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You Made Some Light In My Darkness by Rosi Baxter

Quotation Mark I’m sorry Mrs. Baxter, you ARE seriously ill, and I’m going to have to admit you before your kidneys fail…

Not that I was in any fit state to object, because the week before, I had gone from 100% healthy to being struck down by an agonisingly painful illness which, within less than 24 hours had left me unable to walk or stand up and my legs swollen like tree stumps! 

The night I lost the use of my legs, I was ferried up to A & E by one very concerned husband, advised to take a week off work, (like there was a choice!!!)  and see my GP, who over the next few days was totally flummoxed and hastily arranged a consultant’s appointment the following week as I was so patently ill.  

Waiting to see the specialist, I cannot begin to describe the pain and despair I had experienced for over a week, I was so frightened.  

Utterly baffled by the speed and severity of my collapse, and following several extremely painful procedures involving needles, my consultant eventually emerged from behind a pile of dusty tomes to cautiously diagnose Adult Onset Still’s Disease (a very rare auto-immune disease) an illness he had seen only 5 times in 30 years!  

I was consequently unceremoniously whisked by burly porter and shell-shocked husband via wheelchair to the Emergency Assessment Unit, and over the next few days subjected to all manner of hideous tests to exclude cancer, leukaemia, hepatitis and other life threatening conditions.  

Five days into my stay, I had convinced myself at best, I would never walk again, but the initial diagnosis held, and intravenous steroid treatment was swiftly administered.  

Within a few days I was shuffling around hospital on crutches feeling sorry for myself, still in shock, but possibly over the worst. When it had been confirmed my legs were clear of blood clots, I was discharged, and thus ensued a gentle convalescence at home, before limping into the world once more on my bright pink crutches.  

I teetered around on wasted legs for about 6 weeks, got meekly back to work, and, hoping to re-establish my lifelong but recently impaired rock chick credentials, Orwell Park and Roger Hodgson beckoned tantalisingly, an event that at one point I didn’t think I’d make…            

So July 11th saw us heading wistfully south to Ipswich, where almost 25 years ago we were married, and had spent 3 years living within spitting distance of the River Orwell. As we parked the car, our eyes rolled heavenwards at soggy gatherings of blokey Marillionheads, and we viewed the support act a necessary evil before the proper gig, in all probability just 19 variations of Kayleigh - HOW WRONG CAN YOU BE?  

When Marillion took to the stage, we were immediately transfixed (me in particular, on my rapidly sinking crutches) – tearful, soaked to the skin, highly emotional and muddy, I knew then that this was my turning point.  

I will never forget the damp, distant figure of h, lurching energetically across the stage – and the amazing vocals and dynamics.  

Barely registering the exhaust and chassis parting company as we exited in a daze (waterlogged terrain I fear), we just knew we had to see them again. And soon! 

So, several weeks later, clutching a by now well-played Happiness is the Road CD, we headed noisily for Rock City, where, filled with excitement, I deemed it wise to consider my weak knees and viewed the gig sedately but droolingly from the back. Following another mind-blowing performance, we swiftly located Racket Records and gleefully embarked upon a truly magical journey of musical brilliance that I know has helped me tremendously on the road to remission.  

How can you possibly explain Marillion to the uninitiated- you hear one song and you’re hooked?  

Statistically, my illness will flare again. But I’ll also be seeing Marillion again – and next time round, on crutches, wheelchair or stretcher, I won’t be observing quietly from the back!

(Roger who?)

First posted on the Web UK website in 2009.





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Photo © Alison Toon
Photo © Alison Toon
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