Dr. Joseph Zabramski, Bret's neurosurgeon at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, says Bret's progress is miraculous. "About 20 percent of the patients don't survive the initial hemorrhage," he says.

To this day, Dr. Zabramski says they don't know what caused a blood vessel to burst in Bret's brain, but this condition is more common than people may think. "Probably about 40,000 patients per year suffer a spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage," he says. "About 20 percent make a complete recovery and are able to resume all of their normal activities. Mr. Michaels was one of the lucky 20 percent."

Bret says there's one thing he wants people to learn from his near-fatal hemorrhage. "When you know something is wrong, you need to go to the emergency room," he says. "I avoid a hospital at all costs, and here I've been a lifelong diabetic. I'll tell you, when it happened and I knew something was wrong, your body tells you."

Since he was released from the hospital, Bret has been undergoing two rehabilitation treatments a day and is living with residual pain. 'I'm having a little trouble moving my lower extremities," he says. "The neck is very stiff. The headaches, they're still there. They said this is to be expected for at least a month after this happens, and each day gets better."

Once doctors give him the okay to fly, Bret hopes to hit the road again and perform music from his latest album, Custom Built.


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