The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star suffered a stroke earlier this year (09) and spent months under doctors' care in hospital.
Smith claims the constant activity in her ward made it harder for her to recover.
She says, "Apart from when my daughter was born more than 50 years ago, I've never been in hospital. It was hellish. Other patients and nurses were noisy, demanding attention at all hours of the night. After the stroke I was in a ward of four and, at first, I was completely helpless - I couldn't move or even lift a glass of water.
"At the beginning, an acceptance of death flashed through my mind and I thought, 'If I go now, I've had a good life', but I lingered on and gradually built up strength."
And the 87 year old is equally as damning about the aftercare she has received now she is back at her London home recovering.
She adds: "For a few months, a nurse came every day to help me. I was also given a Zimmer frame (walker) and a special stool with arm rests to use in the kitchen. But in the four months I've been home, I haven't had one visit from my GP (general practitioner), which I think is disgraceful."
Smith also reveals she is still trying to regain full speech: "It's maddening not to be able to fully express myself. It (my speech) is getting better, but I still get muddled."
"Ally McBeal" is getting a new friend: Indie guy. James LeGros James LeGros, the so-called Brad Pitt of the indie film world, is set to join the cast of Fox's hit lawyer show -- a sort-of testosterone reinforcement as series stalwart Gil Bellows prepares to exit.
According to reports today, LeGros will bow on the show in May (as in, yes, the May sweeps). The 37-year-old actor will play a thirtysomething lawyer name of Mark Albert. In USA Today, "Ally" creator David E. Kelley says he sees the LeGros character (and a couple of other new ones still to come) as rocking the boat at the all-too-precious firm of Cage/Fish Associates.
The LeGros casting comes at a time of relative upheaval for the still-young, still-popular series. By the end of this -- its third season -- "Ally McBeal" will have said goodbye to Bellows (as lawyer Billy Thomas) and Courtney Thorne-Smith (as lawyer Georgia Thomas). The status of Lisa Nicole Carson (as prosecutor Renee Radick) is fuzzy. She's still with the show; she just hasn't been on the show much since -- per her own account to the National Enquirer -- she did a stint in a New York psychiatric ward after living like "a one-woman party" around the holidays.
Being an indie dude, LeGros isn't really best known for anything, although he has starred in a number of films, including "Living in Oblivion."
HEATHER'S SPIN: Heather Locklear is terribly happy with "Spin City," is terribly happy about the sitcom's impending move from New York to Los Angeles to accommodate new star Charlie Sheen and is just terribly happy. So a rep for the actress tells the New York Daily News, denying rumbles that Locklear is, um, not terribly happy (or optimistic) about the prospects for the ABC sitcom after Michael J. Fox departs at the end of this season.
CUT OUT: This item was going to be about how Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles police detective disgraced on the stand during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, had been hired as a consultant by ABC morning news show "Good Morning America," except now he's not. Protest from staffers nixed the deal that would have seen the ex-cop turned author on the dole as a paid consultant for his expertise on a Connecticut homicide allegedly involving a member of the Kennedy clan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.