(LOS ANGELES) -- Ellen DeGeneres was all smiles in her anticipated return to her self-titled talk show Wednesday, which she opened by detailing her battle with COVID-19.
"I want to start the show by talking about something positive -- my COVID test," Ellen joked to the virtual studio audience, which she thanked for all the well-wishes while she was recovering. Her show's first episodes of 2021 were delayed by her diagnosis, which she announced via Twitter in December.
DeGeneres recalled, "I was getting ready to tape the show and I was in hair and makeup. Then my assistant Craig walks in and says, 'You tested positive for COVID.' And then everyone around me ran away," she said to laughs, adding, "I left the studio immediately and our COVID safety team informed everyone that I had been in contact with."
"The first three days, I slept for 16 hours a day," Ellen continued, describing her symptoms. "And then on the fourth day, I woke up with back spasms. It just persisted and the doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers."
When those failed to provide relief, her physician put Ellen on a course of steroids, which did the trick. "That's the only symptom I had," she said, saying her back pain felt like she cracked a rib.
"I didn't have a headache, I didn't have a fever, I didn't lose my sense of taste. I started to feel better and I am very fortunate and very, very blessed," she declared. "That was it for me."
Ellen noted she's still surprised she contracted the disease. "I wear a mask, I wash my hands. It's a mystery to me how that would happen."
By Stephen Iervolino
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