Bret Michaels appeared live via satellite from Phoenix on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on May 19 to discuss his medical emergency and subsequent recovery. This was his first public appearance since his April 21 subarachnoid hemorrhage. Michaels talked about the “thunderclap” effect of his sudden brain trauma. “It sounded like a small handgun went off in the back of my head,” he said. “There was no lead-up at all. It just exploded.”
(For an explanation of subarachnoid hemorrhage see: http://www.empowher.com/news/herarticle/2010/04/26/bret-michaels-subarachnoid-hemorrhage-explained )
Michaels said he immediately asked his girlfriend to drive him to the hospital for emergency care, and learned “When you know something is wrong you need to get to the hospital right away.” He said the pain was like a 10-times-over migraine, and when he got to the hospital he just wanted to sit in the car, which would have been a mistake. Instead he was rushed into immediate diagnostic procedures, stabilized and then transferred to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, one of the top centers in the world for brain injury and illness.
"My life didn't flash before my eyes," Michaels told Oprah about his experience. "It wasn't like, all of a sudden, a rerun of my life. What happened was, I got very sad. I went into completely just asking God, 'You have to let me through this.' "
In a video segment, Barrow’s Dr. Joseph Zabramski said Michaels' condition was very serious when he first arrived. "I tried explaining to him what we would be doing, and he was really unable to stay awake," he said. "It's really quite a miracle that he's done so well." Zabramski said it's still unclear exactly what caused the hemorrhage, but added: "The chance for re-bleeding is really no higher than anyone else in his age group. I think this is more common than people realize."
How common is this? It affects about 30,000 people a year in the United States. In emphasizing the importance of getting care immediately Michaels said “There was a gentleman there who waited too long and he didn’t make it.”