Maria Micheletto was experiencing paralyzing pain in her head, so she called called 911

Maria Micheletto called 911

Stroke Patient Jason and Dr. Alaraj
Maria Micheletto

She was taken to UI Health and diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage and brain aneurysm. 

As I stepped out of the shower, my head suddenly exploded with agonizing pain that brought me to my knees. When I tried to move, I realized I was paralyzed from the waist down, but I managed to army-crawl my way to the phone to call for help.

I was rushed to a hospital close to home but since they didn’t have neurosurgeons on staff; I was transferred to UI Health, where I met the most amazing group of doctors and nurses that anyone could ever encounter. They saved my life!

I was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage and brain aneurysm and spent the next 21 days in Neuro ICU. No one knows for sure why the blood vessel in my brain ruptured. In the six months leading up to my aneurysm, I had severe headaches, but ignored a recommendation from an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist to get a CT scan.

Memories of my first days in the hospital are foggy, but I do remember feeling extraordinary compassion from the nurses and doctors. They were fantastic and kept my family informed by explaining each step of my treatment.

My neurosurgeon, Dr. Sepideh Hanjani, is a phenomenal person and a doctor with an amazing reputation in her field. In my eyes, she is a mini-God. The rest of my care team was wonderful as well. My Neuro ICU nurses watched me carefully after surgery because they knew I was at risk for a stroke. They were my protectors.

When I was released from the hospital, I was very depressed. At first I wondered why I had been spared — there was nothing special about me.  But then, I realized I had been given a second chance to help others. I enrolled in nursing school, and immediately after graduation I was hired at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois. I achieved my goal to work in the Neuro ICU alongside some amazing doctors that were trained by the neurosurgeons at UI Health.

Because of the excellent care I received at UI Health, I made a full recovery. I walked out of the hospital with no need for rehab, physical or occupational therapy. I would’ve been so scared if I had been anywhere but UI Health. I don’t believe I would’ve had such an excellent outcome.