Not-so-pretty Poison

I’ve been intermittently following Bret Michaels’ condition over the past few days. The lead singer from the music group Poison has been having a rough time over the past number of months, including getting clotheslined by a lowering stage set at the Tony Awards in 2009, which some speculate might have been a precursor to his current brain hemorrhage. Someone who works in brain injury rehab wrote this post, which I think explains things pretty well: Bret Michaels — Why He Matters. His daughter was also diagnosed with diabetes recently. Any way you look at it, he’s having a tough time, and I wish him well.

This really highlights for me the somewhat random, yet eerily interconnected condition our brain has with the rest of our lives. Mr. Michaels is diabetic, which some have speculated might have contributed to his bleed (though others dispute that). I do know that fluctuating blood sugar can affect the strength of walls of veins and arteries, so it seems like one can’t completely rule out the role of diabetes in this case. It may not have directly caused it, but diabetes is known to create vascular issues, so I’m not sure how anyone can say categorically that it doesn’t have anything to do with his bleed.

It’s hard to know just why or how it happened. And since I’m not a doctor who’s attending to him, it’s not my place to say, in any case.

All I know is that life can be terribly… surprising, at times. And the best we can do, is fight our way back to where we want to be. If we’re lucky, we have people near us who can help. And if we’re particularly blessed, we have people who stick with us through thick and thin.

It’s my hope that Mr. Michaels can get that kind of help and support.

And the rest of us, too.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

2 thoughts on “Not-so-pretty Poison”

  1. BB – Excellent post! I wish the subject matter could be a little different, but sometimes we have to take what life deals us in the cards.

    The brain is so complex that we don’t know everything which goes on in, on or around it, and I think it’s rather narcissistic for anyone without experience in dealing with the brain and brain issues to say categorically that diabetes had no connection to Michaels’ brain-bleed.

    As any competent neuro-surgeon or therapist will tell you, each case is different and each outcome will be equally diverse from another. To think otherwise is simply naive.

    Prayers are with Bret and his family.


  2. Thanks –

    One of the things that never ceases to amaze me, is how medical experts will so quickly say, “We have no idea why this happened. It’s all a big mystery…” and then they will proceed to proclaim that anything having to do with the brain is SO mysterious, that it couldn’t possibly be linked to what happens in the rest of the body.
    It’s like they’re back in 1954, when the finest medical minds still believed that everything biochemical that took place below the neck, stayed there. Around 1968, they came to find out that the hormones that are released and go to work in the body actually make it back to the brain… and have an impact.

    It’s amazing how much we have learned… what’s even more amazing to me, is how eager people are to disavow common sense and treat anything in the body/brain as though it’s entirely independent of the whole.

    I guess that’s an issue with modern medicine — it seems like it’s largely about the process and the “practice” of it, rather than achieving desired outcomes. Because doctors cannot see a clear and obvious cause for the bleed, they don’t want to “conject” about the cause. But folks should point out the impact that diabetes has on the vascular system, and even if Michaels’ bleed was NOT contributed to by his blood sugar situation, it’s still a teachable moment that can be very beneficial in educating the public. To say, “Bret Michaels suffered a brain hemorrhage,” and then to mention “Oh, by the way, he’s diabetic,” and then never explain what that may mean, is negligent, imho. There are far to many diabetics walking around who don’t take their blood sugar seriously. This would be a great opportunity explain to the general public who are actually paying attention for a moment, that diabetes is nothing to shrug off, and something like this COULD happen as a result.

    Well, we’re all learning, I suppose.




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