Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin 'Through the Worst of It' After Heart Surgery

03/23/2007 at 12:45 PM EDT

Regis Philbin 'Through the Worst of It' After Heart Surgery
Regis Philbin
Jennifer Graylock/AP

Kelly Ripa

Kelly Ripa

Regis Philbin may be in terrible pain after open-heart surgery, but he can still talk.

The Live with Regis and Kelly host called his costar, Kelly Ripa, from his sickbed on Friday during the show. "How are you feeling, my big man?" Ripa asked him.

"Well, you know, I think I'm through the worst of it," he replied.

Philbin, 75, who underwent surgery last week, went on to say: "I guess I was a little unprepared for, you know, the first week and what they actually do to make this thing happen – and so, some of it came as quite a shock."

Though he sounded fine, Philbin mentioned how it aches around his heart, back and leg (from which doctors took some arteries for the bypass), and said the pain is especially acute when he sneezes or blows his nose.

"Other than that, I'm dancing, I'm having fun," he quipped.

Philbin also said, "I am not good at handling the pain medication" – citing such side effects as insomnia, sleepwalking and saying odd things out loud to his wife, Joy.

"Last night I was yelling – I'm a little embarrassed to tell you this – but I was yelling, 'I haven't had sex in 3½ months!' " he said.

"I think you took the wrong pill," joked substitute host Neil Patrick Harris.

Philbin is expected to be away from the show for about a month. In the meantime, Ripa told him, "My leg and chest hurt [too] since you've been gone. In my soul I miss you."

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