Back in February, decorated actress Ashley Judd revealed that on one of her frequent visits to the Congo performing humanitarian work in an attempt to save the endangered bonobos population she tripped over a fallen tree while in the jungle, shattered her leg, causing internal bleeding, and as a result, could have died.
Judd explained that it took a total of 55 hours of her being carried and transported on a motorbike (for six hours), biting down on a stick, and falling in and out of consciousness, before she finally arrived at a medical center for emergency treatment.
After surgery to repair her leg which was shattered in four places and fix nerve damage she was at last able to return home to the United States to continue her recovery.
“I want to give my deepest and most vulnerable thanks to Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, for making split second decisions upon my arrival,” Judd wrote on Instagram following her surgery. “I arrived to them from DRC in terrible shape and my leg had no pulse. I desperately needed a blood transfusion.
“Their sisters (nurses) are exemplary, technically top notch, and they cared for the trauma in my body as well as my soul with equal proficiency. Pictured here, once I was stable, is carefree laughter and mirth.
“Dr Greef, pictured, was super at stabilizing my leg with the external fixator until the massive soft tissue damage and swelling went down so that I could have the Big Operation. What he did was significant and I am forever in his debt.
“It must be noted I was being cared for during the Covid B.1.351 strain that is plaguing RSA. Sunninghill is world class and a wonder. Thank you to my trauma surgeon, anesthesiologist, head of nursing, hospital management – everyone.”
This past weekend, the 53-year-old actress once again took to Instagram to share an update on her recovery, and to share some video and absolutely gnarly photos of her damaged right leg.
“‘It’s okay if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.’ C. Werden,” Judd wrote.
“I am getting back up. I remember when I began sleeping through the night. I remember when I began to have dreams again (both kinds). With the kind of injury I (& many others) have, we speak of degrees.
“In the video, 109 degrees was an outrageous dream, & trying to reach it was agony. I did 60 of those heel slides a day. I sobbed through them. I made it because of the loving exhortation and validation of my many friends.
“Yesterday, I effortlessly reached the benchmark of 130 degrees. I can nearly reach my knee as you see in one picture. My feet can rest almost parallel. The knee is coming along, the four fractures healing. The peroneal nerve injury will take at least a year I concentrate hard at moving my very still foot (and appreciate my sister’s medical-grade massages which remind my brain that I do have a right foot). Come June, I will walk with a brace and a cane.
“But look out, Patagonia, because when that nerve heals, you’ll be seeing me. My Partner gave me that book for my recent birthday. I believe. Just as that little endangered bonobo knows that she’ll be seeing me back in the Congolese rain forest soon.”
Take a look at Judd’s gruesome pics and video below…