Keillor eager to 'get right back to work' after minor stroke

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 9, 2009 - 11:08 PM

Author and "Prairie Home Companion" host expected to leave hospital on Friday.

Minnesota humorist and author Garrison Keillor suffered a minor stroke and has been at the Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital in Rochester since Monday evening.

Keillor, 67, "is up and moving around, speaking sensibly, working at a laptop, and it's expected he'll be released on Friday," Mayo spokesman Karl Oestreich said Wednesday. "He plans to resume a normal schedule next week."

In 2001, Keillor underwent open-heart surgery at Mayo for what was described as a common valve repair.

A Facebook page for the host of radio's "A Prairie Home Companion" initially reported his hospitalization on Tuesday, unleashing dozens of get-well wishes in response.

In a statement released through his St. Paul-based radio show, Keillor said he first went to United Hospital's emergency room in St. Paul, "where I got excellent care and then was transferred to Mayo simply because they know so much more about me down there."

He added that he is "in the hands of smart and compassionate people" at Mayo and is eager to "get right back to work."

Late Tuesday afternoon, Keillor's Facebook status update read: "Garrison Keillor has landed in the hospital, one more pitiful giant with tubes in his hands, wearing a tiny hospital gown, peeing into a container, and endlessly reciting his correct name and date of birth. Have Mercy."

Wednesday morning, a new update was posted, saying that Keillor was feeling much better. Both entries about his health were then deleted about 10 a.m. and replaced with: "Garrison Keillor is enjoying a sunny day at an undisclosed location in southern Minnesota."

The earlier updates had prompted dozens of fans and friends to post messages of condolence and advice.

"Engage all of the medical staff in long conversations about predestination, and they'll have you out of there in no time at all!" read one entry.

Keillor made his annual appearance Friday night at the Minnesota State Fair, taping a show before more than 7,500 fans and appearing in fine form.

He is scheduled to host five weekly live broadcasts of "A Prairie Home Companion" at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul starting Sept. 26. The box office on Wednesday reported no changes in the schedule.

Along with producing "A Prairie Home Companion," which airs on public radio stations around the country, Keillor also writes a regular social commentary column that appears in the Star Tribune and elsewhere.

Its distributor, Tribune Media Services, alerted subscribers that Keillor would not be filing a column for this week.

Appearances scheduled

Keillor has a new novel, "Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance," scheduled for Sept. 22 release. The next day, he is scheduled to appear at a lecture series at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and make other appearances around the country in the coming weeks.

The tour includes stops at the Barnes and Noble in Edina on Oct. 15 and the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union on Oct. 20.

Keillor's Facebook page was briefly removed in February after it had announced that "Garrison Keillor is no longer listed as married." The status was soon changed to "Garrison Keillor is now married." An explanation was posted that apologized for the confusion, adding, "I was editing quickly."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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