(Madison Magazine) – In the early months of 2007, Eric Sarno of Madison was training for a national triathlon that summer in Portland, Oregon, which he hoped would lead to a spot in the World Amateur Triathlon Championship. He was 36 years old.
Sarno never made it to Portland. The back pain he’d been experiencing over the previous few years intensified in early spring 2007. Complications from an unsuccessful epidural steroid injection produced headaches so severe he admitted himself to Meriter Hospital.
It was there, on the night of July 1, that Sarno suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke. A neurologist later told Sarno that the amount of bleeding in his brain — a half cup — is nearly always fatal.
A few hours after he collapsed at Meriter, an ambulance took Sarno to the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, where he underwent what would be the first of five brain surgeries. One third of his skull was removed. He spent 45 days in the hospital, then most of a year in nearly daily outpatient rehab. CONTINUE