“She really fought to keep me off a ventilator. I didn’t want to be on it,” Jeff Bridges said of his wife Susan Geston.
Jeff Bridges has been battling several health scares in recent times and through it all, he's been supported by his loving wife of 45 years, Susan Geston. The Big Lebowski star recently told AARP that he had been “doing those fight scenes for the first episode” of the drama series The Old Man not knowing he “had a 9-by-12-inch tumor" in his body.
The actor was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that begins in lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the body's immune system, in 2020. What's worse is the actor ended up getting COVID while in chemotherapy. “I had no immune system to fight it. Chemo had wiped that out, which made it really, really tough,” he said. “For me, cancer was nothing compared to the COVID.”
The 73-year-old Oscar winner would go into “surrender mode” accepting the inevitable that his time had come. “I couldn’t understand how you’d fight it. So I fought by surrendering, which is not the same as giving up,” he added. “What I really felt at the time was love. Love was certainly magnified for me during this time. Not only from the people around me, but also the love in my own heart for them. So what I did was more like giving in to love, you know?”
The actor ended up in the hospital for five months and was treated using plasma from other patients that had recovered from COVID. Through the ordeal, he said his wife was an “absolute champion,” noting, “She really fought to keep me off a ventilator. I didn’t want to be on it, and the doctors didn’t necessarily want that. But Sue was adamant.” Bridges said the “tumor has shrunk to the size of a marble.”
Susan Geston told doctors to "save his life no matter what" as he battled COVID while in chemotherapy. She got a call from the hospital saying that they may have to put him on a ventilator. "I said, 'Save his life. No matter what you have to do,'" Geston told PEOPLE. The medical team was able to keep Bridges off the ventilator, but the actor admitted, "I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, 'Jeff, you've got to fight. You're not fighting.' I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality."
After his near-fatal health crisis Bridges said he's treasuring life's simple pleasures even more, especially spending time with his beloved wife. "We don't have to do much. Just being in the same vicinity feels wonderful," he said.
"It's all like a bad dream now," Susan said of the year and a half her husband was sick. "And now's the good dream part."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Jon Kopaloff