Al Roker says his recent hospital stints have been “a tough slog,” but he is pushing through it thanks to an outpouring of well wishes and support from his wife, three children and his “TODAY” colleagues.
Roker shared an update on the “TODAY” show via video call from his home on Monday after spending most of the past month at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
“Listen, it’s been a tough slog. I’m not going to deny this,” Roker said. “It’s been the hardest one yet, and you know I’ve had my share of surgeries. It gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks. I’m a very fortunate person.”
Regular visits to the hospital by his colleagues have helped bolster his spirits.
“You guys have been terrific coming by the hospital,” he said while wearing a shirt from his alma mater, SUNY Oswego. “Hoda (Kotb) was actually, I think, named as an honorary doctor. She would literally show up. She did a ‘Ho-dini,’ the way she would just be there.”
Roker, 68, is not able to return to “TODAY” just yet, as he’s focused on regaining his strength. He also said he had been considering getting a knee replacement procedure next month but is pushing that to later in 2023.
“You lose a certain amount of muscle mass for every week you’re in the hospital, and I was in the hospital for four weeks,” he said. “It’s just a certain amount of weakness. I’m doing physical therapy every day, occupational therapy. I’ve got to just get my strength back.
“I’ve got a number of issues, but I feel good, I feel strong, and every day I feel a little bit better,” he continued. “I made dinner last night. I just feel like this is going to be a little bit of a slog, but there are a lot of people who have to deal with a lot more with a lot fewer resources. I’m very fortunate and very blessed to be able to have the resources I’ve had.”
Roker was first admitted to the hospital last month due to an issue with blood clots in his leg and lungs, which forced him to miss hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in 27 years.
He was then able to return home on Thanksgiving Day to be with his family for dinner after being released from the hospital.
However, he returned for a second stint in the hospital for unspecified reasons at the end of last month, which caused him to miss the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Nov. 30.
Roker then shared the happy news on Thursday that he was back home again from his second hospital stay.
“Home! So incredibly grateful to family, friends, medical folks, @todayshow family and all your thoughts and prayers,” he wrote on Instagram.
He shared his gratitude in his update on Dec. 12 for his three children as well as his wife, Deborah Roberts, who is a journalist with ABC News.
“What’s been great, when the doctors come in, her journalistic chops (kick in),” Al said. “He’ll go, ‘So, do you have any questions?’ And she whips out a list of about 20 questions and then the doctor says, ‘Uh, you?’ ‘Uh, no I’m good myself.’”