Melissa Gilbert has been in the public eye since she was a child. From 1974 to 1983 she played Laura Ingalls Wilder on the wildly popular show Little House on the Prairie. Fans fell in love with her charming sense of humor juxtaposed against the often harsh life of the American West as it was portrayed on the show. And while she has long since moved past this character onto other projects, fans of the show can't help but feel a certain amount of protection when it comes to Melissa.
That's why folks were genuinely concerned about a May 2023 Instagram post from the star which detailed a harrowing trip to the ER. Is Melissa Gilbert OK now, and can we expect her to skip through a field anytime soon? Here's what we know about her health.
Is Melissa Gilbert doing OK now?
In the Instagram post, Melissa dropped a photo of her hand with an IV going into it, followed by her arm with purple markings. "Well that was a fun night in the ER," she wrote sarcastically. She went on to explain that two nights prior to the post, sometime around May 24, 2023, she was bitten by a "flying insect." At the time she didn't think of it, until the swelling began.
At this point, her arm was "incredibly swollen, red and hot," which led to a phone call with her doctor. "After many tests I was diagnosed with an abscess and cellulitis," she shared. "Got an IV of clindamycin, Benadryl and acetaminophen. It immediately started to get better. Still kept me up all night."
"The lesson-take bug bites seriously," she warned fans. "Back in the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder, this would’ve meant death or amputation." Thank goodness she isn't living back then.
Melissa Gilbert had back surgery in fall 2020.
On Nov. 20, 2020, Melissa took to Instagram to announce that her fourth spinal surgery was successful. The actress, politician, and producer has struggled with back problems for years, having first had an operation for a broken back in 2001.
"Surgery was wildly successful! Dr. Bray was able to remove all the old hardware, shave off bone spurs causing numbness in my right hand and, and, and, he was able to give me the artificial disc! So now I focus on recovery and remaining COVID-19 free. Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. I send so much love back to you all. Happy Thanksgiving indeed! Love and love and love...MG," Melissa wrote on Instagram.
The celeb learned that she would have to undergo surgery in April 2020, after describing near-constant back pain and a tingling sensation in her right-hand fingers. However, the non-urgent procedure was pushed back due to the pandemic.
Melissa said that the new spinal disc will hopefully preempt further fusion surgeries.
She'd received a spinal fusion surgery in 2016 — which later on turned out to be unsuccessful. It's understood that the hardware implanted into her back started to impair her C7 vertebra, causing her more and more pain and eventually warranting further medical intervention. For a while, it was uncertain whether she would be able to receive a new spinal disc at all, as Melissa revealed in a previous Instagram post.
"In April of , I had a consultation with Dr. Robert Bray at #discsportsandspinecenter. He did my the first fusion in my neck in 2001 and repaired/fused my back when I broke it in 2010. He agreed surgery was necessary and he felt I was a good candidate for an artificial disc instead of a fusion. Saving me from having to do more fusions down my spine in the future," Melissa explained in her post.