"You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That's how it was like for me."
Ellen DeGeneres returned to her daily talk show on Wednesday for the first time since testing positive for Covid back in December -- and detailed what she went through while battling the virus.
Production on the show was shut down after the host was diagnosed with coronavirus and while Ellen didn't experience a lot of the symptoms that come with Covid, the one she did come down with really did a number on her.
"There's a lot of negative things going on, so I want to talk about something positive: my Covid test," she said on Wednesday, in front of a virtual audience. "I test positive before the holidays, I'm fine now, everything's good, all clear. I want to thank everyone who reached out with kind words with support, I wish I could hug every single one of you, but that would have been dangerous and illegal, probably."
She explained she was in hair and makeup in December when her assistant ran into her dressing room and told her her test results. "Then everyone around me ran away," she joked. "They told [producer] Andy Lassner and when he heard he literally ran full speed off the lot. I didn't realize you could run. Just the slow walking. You left so fast you forgot your phone!"
DeGeneres said she left the studio immediately and the Covid safety team alerted anyone she had been on contact with.
"I went home, I had to quarantine and Portia made me sleep in a different room, on a different bed, because she wanted the race car bed all to herself," cracked DeGeneres, before getting more serious about her symptoms.
"This is my experience with COVID. The first three days I slept for 16 hours a day and then on the fourth day I woke up with back spasms, and I thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird because I was in a different bed, but it just persisted," she explained.
"The doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers. Jackpot, this thing is finally paying off," she continued. "The painkillers did not help, my back got worse. It felt like I cracked a rib. You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That's how it was like for me. Now I know how you feel when I make you laugh."
Eventually, she was put on steroids, which seemed to really help.
"But here's the thing about steroids, they make you very speedy and really edgy, so the best thing to do was to stay on the muscle relaxers and pain kills with the steroid pills to balance it out," she continued. "I don't know if that's the best way, I'm not a doctor but that's what I did."
As she talked to other people who had Covid or knew people who had tested positive, she found a lot of them had a similar experience when it came to back pain.
"It's the only symptom I had," she added. "I didn't have a headache, I didn't have a fever, I didn't lose my sense of taste, although I did wear socks with Crocs for a day, so you be the judge."
While she felt "very fortunate and very, very blessed" that's all she went through, DeGeneres added she still has no idea how she caught the virus in the first place.
"I wear a mask, I wash my hands, I only lick 3 or 4 door handles, so it's a mystery to me how it happened," she joked.
"I know people are struggling with this illness right now, my heart goes out to all of them," said Ellen as she concluded her monologue. "As always, I hope this show will give you some joy, brighten your day."