Ashley Judd says she’s “weeping in gratitude” after surviving a near-fatal accident in the jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Feb. 12, the actress revealed she tripped and severely injured her leg, requiring emergency medical attention. At the time, Judd said she was resting in an “ICU trauma unit in beautiful South Africa, which has taken me in from the Congo, a country I deeply love which is not, unfortunately, equipped to deal with massive catastrophic injuries like I have had.”
Four days have passed since then, and the 52-year-old is now sharing more details about her journey from the rainforest to the hospital in a grateful Instagram post.
She writes, “Friends. Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg.”
“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.”
According to Judd, a man named Dieumerci “stretched out his leg and put it under my grossly misshapen left leg,” which she later found out “was broken in four places and had nerve damage.”
She adds that Dieumerci “remained seated, without fidgeting or flinching, for 5 hours on the rain forest floor,” acting as a human splint. She reflects, “He was with me in my primal pain. He was my witness.”
The actress also honors Papa Jean, who set her leg back into place as she “screamed and writhed.” She says, “He saved me.”
There were also the three heroes who carried her on a hammock through “rough terrain” for three hours before Didier and Maradona transported her on a motorbike.
She describes their arrangement and how Didier was her backrest, while Maradona helped her stay atop the bike as they held her broken leg. Judd says the men rode like this for six hours on an “irregular, rutted and pocked dirt road.”
The full post reads:
“Friends. Without my Congolese brothers and sisters, my internal bleeding would have likely killed me, and I would have lost my leg. 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. Here are some of their stories. Dieumerci stretched out his leg and put it under my grossly misshapen left leg to try to keep it still. It was broken in four places and had nerve damage. Dieumerci (“Thanks be to God”) remained seated, without fidgeting or flinching, for 5 hours on the rain forest floor. He was with me in my primal pain. He was my witness. Papa Jean: it took 5 hours, but eventually he found me, wretched and wild on the ground, and calmly assessed my broken leg. He told me what he had to do. I bit a stick. I held onto Maud. And Papa Jean, with certainty began to manipulate and adjust my broken bones back into something like a position I could be transported in, while I screamed and writhed. How he did that so methodically while I was like an animal is beyond me. He saved me. & he had to do this twice! The six men who carefully moved me into the hammock with as little jostling as possible, who then walked for 3 hours over rough terrain carrying me out. Heros. Didier and Maradona: Didier drove the motorbike. I sat facing backwards, his back my backrest. When I would begin to slump, to pass out, he would call to me to re-set my position to lean on him. Maradona rode on the very back of the motorbike, i faced him. He held my broken leg under the heel and I held the shattered top part together with my two hands. Together we did this for 6 hours on an irregular, rutted and pocked dirt road that has gullies for rain run off during the rainy season. Maradona was the only person to come forward to volunteer for this task. We have a nice friendship, discussing the pros and cons of polygamy and monogamy. I show two pictures, one in his hat and one in mine, which he dearly covets!
The women! My sisters who held me. They blessed me.”