"I've done a lot of rotten things. I'm asking for a break here," the rocker said in his prayers

By Hilary Shenfeld
Updated May 19, 2010 12:00 PM
Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

For Bret Michaels’s 9-year-old daughter Raine, the realization that her father might die the night he suffered a brain hemorrhage was devastating.

“To think that my dad wouldn’t be growing up with me and my dad wouldn t be walking me down the aisle for my wedding, it was just really heartbreaking,” the little girl said on tape during an interview with the rocker on The Oprah Winfrey Show Wednesday.

Hearing those words, Michaels, appearing via satellite from Phoenix, wiped away tears and told Winfrey, “That’s what you think about,” after you suffer such a harrowing ordeal. “It gave me this unsinkable strength. It gave me this amazing courage to want to survive.”

On April 21, Michaels, 47, was struck by a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a condition that immediately kills 20 percent of the 40,000 Americans who are afflicted by it each year. In those dark moments when he wasn t sure if he d survive, he said he asked God for help. “You gotta let me live through this,” he said of his thoughts. “I’ve done a lot of rotten things. I’m asking for a break here.”

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Michaels said the sudden brush with death, “Instantly puts into your life what matters most,” naming his family and friends.

Michaels was among the 20 percent who recover completely from the bleeding at the base of the brain stem, according to his neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Zabramski, though the rocker said he is still undergoing rehabilitation and is having trouble moving his lower body. He continues to suffer from a stiff neck and headaches.

Michaels’s advice for others who suspect that something is wrong: Don’t wait around. “You need to go to the emergency room,” he said, adding that he’s grateful he has been given a second chance even if he doesn t quite know why. “I don’t know what that reason is just yet.”