Taking a week long absence from popular USA daytime talk show The View, where she is one of the co-hosts, viewers were left wondering what had happened. But the 65 years-old, came back to reveal that she had been “laying in a hospital room” because of a condition called sciatica in mid-2020.
The actress, whose real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson elaborated on the condition saying: “It is basically a bulging disc in your back and it impacts the sciatic nerve, which sends pain down your leg.
“I was trying to move my leg – impossible to do. It was really horrible, but I’m glad to be here.”
The sciatic nerve is incredibly important to the body.
It runs from your lower back all the way to your feet and is responsible for motor and sensory functions of the lower body.
When it is compressed individuals experience sensations of stabbing, burning or shooting pain, pins and needles like tingling or numbness.
Although the condition usually heals in four to six weeks, walking afterwards can be tricky- something that Whoppi found out for herself.
She said: “That first step with the walker – this is my new best friend.
“I’ve turned into this little old Black lady. It’s really strange.”
Although the causes of sciatica are mostly physical, occurring due to back injuries and slip discs- stress or emotional anxiety can also bring on the condition.
According to AICA Orthopedics during a high time of stress the bring deprives nerves of oxygen.
This can then lead to the typical symptoms of leg pain, numbness and tingling in the back of the legs, feet and toes or bottom.
In 2019, Whoopi was once again hospitalised- this time for a far more serious condition.
Pneumonia and sepsis brought her “very, very close to leaving the Earth,” as she put it herself.
Starting from a cough which lingered for several months- by February 2020 she was hardly able to breathe.
Pulmonologist Martin Greenberg revealed when talking on The View: “it was all hands on deck, she had a 30 percent chance of dying from her symptoms.”
Sepsis can result from the infection pneumonia and can be potentially life threatening.
As the Mayo Clinic reveals, when the body is fighting the infection, these processes turn on the body and cause organs to function poorly.
A substantial drop in blood pressure can be an early indicator.
Those at higher risk of contracting sepsis are those who have been hospitalised recently- with weaker immune systems they are more likely to develop infections.
Although a majority of individuals recover, the condition holds a 40 percent mortality rate.