Broadcaster Paul Holmes is making steady progress in his recovery from major heart surgery - and may be back in print and on the airwaves within three months.
"It's a new beginning," the 62-year-old said from his Hawkes Bay home yesterday.
"I'm in no pain - there's never really been any pain. The breathing disruptions have been the freakiest things."
While no dates have been confirmed for a return to his roles as Weekend Herald columnist, Newstalk ZB radio host and Q+A television presenter, he raised the prospect of coming back in late September or shortly thereafter.
Holmes was chipper as he described his enforced new lifestyle of rest - television, books and "consuming half the output of [pharmaceutical company] GlaxoSmithKline every morning".
Aside from a couple of "strange incidents" with his breathing, he was clearly noticing his improved health. "It's slow and steady progress."
Holmes had earlier been diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a usually genetic condition in which the heart muscle thickens to such an extent it impedes and blocks bloodflow. It affects about one in 1000 people.
He underwent a four-hour open-heart operation in Auckland last month to remove a blockage and carry out remedial work on his heart.
He was put on life support in an induced coma to help his recovery.
Holmes flew home to Hawke's Bay last month for rest but suffered breathing problems and spent a short time in hospital.
He praised the surgeons and hospital staff who worked on him. "They do a wonderful job."
Last month he told the New Zealand Herald the heart operation "had been a real wake-up - I don't think we realised how much my heart had failed until the last two weeks" .