Bret Michaels on 'Oprah': I Asked God to Keep Me Alive

Bret Michaels opens up about brain hemorrhage to Oprah Winfrey.

May 19, 2010 — -- Like a band of trumpets, Oprah Winfrey welcomed Bret Michaels back to the media spotlight today with a bellowing cheer: "Bret you're alive, you're alive!"

The 47-year-old Poison rocker/reality TV star appeared on "Oprah" via satellite for his first TV interview since suffering a brain hemorrhage that left him clinging to life.

"It sounded like a small handgun went off in the back of my head," Michaels said about the hemorrhage that he endured April 21. "It felt like a pop. They call it a thunderclap. ... It's like a migraine times 10. It ran from my temple down to the back of my skull. I knew something was wrong."

While Michaels was stricken with massive pain, as his girlfriend and mother of their two children, Kristi Gibson, pulled up to the emergency room, he was able to comprehend a doctor's grave advice.

"I overheard the doctor telling Kristi, 'If you have children, you should bring them to the hospital now,'" Michaels said.

Michaels wiped away tears as his oldest daughter, Raine, 9, told Winfrey what was going through her head when her dad was rushed to the hospital.

"The scariest part was just like thinking, my dad could die tonight. All these memories flashed," she said. "To think that my dad wouldn't be growing up with me, that my dad wouldn't be walking down the aisle. ..."

Michaels said while in the hospital, he asked God to keep him alive so he could be a father to Raine and her sister, Jorja, 5.

"I was doing a lot of asking at that point," he said. "'I know I've done a lot of rotten things, I'm asking for a break here. If you can cut me a break this time, I promise I'll be better in the future.'"

But of course, as the frontman of a world famous glam rock band, he had some more superficial concerns as well -- he kept his signature bandana on throughout the ordeal, even while laying in the hospital bed.

"I said, 'If I'm going out, I want to go out rockin','" Michaels told Winfrey. "Some form of a bandana or cape, if I could go out right. Not in that hospital gown."

Bret Michaels on the Road to Recovery

Michaels is one of the lucky ones. His doctor, Joseph Zambraski, said of the 40,000 Americans a year who suffer a subarachnoid hemorrhage as Michaels did, only 20 percent make a complete recovery.

Zabramski added that while his team of doctors still doesn't know why Michaels began bleeding at the base of his brain stem, "It's quite a miracle that he's done so well."

Though still recovering, Michaels plans to return to the stage in Biloxi, Miss., May 28.

"I have a little bit of trouble," he said. "My neck is very stiff. The headaches are still there."

He also hopes to appear on the May 23 live season finale of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," where he's competing for the title and a $250,000 prize for his charity, the American Diabetes Association. (Michaels was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child.) His "Celebrity Apprentice" castmates, Sharon Osbourne and Holly Robinson Pete, also appeared on "Oprah" today to wish him well. He said all the good sentiments help him soldier on.

"Each day it gets better," Michaels told Winfrey. "I'm so happy to be talking to you, to be alive. ... To have such great family around me, such great friends."