My sister , Jane ,pops in and out of my head all the time .
She taught me a lot . Made me howl with laughter , made me be the whole of The Von Trapp Family singers / a convent in Austria /a goat-herd , tested my patience and I believe is the reason ( for a fat lump that I am ) that I have so much energy .
When someone cannot move , let alone scratch their nose , tweek their toes , stop that bee from buzzing round their head …you learn a) to listen to the intercom b) NEVER say you feel tired c) try and make their life as positive experience as it can possibly be .
Anyway , why I’m talking about Jane is because I read a review of Melanie Reid’s memoir ‘The World I fell Out Of ‘. Like Jane, she is tetraplegic as a result of a riding accident – which in fact is unlike Jane, who never went on a horse in her life ,but was Achondroplasiac ,and if that wasn’t hard enough developed Syringomyelia, a rare disorder in which a fluid-filled cyst formed within her spinal cord rendering her paralysed from the chin down . How bloody awful.
I’ve followed Melanie’s columns in The Times .She is very honest and tells us that ‘ paralysis takes it’s victims hostage until they feel little more than vacuum-packed lumps of flesh,inert and helpless within their own bodies’ . Jane used to describe her body as being ‘trapped in a suit of armour that is 2 sizes too small’ .It used to break my heart .
Melanie says her book is a plea to those living with well-functioning bodies to be aware of what they have .To love themselves and relish their ability to dance, run , go to the lavatory without help. With serious disability can come wisdom and perspective,and Reid passionately urges fellow women to set aside their self-loathing and get out there and live