Bret Michaels Hospitalized Six Times in Past Two Weeks

Poison frontman Bret Michaels has had to postpone or cancel a number of concerts lately. Now bandmate Pete Evick is explaining why: He’s been in and out of the hospital!

Michaels was in so much pain (from what I am assuming was kidney stones) during a concert in Mundelein, Illinois that he had to undergo a surgical procedure “on his kidneys.

Despite medical advice against it, Michaels left the hospital, in an attempt to get to his Rocking 4 a Reason charitable event on October 30.  But he had to stop for additional medical attention along the way and the event was eventually postponed. At that point, doctors placed two stents (see below). According to Evick:

“He [Bret] managed to bust out of the hospital and get to Memphis just minutes before our scheduled performance time to a huge crowd at our tailgate concert on Halloween night for the Memphis Tigers. Truthfully, I was even shocked and asked him not to do this. But no, Bret insisted that the fans come first even though he could barely even say that to me because he was hurting so much.”

Despite this, Michaels  insisted on performing the next show in Knoxville, TN, but this time things didn’t go as well:

This time it went real bad. During the show he gave 100 percent, but he hurt himself. Jumping around with two stents was a bad idea. I can’t explain the amount of blood or where it came from, but it was horrifying on his bus after the show. Bret looked at me and said, “Just head to Champaign, we have to make Thursday’s show up.”

Bret was again taken to a hospital and this time given medication that would keep him down. The doctors basically refused to release him. Causing us to postpone the charity event once again. Bret was truly devastated. It’s actually honorable to me that he always brings up the concern for the fans first before addressing his condition.

He’s back on the road now, playing Las Vegas on November 7.

Michaels has had more than his share of medical problems. Having Type 1 Diabetes since childhood, he had a series of medical emergencies starting in 2010, with an appendectomy. This was followed by a subarachnoid (brain) hemorrhage, which nearly cost him his life. In May 2010 , he had a mini-stroke,” which lead to the diagnosis of a heart condition called patent foramen ovale. He had this repaired in January 2011. He’s also had to leave the stage on a number of occasions due to extremely low blood sugar.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are one of the most painful of the urological disorders, and have troubled humans for centuries. Scientists have even found evidence of kidney stones in a 7,000-year-old Egyptian mummy!

Unfortunately, they are also one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. Each year, people make almost 3 million visits to health care providers and more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems.

A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine within the urinary tract. Normally, urine contains chemicals that prevent or inhibit the crystals from forming. These inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone, however, so some people form stones. If the crystals remain tiny enough, they will travel through the urinary tract and pass out of the body in the urine without being noticed.

Kidney stones may contain various combinations of chemicals. The most common type of stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. These chemicals are part of a person’s normal diet and make up important parts of the body, such as bones and muscles.

What are the symptoms of a kidney stone?

The symptoms of a kidney stone problem include:

  • extreme pain in your back or side that will not go away
  • blood in your urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
  • a burning feeling when you urinate

What can my doctor do about a problem stone?

Most kidney stones pass out of the body without any intervention by a physician. Drinking plenty of water—2 to 3 quarts a day—can help move the stone along.

Stones that cause lasting symptoms or other complications may be treated by various techniques, most of which do not involve major surgery. Also, research advances have led to a better understanding of the many factors that promote stone formation and thus better treatments for preventing stones.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most frequently used procedure for the treatment of kidney stones. In ESWL, shock waves that are created outside the body travel through the skin and body tissues until they hit the denser stones. The stones break down into small particles and are easily passed through the urinary tract in the urine.

Sometimes a stone is removed through “tunnel surgery.” The surgeon makes a small cut in the back and creates a narrow tunnel into the kidney. The surgeon then locates and removes the stone using a special instrument.

If the stone is in the ureter—the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder—the doctor may use a ureteroscope. This slender instrument is inserted into the urethra—the short tube that carries urine out of the bladder when you urinate—through the bladder, then into the ureter. The doctor will catch the stone with a small cage in the uteroscope and pull it out. Or the doctor may shatter the stone with a device inserted through the ureteroscope.

What is a ureteral stent?

stent-300x199A ureteral stent is a soft, hollow, plastic tube which is temporarily placed into the ureter to allow drainage around a stone or or to speed healing after a stone surgery. It is typically 9.5 to 11 inches (24 to 30 cm) long and often has curlicued ends to prevent it from moving.

Stents allow urine to flow from the kidneys to the bladder in circumstances where the ureter may be blocked by a stone, tumor, or swelling from inflammation. Stents are typically left for no longer than 3 months at a time.

stent-diagram-225x300Stents are inserted by sliding them over a soft “guidewire” which is placed up the ureter. After proper placement is ensured, the guidewire is removed. Most stents have a thin thread which leads from the stent  through the urethra. This threat is later used to remove the stent.

The main complications with ureteral stents are dislocation (movement out of position), infection and blockage by encrustation (the formation of stones on the lining of the stent).

Although patients may have minimal symptoms from the stent, others complain of:

  • increased urgency and frequency of urination
  • blood in the urine
  • leakage of urine
  • pain in the kidney, bladder, or groin
  • pain in the kidneys during, and for a short time after urination
  • discomfort during strenuous physical activity

Medications are available to help reduce the discomfort of a stent. The most effective appears to be from the alpha blocker class of medications including tamsulosin (Flomax) and alfuzosin (Uroxatral).

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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