TODAY   |  May 24, 2010

Bret Michaels, ‘You’re hired!’

The “Celebrity Apprentice” winner and former Poison frontman tells TODAY’s Meredith Vieira that he’s not back at “100 percent” after surviving a brain hemorrhage, a stroke and a hole in his heart.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you, you're hired.

>> that is rock star brett michamik michaemik chaels winning the " celebrity apprentice " a month after suffering a brain hemorrhage . suffering a stroke just last week and learning also he has a hell in his heart. bret michaels , good morning to you.

>> good morning. it is great and awesome to be here.

>> it is great and congrat layings.

>> thank you.

>> you said you came to new york to win and you did. how important -- obviously it was important. you had a stroke last week. how important was it to be there?

>> when i went in there to do the show, i was committed 100%. there's no other way to go on " celebrity apprentice ." everyone there is an a type personality. everyone wants to win for their cause. i went in and had no intention to hurt anybody. my intention was to do the best job i could do and to be here, to be able to do " celebrity apprentice " when i had the member ranlg, i thought it was over. at that point it was three days until i sort of came out of the semi coma, whatever the condition i was in, and then after -- it was a week later, to be up, moving and walking. i have to tell you, i'm so happy to have been there. i set my goal on it. last week i had that -- this little tia or mini stroke . and i have to be honest, all my life i never thought about hemorrhage or anything like that. the diabetes, obviously, i've had that a long time but --

>> that was your cause, was the american diabetes association .

>> sure.

>> putting money towards that. did your doctor say to you, not so smart an idea to go to new york? did they give you the green light to be here?

>> the doctor said it's not very smart to be here. but i'm not a very smart guy in that capacity. i figured at this point -- i go, look, honestly dr. sabransky said i have to tell you i don't think it's a great idea you go there. it's a high risk . i was kidding. i said with the luck i've been having, it seems get iting out of a chair is a risk lately. i really wanted to be there.

>> you said that essentially to donald trump , because he asked what we were all wondering. you had a little bit of difficulty walking out on stage. it was noticeable.

>> yeah.

>> you're not quite totally healed yet and trump said to you are you risking your life to be here? you made a joke about it. people laugh. but people are worried about you. how are you doing?

>> this is the truth. i'm not back 100% yet. i'm one of those guys that i have to have a goal. i'm very driven. i say this truthfully. i love life . i feel blessed i've been diabetic for 40 years, to have that disease that long and if i can survive it, and i say grace of god and having a guardian angel that whatever reason i'm in the 15 to 20% that actually survive this and have the ability --

>> survive the hemorrhage.

>> survive the hemorrhage. forget about the appendectomy, mini stroke and all the other things. to survive that hemorrhage and see friends, don jr., a friend of his, had passed away from exactly the same thing i had, not even a couple of weeks before that.

>> why do you think you survived? you obviously have shown through this " celebrity apprentice " that you are a fighter for sure.

>> for me, i can only say two things. one, great medical attention . that's number one. i reacted immediately. the minute i knew something exploded in my head, i knew i was in trouble. my adrenaline kicked in and i say this. my family, my daughters. and, you know, everything just hit me.

>> rain and georgia.

>> rain, georgia and christy were so amazing, because i knew something bad had happened. and i immediately -- my adrenaline kicked in. the first thought i had after the pain is i thought i don't want to wake up and be -- i don't want my daughters to see me unconscious on the floor. i didn't want them to wake up in the morning and i'm just laying there. that was my absolute motivation.

>> doctors have said to you they don't see any connection between the accident at the emmys, and the hemorrhage and the stroke. is it frustrating? would it be easier if they were connected?

>> absolutely. here is the scary part for me. i had the emergency appendectomy and thought that's a lot of pain but it's an appendectomy. you move on. the 40 years of diabetes, wear and tear on the body, internal organs and maybe it's just a domino effect . all of a sudden it's one thing, a weak vessel in the base stem of the brain and all of a sudden the -- who knew? i went in for what i thought was a mini stroke because my mouth and my left hand went numb. when i went into the hospital again this last week, the strangest thing, the last test they did was a test for a hole in the heart or pfo. and i'll tell you what. i was joking with them. they put all this dye in you. it wasn't so funny when they're sticking all the needles in you. after that, i was sitting there going, there's nothing wrong with my heart. i'm great. and then all of a sudden -- uh-uh know when you look at somebody and their eyes get that serious look?

>> oh, sure.

>> they were showing me on the ultrasound the air passing through my heart and i'm like, you've got to be kidding me. i've got to tell you that one -- i laugh about a lot of things. it's how i sort of defend myself, but that was pretty scary.

>> about 20 secs left. i'm nervous about the fact that you're going on tour.

>> right.

>> in the summer. you're going down to mississippi this weekend for a concert. are you ready for this?

>> i'll say this much. i don't know that i'm ready yet. i'll take it in baby steps. i'm going to do a show, see how it goes. i've had so many amazing fans, generations of fans for great years. the new album "custom built." i have to be honest, i'm ready to get out of the hospital and on the road. i don't want to be back in the hospital. i'm ready to rock . i'll see what happens.

>> was it the sympathy vote last night? if it was, do you care?

>> i told them -- when holly walked out with the hot dress on and she was going to get the hotness vote i was going to take a vote any way i could get it. sympathy, bring it on.

>>> up next, keeping your kids