Chimp attack survivor on the road to recovery - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Chimp attack survivor on the road to recovery

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Charla Nash (WFSB) Charla Nash (WFSB)

It was one of the most viscous attacks ever.

Charla Nash was brutally disfigured by a 200 pound chimpanzee that left her blind and without hands.

Six years later, after numerous surgeries including a face transplant, Nash is just trying to live her life.

She uses walls and furniture to get around her apartment, and after spending months in hospitals and nursing homes, she is much happier there.

“I hate to say I am not me anymore – but I will need help for the rest of my life – I can’t cook --- I can’t bathe myself,” Nash said.

After being attacked by her friend’s chimpanzee, Nash was left without a face, a jaw and without hands.

Doctors did amazing things to help get her a new face, new teeth and glass eyeballs, which look very real.

While she can’t cook she likes to eat, but because of the face transplant, she has a hard time swallowing.

Food has to be cut into small pieces and she has to keep her head back to avoid choking.

Doctors tried giving her new hands but her body rejected them and now she is hoping for prosthetics.

“If they work well, yeah anything is an improvement from nothing. Thank God I have my one thumb,” Nash said.

Nash said she is thankful, even after the horrific attack.

“I know something saved my life…that I wasn’t killed right then and there,” she said.

The light of her life is her daughter Brianna who recently graduated with a master’s degree from Quinnipiac University.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am she graduated and I feel my job is done now – and I hope the longer time I can spend with her the better,” Nash said.

She listens to digital books from the library, which are everything from history to mysteries.

Home health aides go to her house during the week to help her, and she is able to go out but insists on doing that herself, by counting each step on a steep staircase.

Getting outside isn’t easy but she still does it and goes for walks every day and even goes to the gym.

“I work with a physical therapist – she has me do lots of neck exercises – I am starting to throw a ball now,” Nash said.

She added that she loves horses and someday would like to ride again.

She said she doesn’t remember the attack and said as tough as it is, every day gets better.

“It came into my head, my heads getting clearer- my thoughts get clearer, my determination gets more – I think it’s working out good,” Nash said.

Since the attack, Connecticut laws have changed. Chimpanzees are now considered dangerous animals and private citizens cannot own one.

Nash sued the state but her claim was denied. She owes about $1 million in medical bills and is trying to raise money for prosthetic hands.

To make a donation to her GoFundMe account, click here.

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