AOL Health recently conducted an interview with POISON singer Bret Michaels. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
AOL Health: You had a brain hemorrhage, an appendectomy and a stroke recently. How are you still standing?
Bret Michaels: The good Lord will take you when he's ready to take you ? and I think the Lord thought, I'm not quite ready to deal with Bret Michaels yet! I'm gonna spend a lot of today going down for an MRI and blood tests, but I don't look at that as a negative. I look at it like this: This is the new card I've been dealt. You have to roll with the punches as much as you can. And sometimes that's tough because I've had type 1 diabetes since I was a child, then I had the appendectomy right in the middle of my tour. Then I had a brain hemorrhage. After the hemorrhage, I spent two weeks in ICU. When I finally got out [of] a coma state after the first three days, I realized how lucky I was. All the doctors said I was close to death. They said I was very fortunate. Fifty percent die instantly when they have a brain hemorrhage. The next 25 percent who survive initially pass away within the first 10 days. For the 25 percent who are left, the chances for survival are basically fifty-fifty. And the pain involved is excruciating. I've been through many painful things in my life, and so far, none has touched this.
AOL Health: Did being so close to death change the way you live?
Bret Michaels: That's a tricky question because I've always tried to live my life to the fullest. But when you have a near-death experience, you have no idea how it puts what's important in your life in perspective. You concentrate on the things that matter most, like finding more time to be with family and just enjoying life. So when I'm on the road, I just go out and live it. I pull the bus over and pull out my mountain bike and take a ride. What's our hurry? Before I would be in a rush to go to a hotel. To do what? Why not stop and see the country? Last time I was on the road, I skipped Niagara Falls. This time, I won't skip it.
AOL Health: Did having a near-death experience lead you to consider marrying your girlfriend, Kristi Gibson?
Bret Michaels: That's a work in progress. Here's the truth: Kristi and I absolutely love and respect each other. We have two beautiful daughters together. Finding someone that you can love and respect is a great thing. We've had an on-again off-again relationship, but I feel that we have a great friendship. And hopefully that will one day turn into a marriage. Even without the paperwork, you can still have an unbelievably great relationship.