Brian May, Hall of Fame guitarist of classic rock royalty Queen is recovering from a variety of ailments including a recently announced heart attack that sent him to the hospital.
May was in the news over the last month reporting that he had a ‘gardening accident’ that resulted in the shredding of his gluteous muscle. While attempting to recover from that painful incident, May discovered a small pile of ailments that were being masked by the pain from the muscle tear. An MRI revealed that he had a compressed sciatic nerve that was causing him severe pain.
When his pain wasn’t resolved, he continued to pursue medical attention and it was discovered that three of his arteries in his heart were suffering from blockage, and he underwent surgery. Despite a recommendation for open heart surgery, May opted for a less severe treatment in the introduction of stents to each of the blocked arteries, with very positive results. A stent is a simple mesh medical device that allows blocked veins and arteries to remain open with an internal structure that encourages blood flow and has been a widely used reaction to cardiac issues with great success over the last decade.
Queen and news of May have been pretty consistent during these pandemic locked down last few months, including the release of a Covid oriented version of their seminal hit “We Are the Champions” re released as “You Are the Champions.” This release features Adam Lambert on vocals who has been anchoring the band’s position at the microphone for the last several years. Original members May and Rogert Taylor on drums anchor the band along with Lambert, an alum of American Idol. That video has racked up nearly 4 million views in the last month and
Innovatively collaborating via Instagram between London, Cornwall and Los Angeles, Brian May, Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert in their respective homes recorded a spontaneous new version of Queen’s classic anthem with some subtle changes. The result, now finished off, mixed and mastered, is being released under a new title – all proceeds going towards Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for The World Health Organisation.
May put out this statement on his facebook page:
I thought I would tell my story here because it’s just a tiny bit kind of more intimate but I think it needs telling because people are kind of making up stories out there and I thought I’d tell you the truth about what happened.
I told you that I had a ripped muscle. Now that was the way I was diagnosed and we thought it was like a bizarre gardening accident. I didn’t realise that was amusing really and I didn’t really, I kind of forgotten that anything to do with the bum, people finding amusing, so I got kind of pissed off with all these, you know, Brian May’s gets a pain in the bum, and all that kind of stuff.
But, anyway, it turned out to be not really the case. I had an MRI and yes I did have a rip in my my gluteus maximus and it’s so easy to make a connection … gluteus maximus … there’s a rip there so that must be the cause of the pain – end of story. Got a pain in his bum, and no, no other tests were done.
Now a week later I’m still in agony – I mean real agony. I wanted to jump at some points. I could not believe the pain, and people were saying: “That’s not like a ripped muscle. You don’t get that amount of pain.” So eventually I had a another MRI but this time I had my upper lower spine and sure enough what we do we discover but I had, I had a compressed sciatic nerve, quite severely compressed, and that’s why I had this feeling that someone was putting a screwdriver in my back the whole time and it was excruciating. So finally we started treating the thing for what it was. I’d been putting the ice packs in the wrong place for 10 days or whatever.
So that’s one side of the story and I’m a lot better now. I’m actually free of that terrible pain, which actually destroys your mind. I can’t believe what it does to your brain. I feel like it’s… I feel like I’m in the pain. It’s been appalling. Nothing if you have ever appreciated that.
But in the middle of it the rest of the story is a little more bizarre and a bit more shocking really. Well I was shocked anyway. I thought I was a very healthy guy and everyone says you’ve got a great blood pressure, you’ve got great heart rate and everything and I keep fit on me bike and everything – good diet = not too much fat. Anyway I had a, in the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack and I say small, you know. It’s not something that did me any harm. It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness and that feeling in the arms and sweating and, you know, you kind of know, you’ve heard and, actually this is a heart attack, and cut a rather long story short, my wonderful doctor drove me to the hospital himself in his Corniche, and I went straight into what they called the “Cath Room”, I think, and had an angiogram. Now that’s the thing where they stick something in your wrist here and it goes all the way up to your heart and it can go into the arteries of your heart and find out what’s wrong and it can find out in a way that nothing else can – it seems to me, you know – nothing else can tell you what the angiogram can tell you.
And they looked at me, because you’re conscious, and said: “Brian, I’m sorry this is a little more complicated than we thought. and we think we should come out of there and we should talk before we actually do anything rather than just sticking a stent in.”
So that’s what happened and I went back to a hospital room. I was very lucky to be treated as an emergency case but I think kind of was an emergency, but they were very kind and we talked about it the next day and there was a lot of pressure because I actually turned out to have three arteries which were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood to my heart.
My heart as a valve, as a pump I should say and there was a lot of pressure from some quarters to have the open heart surgery where they saw through your, your rib cage really, open you up. open your heart up and have a triple bypass. A lot of pressure and a lot of people said, you know: “If you don’t do this you’re throwing away a terrible,” you know, “your only opportunity and you would regret it for the rest of your life.” But I had other people telling me: “Look you don’t need to do this. You can have three stents put in and you can walk tonight or tomorrow morning.”
So after a lot of thought and deliberation I opted for the stents and the next day, actually the same day, I went in there and they did it, and it wasn’t that easy but the only reason it wasn’t easy for me was because of the pain, the excruciating pain I had in my leg. Otherwise it would have been a doddle. I mean, like I.. they had to kind of put me out in the end because I was writhing about and pulling the tubes out because the pain was so bad in my leg. But when I came round, it was as if nothing had happened. I couldn’t feel that they’d been in here. I couldn’t feel anything and I still can’t. It’s been amazing.
It’s an incredible operation, done by the right, skillful person, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart because I walked out with a heart that’s very strong now, so I think I’m in good shape for some time to come, and if I’m not, we can have another angiogram.
I have this feeling that like everybody from the age of 60 onwards should have an angiogram whether they have any problems or not because there’s the only thing that can tell you. I had no idea. I had great electrocardiograms and whatever. You know nothing could tell me that I was about to be in real, real trouble because I could have died from that, from the blockages that were there.
Anyway I didn’t die. I came out and I would have been full of beans if it weren’t for the leg and I’ve only just got to the point where the leg is kind of liveable because I have a fantastic physiotherapist and a doctor who stayed with me and adjusting the painkillers and stuff.
Painkillers are another story, you know. You’re in that much pain. I hate painkillers but you have to go for it and I did and I went on these severe painkillers and that’s a horrible trip as well. I don’t know what’s worse really – I’m not on any painkillers now and I’m dealing with it. You got to go and put up a fight, I suppose.
So I thought I’d tell you this story. If you’re not bored by now, thank you for listening, but that’s what happened and I think there’s some lessons to be learned I must say, and I think we’ve all got to really look at ourselves as we get to the kind of later – to the Autumn years – and what seems to be a very healthy heart may not be and I would get it checked if I were you. I think I will get it checked from time to time now but I’m very grateful. I’m incredibly grateful that I now have a life to lead again and it’s one of those things, you know. I was actually very near death because of this, but the pain that I had was from something completely different. – funny how things work – but I’m good. I’m here and I’m ready to rock and God bless you all.
I’d be interested to hear your reactions to the story but I’m good there’s no need to panic, you know. There’s no … please don’t send me sympathies and stuff because I’m good. Just send me congratulations if that’s okay.
Get well soon Brian May!
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