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UI Health Neurosurgery Patient Pays It Forward

Posted: September  06, 2013 by UI Health Marketing

Maria Micheletto recovers from an aneurysm and is inspired to become a nurse.

Nearly seven years ago, an aneurysm spontaneously burst inside Maria Micheletto's brain. The compassionate care Micheletto received in the intensive care unit at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System in Chicago that motivated her recovery and her goal to study neuroscience nursing at Joliet Junior College.

That dream is now materializing.

Micheletto has been working as a nurse for 14 months. "Nursing is the best job ever," Micheletto said. "I love going to work and meeting people. I want to change their perception of being in the hospital. Because many of them have lost control of everything, I try to give their care a personal spin."

When the aneurysm burst, Micheletto's 18-month-old daughter was sleeping. Micheletto dragged herself to the phone to call 911 and spent several hours convincing doctors she did not suffer from migraines.

A CT scan found the rupture and a coil was inserted to block it. It took six months for Micheletto to recover physically. Mental and emotional healing progressed more slowly. Micheletto sought out a support group for brain aneurysm survivors and found a chapter of the Brain Aneurysm Foundation through the neurosurgery team at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.

Although working nights means Micheletto can no longer attend those meetings, she can and does support other foundation events, such as the Sept. 13 "Survivor in the City" cocktail party and book launch for its new fundraising cookbook.

Eventually, Micheletto would like to earn a bachelor of science degree but for now, she is concentrating on giving her patients the very best care.

"This is the hardest thing I've ever done," Micheletto said. "It's physically demanding and mentally exhausting but so rewarding."

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