AceShowbiz - Actress Brooke Shields feared she would die after contracting a staph infection following two surgeries and three blood transfusions to fix her broken leg.
"The Blue Lagoon" star has been learning to walk again after breaking her femur in a balance board accident in a New York gym in January, but she admits her health emergency was a lot more serious than she had previously let on, after going public with her rehabilitation work last month (February).
In a new interview with People.com, Shields explains her survival instincts "kicked in" soon after experiencing the excruciating pain that shot through her body as she landed hard on her right leg, and she was relieved to still have feeling in her feet.
"Sounds came out that I've never heard before," she recalled of the immediate aftermath of her accident. "I kept saying, 'I can feel my toes' because I was so afraid I was paralyzed."
Shields was rushed into surgery to have two metal rods inserted into her limb, "One from the top of my hip down, and another across into the hip socket," she shared, but it wasn't enough to keep her shattered bone in place, and she had to endure a second operation, during which doctors had to "add five rods and a metal plate to anchor it all in place."
"I never considered myself Zen, but I realized with a certain calm that the rest is up to me now," she said.
The star, whose husband, producer Chris Henchy, and two daughters were unable to visit her in hospital due to COVID restrictions, needed to keep her emotions in check as she subsequently developed a staph infection where she had her intravenous tube for her blood transfusions - and medics were concerned it was the super bug MRSA, which can be life-threatening as it's resistant to antibiotics.
"Thank God it wasn't," Shields shared. "If it had been, my doctor said it would have been a race against time. That's how you can become septic. It seemed unthinkable."
The health crisis initially left Shields in low spirits as she began her tough physical therapy sessions, "For the first time in my entire life, I thought, 'I can't power through this,' " she said. " 'I can't even stand on my leg or go up a step. I need to relearn how to even walk.' The feeling of helplessness is shocking."
However, she quickly became determined to rise to the recovery challenge, forcing herself to undergo two sessions a day and push through the pain.
"If anything, I'm a fighter," she declared.