AP Photo/Gus Ruelas
AP Photo/Gus Ruelas
Bret Michaels isn't out of the woods yet, but at least he's out of the hospital.
The recovering rocker's attending physician held a press conference today, announcing that the Celebrity Apprentice contestant has been discharged and is in stable condition following his nearly two-week hospital stay.
"Mr. Michaels was indeed a lucky person," Dr. Joseph Zabramski said. "A very lucky person."
Let's just say, superlatives don't cover it.
The last we heard from the medical team at Pheonix's prestigious Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Michaels was in critical condition and, in addition to his brain hemorrhage, emergency appendectomy and severe head and back pain, he had developed hyponatremia, a sodium deficiency that can cause seizures, blood clotting around his brain stem, and was forced to deal with his suddenly "out of control diabetes."
Not exactly the makings of a smooth recovery.
Cut to today.
"At this point, I want to tell you that he has been discharged," the doctor said. "I can't tell you where, I can't tell you when, federal privacy laws prevent me from saying that.
"But he has been recently discharged and he continues to receive therapies. And we continue to monitor his laboratories daily, and we're adjusting his medications, and he is making a good recovery. I really expect that he will fortunately make a 100 percent recovery. He's just one of those lucky people."
Zabramski said that while Michaels is no longer at the hospital, he will continue to be evaluated every two weeks. It will take somewhere between seven and 10 days for his blood to resolve itself and for him to "begin to feel good" and resume normal activities.
One of the problems with Michaels' initial treatment was that, as a diabetic, he could not be prescribed the medications doctors would ordinarily use. For instance, Michaels contracted chemical meningitis, and while the usual course of treatment would be steroids, his doctors were forced to go another route.
"Unfortunately, he's been continuing to suffer."
As for the mystery cause of his bleeding, it will remain a mystery. Though according to Zabramski, that is a good thing.
"At this point we're feeling pretty confident that he does not have an aneurysm or problems with his blood vessels that would make a recurring hemorrhage," he said.
"This is one of those rare instances where we're pleased that we can't find the cause of the bleed. Ninety five percent of patients with this type of hemorrhage go on to make a complete recovery and they have no higher risk than anyone in this room to have a repeat."
This type of hemorrhage, for those wondering, is an angiographically negative subarachnoid one. (Don't you feel smarter already?)
But while Michaels is expected to make a full recovery, he's "still very sick right now," Zabramski said. "He can walk, but he's not walking very well. He's talking very well. He's mentally aware of everything that's going on."
"I do not believe that that's a possibility at all. Much too long a time. A hit can cause subarachnoid hemorrhaging, but it causes it immediately. And he was very extensively evaluated," the doctor said.
"If that had caused the problem that led to this hemorrhage, we would have seen the damage to his blood vessels…and they are in perfectly normal condition. He takes very good care of himself."
Still, the doctor's orders were for Michaels to take a minimum of 4-6 weeks of solid recovery time.
"What I made him promise me is that he would make no promises. Of course, I've heard that he's made promises," Zabramski said of Michaels' already-announced tour plans. "He's a very determined person, and it depends on how quickly he recovers."
Here's hoping it's very quickly.
(Originally published May 4, 2010, at 1:28 p.m. PT)