kids find out about it, everyone is panicking, I'm getting all these calls. I got 500 texts from people who were concerned. I'm trying to keep it low, no one really knows why I was in the hospital to this day, that's why I'm telling the story. I was always planning on doing it, but I was prompted by Tony's announcement. I'm calling Tony, telling him. My dad, my wife, everyone else. Everyone is concerned, people are offering to come over to London to rescue me. The band is stuck on the bus at the O2 (Arena), they have nowhere to go and there are no shows," he said.
Jericho described his stay in the hospital and how he was watching documentaries and eating the same food every night, wondering if the menu would ever change.
"Finally, the doctor comes in and says the blood clots are going down, but I have to have my lungs and my heart checked and all these other tests," he said before noting that he was sent to a higher-up cardiologist in London.
"The morning of the 12th comes and they say I'm allowed to leave, but they don't want me to sing that night," he said. Fozzy ended up doing a listening party and karaoke for that night. At the arena, Jericho still had trouble getting up the stairs and used the freight elevator to get to the stage and back down. He was recovering, but not fully recovered.
"I was told I couldn't fly home until my oxygen levels were high enough. We knew the blood thinners were working for the clots, but they had to make sure I could breathe properly," he said before saying that getting discharged was one of the greatest moments of his life.
Everyone else went home but Jericho ended up staying in the UK, which he said he didn't mind.
"I get back home to Tampa, I talk to Tony and we decided I would stay off (TV) until Christmas. I don't know if I can wrestle again or not because you can't wrestle on heavy blood thinners," he said.
Jericho found a medical concierge in Tampa and they measure his visceral fat, which was too high. Losing visceral fat meant losing weight.
"Was I too big? Absolutely. Overweight? I guess. Ever out of shape cardio-wise? No, I was never blowing up. I gained weight after I worked with Kenny Omega at the Tokyo Dome. I was going through a Bruiser Brody phase and I thought, 'I'm not tall like Brody, but I can be bigger than all these Japanese guys because the way things are now, I'm a taller guy.' Japanese appreciate the bulkier physiques. 'Let me get bigger and beat the crap out of everybody,' which is what I did and it worked out to where I had three Tokyo Dome main events, I just never lost the weight. The pandemic comes and you don't realize it," he said.
Jericho would end up losing 11 pounds in the first week and has lost 32 pounds since January. He is down to 209 pounds.
When it came to wrestling, Jericho had to work around wrestling on blood thinners, which he went down from 10 milligrams to five milligrams. He learned that he would be fine if he didn't take a blood thinner 36 hours before an event. He talked with doctors to keep an eye on anything. His tests were coming up well during this time.
Jericho learned that he had a "factor five gene" in his blood, which was contributing to the blood clots.
Jericho stayed out of the ring from November 13, 2021 to January 26, 2022, though he didn't tag in while teaming with Santana & Ortiz. His first official match back was February 16. During this time, he was involved in a storyline with Eddie Kingston and the Inner Circle, which led to the formation of the Jericho Appreciation Society. You can learn more about the formation of the JAS by clicking here.
Jericho is currently down to 2.5 milligrams of blood thinner, twice a day and if things keep moving in the right direction, there is a chance he won't have to take them at all.
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