Arnold Schwarzenegger got candid about how he persevered while recovering from his third open heart surgery after it didn’t go as planned.
“I remember when I had my open heart surgery, the third one, which was just a few years ago just before we started Terminator 6,” Schwarzenegger, 76, said in a recent YouTube video for his channel The Pump Club. “I was really freaking out. I woke up and all of a sudden the doctors were in front of me saying, ‘I’m so sorry, but it was unlike what we planned.’”
Schwarzenegger explained that the 2018 procedure was supposed to be a “non-invasive” surgery. However, the medical team “made a mistake and poked through the heart wall” which led to internal bleeding. Schwarzenegger said that his doctor told him that surgeons “had to open you up to save your life.”
“The bottom line is, you cannot roll the clock back. It was a disaster. I was in the middle of a disaster. So now how do I get out of it? You have to shift gears,” he said in the clip. “Collect yourself, shift gears and say, ‘OK, what I need to do now is get out of this hospital.’”
For his recovery, Schwarzenegger’s game plan was to take things slow and just start by “getting out of bed and start walking.” His goal was to begin with “10 steps” and then gradually increase the amount each time. As he began to make progress, Schwarzenegger sought out the support of his friends for some extra motivation.
“I called my buddies in and said, ‘You guys have to fire me up. You have to count the number of steps that I’m doing,'” he shared alongside footage of him and his pals walking around the hospital. “And this is what we did, every day. Everybody came into the hospital, They said, ‘OK, Arnold, it’s time to get up!'”
Schwarzenegger admitted his motivation for a speedy recovery came from wanting to start training again as he was gearing up to film Terminator: Dark Fate — which was released in 2019.
“I wanted to get really going with the exercise, get out of the hospital as quick as possible, and then get going with the training again,” he said, explaining that the film required him to be able to “move around, run around, lift things up, do the fight scene, all these things.”
While Schwarzenegger’s motivation came from wanting to get back to work, he credits his success to his optimistic mindset and his loved ones’ support. The actor shares daughters Katherine Schwarzenegger, 33, and Christina Schwarzenegger, 32, and sons Patrick Schwarzenegger, 29, and Christopher Schwarzenegger, 25, with ex-wife Maria Shriver, as well as son Joseph Baena, 25, whom he shares with Mildred “Patty” Baena, with whom he had an affair while married to Shriver, 67.
Arnold closed out his message by emphasizing his “positive attitude.”
“[I] knew exactly how I was going to get there,” he explained. “[And] I had the support system because none of this we can do by ourselves … It was fantastic the way all the guys pumped me up and got me going. And then I started shooting Terminator 6, I was all back together again.”