Times Newspaper columnistof the year Melanie Reid made me cry this week. While everyone else was moaning about the weather, or the miseries of another dark Monday morning, Melanie reminded me of how lucky we all are to be alive. In the three years since this amazing woman broke her neck and back falling from a horse she has never flinched from proclaiming to the world what it 'feels' like to be paralysed.
In this week's column she talks of the 'indwelling catheter that emerges like an alien worm three inches below my tummy button...' She goes on: 'Oh yes, life would be grand, especially if I didn't have paralysed guts that constantly jump and gripe and spasm but stubbornly refuse to empty...it's only when one's pretty bathroom in all its Elephant Breath and useless, claw-foot, roll-top bathtubbed bloody splendour, becomes a virtual torture chamber that one starts to appreciate things one used to take rather for granted.'
Have you stopped reading? Please don't because, sometimes we all need to face the unthinkable. Sometimes we all need to look at what we've got, and thank heaven for our good fortune.
A few years ago when we were having a new bathroom installed, I got a call from the shop to say the supplier had delivered the wrong colour tiles.
'Ok,' I replied.
'Aren't you going to shout at me?' said the incredulous voice on the other end of the phone. 'You'll have to wait weeks for the new ones, I'm afraid.'
'My daughter is in hospital on a life support machine,' I replied. 'I'd give up everything I own to make her better.'
I was lucky - I got my miracle. I still get down now and then, but I only have to look at my happy, healthy daughter to know how very lucky I am.
So I salute you, Melanie, for inspiring us all. I just wish you could find a miracle of your own.
Times journalist Melanie Reid is a woman who clearly loves life... yet she suffers every day from the life she is forced tolive.