'Really lucky': Jerry Lawler talks recovery after stroke

'Really lucky': Jerry Lawler talks recovery after stroke
Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 at 10:15 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Another serious health scare for Jerry "The King" Lawler, and another miraculous recovery.

Like a lot of guys, Jerry hadn't been to the doctor in a while and he'd stopped taking the blood pressure medication prescribed to him after his 2012 heart attack.

Last month, his body put the smackdown on him.

"I'm doing good," said Lawler when WMC Action News 5 talked to him Thursday at his East Memphis home, "I'm doing real good."

That wasn't the case three weeks ago on March 21. While at home with fiancée  Lauryn, it became obvious something was seriously wrong with the wrestling superstar.

"The right side of my mouth was drooped all the way down," he said, "and I turned to talk and I couldn't say anything.  Lauryn screamed, 'oh my, God, you're having a stroke'."

Lauryn rushed Jerry to Baptist East Hospital where doctors discovered his blood pressure was 246 over 146.  He was diagnosed with a stroke, affecting the part of the brain that controls memory and speech.

"I couldn't talk," he said. "They would come and ask me questions, like who's the president?  Of course, I knew the answer, but I couldn't say it."

Jerry spent several days in intensive care.  Doctors told him it could take six months to a year for his voice to return.  Then suddenly, on day four – a miracle.

"Woke up at 8:45 Saturday morning," he said, "looked over at Lauryn and told her my birthday is November 1949.  I started talking normally.  The neurosurgeon came in and said they couldn't understand it, that it's just one of those things you can't explain.  Guy said I was made out of steel."

Jerry told this story while standing next to a life-sized Superman in his garage.  An avid collector of superhero memorabilia, he was even wearing a shirt with the Superman logo on it during his interview.

The wrestling legend wasted no time getting back to work after his stroke.  Two weeks later, he hosted the Wrestlemania Hall of Fame event in New Orleans.

The night before, he even participated in a wrestling match, something he admits he didn't tell his doctors about beforehand.

"I realize I was really lucky," he said.  "I've always felt blessed."

Six years ago, Jerry survived a heart attack during a wrestling match in Canada.  He was prescribed blood pressure medicine after the incident but had stopped taking it in recent months.

Like so many men, he hadn't been to the doctor in a while, either.  His body let him know that wasn't OK.

But always the champion, he refuses to quit even when life pins him down.

"I feel like it didn't even happen," he said.  "I don't feel any different.  My speech and my memory are fine.  So yeah, I'm blessed."

Up next for The King is a trip to Saudia Arabia in two weeks to host the World's Biggest Royal Rumble.

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