"He puts the stethoscope here, and I see the 'Oh, s--t' face," the TV personality recalls.
Oprah Winfrey had such a serious health scare, she was inspired to go on a national tour and urge people to take better care of themselves.
The multimedia mogul stopped by "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" just one day after getting clearance from her doctor to chat with her good friend and former neighbor about how she got so sick and how terrified her physician really was.
Shortly after returning from an epic trip on David Geffen's boat with Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Bradley Cooper and Gayle King, Oprah started to feel ill. "I came back from overseas, and I thought I had a cold, but it wasn't a cold," she explained. "I ended up in the emergency room, and they said, 'You have pneumonia.' And I go home with pneumonia."
Looking at the audience, Winfrey took a second to make a PSA. "Pneumonia is nothing to play with, y'all. It is very serious," she said, urging the crowd to get their vaccinations.
Oprah told Ellen she was "on antibiotics for a week" but that they "weren't working," so she was unknowingly getting sicker and sicker. "I went back for another CT scan, and they said, 'It's actually worse. You should see a lung specialist,'" she recalled. And that lung specialist had one goal: Do not let Oprah die.
"So I go into the lung specialist -- I love the lung specialist, Dr. K, you're fabulous -- but I go in, and I said, 'Look, I've got a little rattling [in my lungs],'" she explained. "He puts the stethoscope here, and I see the 'oh, shit' face. It is the 'oh my God, something's wrong with you' [face]. I can see it! He didn't hide it. And I said, 'I told you, I sound like a rattlesnake in there.'"
"He immediately said, 'You must cancel everything.' I've never canceled anything in my life!" Winfrey said. It was a statement Ellen could corroborate: "No, you work when you're sick." Oprah said Dr. K drew 18 vials of blood and forbade her from flying for a whole month. "I thought, 'This must be very serious 'cause I saw his face,'" she noted.
"He called me every day to make sure I was using the inhaler and taking the right antibiotics, and when I walked in and I was better, he thanked me three times for getting better and said, 'Can I have a hug? Can I have a hug?'" Oprah recalled. "I could tell that he was like, 'Not on my watch is this gonna happen.'"
All jokes aside, Oprah said the experience "changed the way I look at wellness, so now I'm going on tour to talk about it."
"2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus" kicks off next year.