Beliefnet
Rod Dreher

I saw a photo from last summer of my sister Ruthie and her daughter Hannah, both glowing from the sun (they were on vacation). And today, Ruthie is devastatingly ill with cancer. I am oppressed by the thought of how quickly everything can change for any of us. Read this heartbreaking account by Melanie Reid, a columnist for the Times of London, of what happened to her after taking a fall and breaking her neck three weeks ago. Excerpts:

They put me on the stretcher and already, in a weird way, my life was shutting down. I was strapped on to bodyboards and put on the floor of this helicopter. I love helicopters. I’ve always loved helicopters and I couldn’t enjoy riding in it. I experienced a moment of utter frustration.
The winchman was indeed very dishy, and he took his helmet off, but I was having trouble breathing, and I think he was worried that, because it was obviously a neck break, I didn’t have the chest power to breathe. I said to him: “I can’t breathe,” and he said: “Yes you can, girl. You do this for me. We’re going to be there in six and a half minutes.” It was one of these hilarious Mills & Boon moments where you think, I’m yours, I’m just completely yours, and at the same time you’re thinking, no one will ever want me again.

More:

You go from running your own life, from being go-for-it, up-for-it, get-the-job-done, to being this person who is completely helpless. The change is extraordinary. Apart from the physical shock of a spinal injury, there is the emotional shock of coming to terms with the fact that you’ve lost control over everything … everything — from your future employment to your bowels, even to your ability to call out for a nurse in the night.
Those of us who operate at full volume, full control, we make the decisions and we make them quickly, and suddenly we’re caught up in a world where there are no decisions to be made. We just have to lie and wait. Our futures have been taken out of our hands in a way we could never have dreamt of. And we know that coming to terms with that will be an extraordinary battle.

God help her. Want to send Melanie Reid a card? She’s in the spinal unit at Southern General Hospital, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotland.

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