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Why Peter Bergman Took A Break From Y&R

Jack has been MIA from Genoa City because his portrayer, Peter Bergman, was diagnosed with a detached retina that required emergency surgery and recovery time. For the actor, the problem came up out of the blue. “I was on my way to visit my family in San Luis Obispo [on the central California coast], where my father, brother and sister live,” he explains. “On the way, there was a funny thing on the inside corner of my left eye, but I didn’t mention it to my wife or anybody. All evening long, I was seeing something creeping into my vision and by the end of that night, it was like a curtain closing in toward the center of my eyesight.”

By the next morning, the situation was worsening. “The curtain now covered a third of my vision in my left eye, so I called my sister and asked her if she knew of an ophthalmologist in town,” Bergman shares. After a series of fortuitous phone calls, he was meeting the local ophthalmologist in his office at 5:00 on a Sunday evening. The diagnosis was a detached retina. “He advised me against doing the surgery there and then driving to L.A. because you can’t go to a higher elevation and there are a couple of mountain passes on the way home,” Bergman explains. “My wife asked who should we go to and he only knew of a Dr. Rahal. Mariellen said, ‘Firas Rahal?’ and it turned out that he’s married to an opera singer, who Mariellen had met through her sister. So Mariellen texts her sister and in no time, I have an appointment with Dr. Rahal for the next day.”

The Bergmans returned to L.A. before undergoing the delicate procedure. “I called Y&R and told them what was going on,” he recalls. “They wished me well and everybody in the company wrote to me, which was lovely and made me feel very special. Everyone was asking for updates on me.”

Recovery was a challenge. “I had to keep my face parallel to the floor for 50 minutes out of every hour for 7 days,” Bergman relays. “Mariellen got a contraption [a face cradle that attaches to massage tables] online that we set on the coffee table and I put my face down into it. There was a two-way mirror that we positioned so I could watch television. My favorite activities are exercising and reading books and I could do neither one. It seemed like it took forever.”

Mishael Morgan (Amanda), who had experienced the same operation and rehabilitation, was a helpful source. “I had a very valuable chat with Mishael on my second day of recovery,” Bergman notes. “I called her and we talked for about 40 minutes. I’m not a big phone talker but I got as much information as I could possibly get from her about what to expect. She was fantastic.”

Bergman was thrilled to go back to Genoa City. “The first time I saw everyone from Y&R was at the Christmas party, and they all welcomed me back, which was great,” he reports. “Now I’m back at work and everything is going just fine.” As for his story, “When Jack returns, a lot of things change,” hints the actor. “I spoke to our head writer, Josh Griffith, who called to tell me the direction he’s taking Jack and it’s all very good stuff.”

In conclusion, a grateful Bergman sums up, “It was a temporary visit with blindness and a wild adventure. It was also a sobering reminder of how precious eyesight is. Never take it for granted.”