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KTLA weatherman Mark Kriski to return Monday after long illness (Updated)

February 25, 2011 |  2:05 pm

Mark KTLA-TV Channel 5 weatherman Mark Kriski, who has been out since November after being stricken with pneumonia and a hospital-borne bacterial infection, is on the mend and is planning to return to the station on Monday.

"I'm doing great, but what a ride it's been," Kriski said Friday during a phone interview from his home. "I''m down a few pounds, and I will have to put on a little weight. But my energy is back and my color is back."

The 20-year veteran, who appears on the "KTLA Morning News," was hospitalized in early November with pneumonia. He later contracted vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), a "super bug" he caught at the hospital, which was resistent to medication and antibiotics. His lungs became so full of fluid they collapsed, and his heart was also in jeopardy.

"The fluid just exploded, and I  had to be placed in the intensive care unit," said Kriski. "I was on the operating table and had to drain all this fluid."

He said he also had to be intubated for almost two weeks and sedated when doctors feared he might get infected. He had to undergo a second operation to remove more fluid.

"It was like a domino effect," said Jennifer Gould, a reporter at KTLA who is Kriski's girlfriend. "His body was like a war zone."

Kriski called his illness "a life and death experience that has given me a new perspective: On one hand, this was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. On the other hand, it is the best thing that has ever happened. You really do start to appreciate the little things in life."

His return to the station will be gradual: Kriski said he will work on the 7 to 10 a.m. edition of the morning news for two or three days a week  while he gains strength.

Don Corsini, president and general manager of KTLA, said, "We are pleased that Mark's health and strength is improving daily, and we all look forward to his return."

[Corrected at 3:15 p.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Kriski had been incubated for four days, rather than intubated.]

[Corrected at 3:34 p.m : A previous version of this post incorrected stated that Kriski was intubated for four days, instead of two weeks.}

--Greg Braxton