Emilia Clarke says she survived two life-threatening brain aneurysms while filming “Game of Thrones.” The 32-year-old actress revealed her private health battle in a personal essay for The New Yorker.
Clarke had finished filming the show’s first season when she suffered a severe headache while working out in February 2011. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage. She underwent a “minimally invasive” three-hour procedure to seal off the aneurysm.
“When I woke, the pain was unbearable,” she wrote. “I had no idea where I was. My field of vision was constricted. There was a tube down my throat and I was parched and nauseated.”
When she was moved out of the I.C.U, Clarke was told the great hurdle was to make it to the two-week mark and if she made it that long with minimal complications, her chances of a good recovery were high.
Two weeks after the procedure Clarke says she suffered aphasia and was unable to remember or speak her full name. But it eventually passed, and she was able to return to the set for season 2 of “Game Of Thrones.” But doctors warned the actress of a second aneurysm that could pop without warning. She says she took morphine between press interviews to cope with the pain.
In 2013, she had a second failed procedure to seal the second aneurysm that had doubled in size. She said she emerged from the operation with a drain coming out of her head and that bits of her skull had been replaced by titanium.
Despite this, Clarke says she has fully recovered from the drain trauma and has launched the charity SameYou, which provides treatment and funds research for people who need rehabilitation from brain injuries.