[00:00.00]Each year, half a million people die from brain aneurysms -- when a blood vessel bursts in the brain.
[00:09.75]For survivors, physical disabilities are often severe.
[00:15.87]They may include memory problems, loss of balance, trouble speaking and even blindness.
[00:25.05]But new technologies are increasing survival rates and reducing disabilities.
[00:32.29]Beaumont Bacon is a survivor who makes light of her experience because she is a comedian.
[00:42.29]She uses humor to make others laugh.
[00:47.06]"That first year you're married, man, you have yourself strapped into that roller coaster ride of love..."
[00:52.41]Beaumont Bacon loves to make people laugh about the ups and downs of life.
[00:59.68]Now she's working on a new show.
[01:03.99]The subject will be something that nearly ended her life.
[01:08.34]"Welcome to the Beaumont Bacon fireside chats,
[01:11.87] where we will be discussing the events of my life, to put you at ease regarding my brain.
[01:19.70]On Sunday, January 31, 2010, I had a double brain aneurysm.
[01:27.13] Two blows to the head. Right between the eyes."
[01:30.33]An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel that can burst.
[01:36.49]If that happens in the brain, it can be deadly.
[01:41.53]The Brain Aneurysm Foundation says aneurysms kill 50 percent of the time.
[01:49.93]Michael Alexander is her doctor.
[01:53.81]He operated on Beaumont Bacon after her attack.
[01:59.36]"She had bleeding in the frontal area of her brain, so right above the eyes, and it was quite a bit.
[02:06.33]The part that was in the brain was about maybe the size of an egg.
[02:11.38]So, that's a fairly large bleed."
[02:14.88]Ms. Bacon had a better chance at survival than most people because of Dr.Alexander.
[02:23.35] He directs the Neurovascular Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
[02:31.93]The center offers new technologies that include threading a catheter into an aneurysm,
[02:40.06]then coiling in platinum wires to promote blood clots.
[02:45.31]This technique, or method, reduces the chances of another burst blood vessel.
[02:53.56]"You don't have to open up the skull or open up the brain to do surgery.
[02:58.42]It's all done from inside the artery.
[03:01.21]So it reduces the amount of blood loss, hemorrhaging during the procedure, and the recovery is much faster."
[03:08.59]For Beaumont Bacon's recovery, the hospital worked to prevent problems commonly found in patients with a burst aneurysm.
[03:20.19]The problems include brain swelling, or enlargement, and vasospasms that can shut down blood vessels.
[03:31.18]She spent a month in a coma -- unable to communicate with doctors, friends and loved ones.
[03:40.04]Health experts describe a coma as a deep state of unconsciousness,
[03:46.91]when the patient is alive but unable to react to his or her surroundings.
[03:55.00]Doctors warned she might never walk, or talk, or see, or swallow again.
[04:03.60]But with the help of her husband and a year of treatment, she recovered.
[04:09.81]Now, she is making people laugh.
[04:15.77]"WAUGGH!!! Oh, my God, he lost his job!"
[04:19.78]Dr. Alexander has plenty of good things to say about his patient.
[04:25.64]"Her strength of character and her fight and his devotion really helped her have a great recovery."
[04:35.59]"Just so you know, there are seven things I have learned about being in a coma.
[04:43.29]Number one: don't be in a coma. Number two: refer to number one."
[04:53.39]The Brain Aneurysm Foundation says severe head pain may be a sign of an aneurysm rupture.
[05:02.51]Knowing the warning signs and getting immediate care can increase survival.
[05:10.04]I'm Marsha James.
[05:12.51]Words in This Story
[05:16.07]aneurysm -n. a burst blood vessel in the brain
[05:23.76]thread(ing) - v. passing through something in a straight line
[05:32.10]coil(ing) - v. to move something around in circles
[05:40.16]rupture v. - to break or burst
[05:46.14]vasospasm n. - sudden narrowing of a blood vessel, reducing its size and flow