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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Walking Back to Happiness

I made a Christmas Wish today for a woman I've never met. Melanie Reid, a successful Times journalist is tetraplegic after breaking her neck and back in a riding accident in April 2010.

And though her life was shattered that day,  she has shared her high and lows ever since in her  weekly Spinal Column, laudable for its wit and  unremitting honesty. Her words have made me smile, weep, groan, commiserate, coil back in horror or hit the air with my fists... and yet I  have never experienced pity.

Although she is officially paralysed she still has a degree of function. 'It takes 200 muscles to walk properly,' she says. 'I may have, oh, 50 in my legs and torso that, although they are rigid, unco-operative and sore, combine enough power to allow me to bear my own weight.'

The news recently hadn't been good - her desire to walk  superseded  by the reality of crippled hands, paralysed bowel and bladder, worn out shoulder joints and constant neuropathic pain. So earlier this year she gave up trying. 'Attempting to walk just caused me more heartache,' she recalled. 'It was a waste of other people's time; it served purely to remind me that I would never recover ; it exposed my past foolish bravado.'

That 'foolish bravado' can now be described as optimism. For the past month Melanie has been commandeering unsuspecting visitors to help her husband guide her along on the frame. In the beginning it was three steps before her leg buckled. Then, gradually, she made it further. This week, with the aid of her husband and brother, Melanie walked. 'I walked the  length of the living room, ' she says, 'not once, not twice but three times.'

Which brings me back to my Christmas wish. Melanie now has hope for the future. Please, Santa, make that hope a reality.


Another Guernseyman said...

My wife reads Melanie Reid's column every week (and so do I, sometimes.) My wife thinks Melanie's very brave - I'd say she's got bottle! Here's hoping Santa grants your wish.

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks, Mr Guernsey man - and a Happy Christmas to you, too!