HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Bluegrass legend and Country Music Hall of Fame Member, Ricky Skaggs knows one speed.
“Bluegrass music is pretty fast. I mean it starts at 75 and goes to 100 after one measure,” said Skaggs with a laugh.
His life – pre-COVID – matched pace with his melody, which is why when a health issue popped up Skaggs was too busy to give it much thought.
“I started noticing that I was having some breathing issues,” Skaggs explained, “The craziest excuse I had I thought my heart was over here. This pain is right here in the middle, so maybe that’s just acid reflux.”
Life came to a screeching halt for Skaggs, along with so many other musicians, in March of 2020 which was when he played his last show.
“My fingers hurt so bad from when I’ve been off. I have to get my calluses back,” said Skaggs.
Missing the music, and thrust into the thick of the pandemic, his wife received a phone call that pulled at his heartstrings.
“She said ‘Cheryl’s had a stroke.’ Her sister. She said ‘I’m ok. I’m in the emergency room.'” Skaggs explained, “I’m telling you, there was no more putting it off after that.”
A scan of his chest showed blockages. Doctors delivered the news. “We’ve already checked with the surgeon,” Skaggs recalled them telling his wife, “We feel he’s going to need bypass surgery.”
Quadruple bypass surgery on his heart was scheduled at TriStar Centennial Medical Center.
“I prayed a lot that day. I felt that God said ‘you’re going to be all right’, and I saw it as two words all right,” Skaggs remembered.
Skaggs got a Covid test. “It seemed to be this long,” he said while holding his arms far apart.
Ultimately, he was put at ease by all the safety measures at Centennial. “They’re clean, and they’re very, very cautious about COVID.”
Skaggs underwent surgery. It was a success. “I’m so gad that I did it. I’m so glad,” he exclaimed.
With his ticker back on beat, he’s encouraging others. “When you get the signs, don’t be fearful even of COVID. Just don’t be afraid of it because your health is more important.”