Nearly a month after revealing that she suffered an accident in Congo, Ashley Judd is opening up about the trauma that has followed the incident that almost caused her to lose a leg.
Judd, 52, took to Instagram on Saturday, March 6 to share an update after the accident and try to make sense of the events that led to her “catastrophic accident." She posted a photo of her being embraced by her friend, Moyra Mulholland Botta, as well as a shot of her sister, Wynonna Judd, washing her hair.
“I do not understand why what has happened has happened,” she began the caption. “I do understand I have been loved and helped enormously. I understand nights are a savage agony. I want to thank Dr Phil Kregor & @hughstonclinic & @todd_rubin_md for seven hours of intensive, brilliant, inspired surgical work on my bones and nerve. It took stamina, focus, and humility to consult with some experts around the country, whom I also deeply thank (especially SMc).”
She also thanked the staff at Skyline Hospital, adding, “I loved the sweet spirit of the janitor who cleaned my room, my bright-spot-of-the-day-gal from nutrition, and always, my consummate and tender nurses.”
“Now, I am in the bosom of a stream of friends and family, too numerous to mention, who have caught me in their prodigious arms from this precipitous fall,” she continued. “They do for me what I cannot do for myself - prepare meals, shampoo my hair, and they also offer the deep spiritual direction and consolation of trying to begin to craft an arc of meaning and purpose. They also offer and meet my need for quiet. I am lost and they are my shepherd’s staff.”
She added, “To all who have gone before me and walk beside me with physical therapy, I had no idea. Thank you.”
“I am only at beginning and the combination of drowning in trauma and addressing the physical body is a lot,” she said. “Yet you have done it, and so will I. Haltingly, imperfectly, and under the brave eye of Truthseeker, my dear cousin’s @sagermosaics epic art work she says I inspired. (Could that possibly be true?) Thank you, all here and everywhere, for the goodwill, and may we ever be mindful of the needs of others.”
Judd has been traveling to Congo over the years to study the endangered bonobo population with her life partner, but last month, the actor and activist fell while walking in the forest and ended up breaking her leg in four places and suffering nerve damage. The actor discussed her injury in length from her hospital bed in South Africa during two Instagram Live segments last month hosted by New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof.
“Accidents happen," she told Kristoff. "There was a fallen tree on the path, which I didn't see, and I had a very powerful stride going and I just fell over this tree."
Judd described the 55 hours following her accident as “incredibly harrowing” and had her eventually going into shock and passing out.
Days after the Instagram Live videos, Judd used her platform to highlight the men and women who helped her in Congo after she broke her leg. She shared a carousel of images on Instagram, starting with a photo of two Congolese men carrying her on a makeshift gurney followed by a photo of her laying on the floor with a wrapped leg, one of two men driving her on a scooter, as well as photos of two women who were tending to her following the injury.
“Friends. Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg,” she wrote in the caption. “I wake up weeping in gratitude, deeply moved by each person who contributed something life giving and spirit salving during my grueling 55 hour odyssey.”
She went on to name each person who offered their assistance by name, sharing how each helped her on this journey and thanking them for their kindness and support.
Judd ended her caption honoring the women who helped her along with the men, writing, “The women! My sisters who held me. They blessed me.”