By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Channel 2 Action News chief meteorologist Glenn Burns, in an exclusive interview, said Tuesday that he hopes to return on air Monday, April 17, six weeks after he had open-heart surgery to replace an aortic valve.
Burns, who joined WSB-TV 35 years ago, will not work full time the first few days, he said, easing himself in with just the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. UPDATE: On Wednesday, April 27, the doctor said he's doing well enough that he can go back to a full-time schedule, including the 11 p.m. newscast starting Monday, May 2.
Despite some complications early on that required several days in ICU and the installment of a pacemaker, he said he has been steadily improving. Still, he's hardly ready to run a marathon.
"It's extremely uncomfortable," Burns said. "I was kind of wired shut. I can't lift my arms over my head. I can't lift anything more than five pounds."
The discomfort means only three or four hours a night of meaningful sleep so far. He has also grown a beard he plans to shave off before he goes on air and has lost 15 pounds, much of it muscle mass. He is trying to eat regularly to gain back the pounds but he said he'll begin physical therapy soon to get himself back into shape. "I don't even recognize myself!" he said.
He remains mentally active, tracking the weather as always, posting reports on Facebook. He also received a couple of cute Cocker Spaniel puppies on Sunday as a distraction.
"It's weird," he said. "Your body and brain are not coordinated. My brain says, 'Let's do this and do that.' My body says, 'No, no wait a minute!' "
He wanted to return to work today (as in Wednesday) but said he over-exerted himself over the weekend and decided to take a few more days off. "I get waves of fatigue and dizziness," he said. And he feels depressed at times, as well, which he is told is normal given what had happened to him.
Burns gives his wife of 40 years Susan a lot of credit for helping him recuperate. "She's very patient," he said.
Burns was having a routine check up last year when his primary physician Dr. C. Andy Brown at Piedmont Hospital noted a strange sound in his heart. After many tests, they found a damaged aortic valve that could have become damaged beyond repair if he had waited longer.
Dr. Randy Martin opened up his chest March 7 and gave him a pig aortic valve as a replacement. A week later, once he was out of the hospital, Burns went public with his health news.
He hopes what happened to him encourages men to get their annual check ups. It could save your life.
WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of the Cox Media Group.