Fox News host Tucker Carlson had an undisclosed accident on Monday followed by emergency back surgery, according to a leaked audio of a meeting he had with his staff.
He made the comments on Wednesday during a private meeting with his staff, hours after the surgery that was to correct an issue that had him in tremendous pain, The Daily Mail reported.
The host did Wednesday’s show hours after the surgery but took off on Thursday, having Jesse Waters cover for him.
He suffered an undisclosed injury on Monday that prompted him to seek treatment and got the emergency surgery on Wednesday morning, calling it “one of the most traumatic things that’s ever happened to me in my whole life, ever,” in the leaked remarks to his staff.
Carlson, a teetotaler, said that even high doses of prescription opioids Dilaudid and fentanyl failed to ease the pain, but said that his experience with the powerful drugs gave him a new appreciation for their ability to “extinguish the spirit within you.”
It’s unclear what triggered the need for the surgery, but Carlson is believed to have suffered from serious back pain for several weeks before things took a turn for the worse early this week.
After his Election Day show on Tuesday, his executive producer rushed him to a hospital in Florida, where he underwent the surgery the next day before returning to the airwaves later Wednesday night, according to Page Six.
“That was one of the most intense experiences of my life,” he said in the audio that was obtained by Vice.
“They hit me up, they told me this morning, with such a huge dose of Dilaudid, which is more powerful than morphine, when I got there, that I had trouble breathing,” the host said.
“Scared the s**t out of me. Didn’t have any effect at all. And then all night, I lay there, the nurse finally upped my dosage of Dilaudid to the point where every eight minutes I hit it and it was like getting shot. Just like bam, feel it hit me, and it didn’t touch the pain,” he said.
“I didn’t sleep literally one second last night, and I was on so many f**king drugs,” the host said. “It was just like, more drugs, more drugs. I didn’t know that there was untreatable pain.”
“They gave me fentanyl this morning, that did not cure it—they gave me intravenous fentanyl,” he said.
“And they gave me all kinds of other s**t. I was like, ‘Fine, go for it.’ And then it only ended when they gave me propofol, and I went out. Then I woke up and I was like, I felt totally fine. I haven’t taken a single Advil.”
The host said he has no intention of ever taking opioids again, saying that they took the spirit from him.
“I had this spirit of fear within me, which I don’t have,” he said. “I’m not bragging, I don’t have it. And I think you can feel it. I don’t have it, I think that’s it.”
Tucker appears to be doing well and just decided to take a few more days to recover.