In a recent YouTube video posted to The Pump, the actor, 76, noted that he had the procedure shortly before he started filming his 2019 movie, Terminator 6. However, according to Schwarzenegger, there were a few complications during the open heart surgery.
“I was really freaking out. I woke up and all of a sudden the doctors were in front of me saying, ‘I’m so sorry but it was unlike what we planned,’” he said.
Schwarzenegger added that, while the surgery was supposed to be non-invasive, his doctors told him that they made a mistake that caused “internal bleeding,” so he had to be “opened up very quickly to save [his] life”.
He went on to reflect on his feelings after the mistake was made during the surgery, as he called the experience a “disaster”. However, he said he had a change in perspective when he was continuing his recovery process.
“The bottom line is that you cannot roll the clock back. It was a disaster. I was in the middle of a disaster. So now how do I get out of it? You have to shift gears,” he said. “Collect yourself, shift gears and say: ‘Okay what I need to do now is I’ve get out of this hospital.’”
Regarding what he did to get out of the hospital, Schwarzenegger said that his first step was to “get out of bed” and “start walking”. The YouTube video went on to include footage of the actor moving with a walker in the hospital, while he specified that after taking his first 10 steps, he took even longer walks, some of which were around the nurses’ station in the hospital.
He also explained how he stayed motivated, adding: “And then called my buddies in and I said, you guys have to fire me up, you have to count the amount of steps I’m doing.” The video went on to show clips of his friends walking in the hallways with him.
The former California governor said that while his friends told him he was “doing well” on his walks, he felt like he “looked like an idiot waddling around in the hallways”. However, he still acknowledged that these walks were a vital part of his recovery.
“The bottom line was I was getting going because the doctors said you have to exercise your lungs because if you get pneumonia, you can die,” he said. “So I wanted to get really going with exercise, get out of the hospital as quickly as possible.”
The former body builder also recalled how he wanted to “get going” with his training again, which encouraged him to exercise so he could leave the hospital. He noted that, three months after surgery, he was going to start filming Terminator 6, and “had to be in shape” for that.
“I had to move around, run around, lift things up, do the fight scenes,” he said. “So, we did it because I had a positive attitude, I knew exactly how I was gonna get there, I had the support system, because none of this we can do by ourselves.”
He concluded that, by the time he started shooting Terminator 6, he was “all back together again”.
This isn’t the first time that Schwarzenegger has spoken candidly about his physical health. During an interview with Men’s Health in May, he opened up about his fitness routine, with the actor specifying that he does 25 to 30 total sets a day. He added that he isn’t as focused on building muscles and that his point of training is to “stay alive, to be able to do my movies”.
Elsewhere in the conversation, he candidly addressed his history with drug use, and encouraged bodybuilders not to use steroids. He claimed that bodybuilders nowadays seem to be accessing performance-enhancing drugs in a different way than he used to, before pointing out the dangers of taking steroids without the advice of a medical professional.
“Bodybuilding always, always was considered a safe sport. But now it’s not. Now people are dying - they’re dying because of overdoses of drugs and they don’t know what the f*** they’re doing,” Schwarzenegger said. “They’re listening to charlatans. If I want to get medical advice from a doctor, I go to UCLA or I go to the Cleveland Clinic.”
The Predator star confessed that given his history with steroids, he knew he wasn’t the best person to be sending the message about drug usage. However, he still encouraged bodybuilders to avoid steroids and described the ways in which they can damage people’s bodies.
“Anytime you abuse the body, you’re going to regret it,” he said. “So I just want young people to know that I have seen people getting kidney transplants and suffering tremendously from it.”