Richard Bacon says he is not sure whether his wife was joking when she told him not to “walk towards the white light” as he was put into a coma.
The broadcaster, 42, fell ill during a flight from Los Angeles to London in the summer and was put in an induced coma as doctors fought to save his life.
He told Good Morning Britain: “It was bad luck – I breathed something in. The working theory… is that I got on the plane at the wrong time and the pressurised cabin caused this infection in both of my lungs to explode everywhere.”
The ex-Blue Peter host said of his wife Rebecca: “As they were putting me in the coma she rubbed my feet and said ‘Don’t walk towards the white light’, which I think was a joke, but I’m not entirely sure.”
He added: “For her it was a phone by the bed, waiting every second, waiting for that call to come in that her husband had died.”
Bacon said that he now feels “really good”, but that recovery takes six months.
If Jeremy Hunt, who was previously health secretary, had succeeded in making cuts to A&E services at Lewisham hospital, in south east London, he would not have survived, Bacon said.
The star said he was told by his consultant that “the next A&E would have been too far away and you would have died”.