I am a very lucky person. I have three beautiful, healthy noisy children; a kind and supportive husband; lots of great friends; a loving family; I live in a comfortable if messy house in a great city; and I like what I do for a living (yes, I know I'm about to be unemployed, but that won't be forever). Sure, I'd like to be a size 10, be married to Captain Fredrick Wentworth, have luxurious long chestnut hair, and no mortgage, but really, I've got nothing to complain about. I fully recognise that I'm part of the one per cent of people in this world who are very fortunate indeed.
Except, there's something that I would dearly love to change about my life.
I have an awful hacking cough. It attacks me every day - several times every day. It grabs me as a tickle in my throat, has me gasping for air, stops me speaking, makes my eyes water. When people first hear it they think that I'm one of the following:
a. riddled with disease and therefore to be avoided on the tram at all costs
b. a chronic smoker who needs to give up for pete's sake
c. about to drop dead.
Some people who've know me longer are convinced that it's psychosomatic, but it's not.
I've never been a smoker (it makes me cough too much), and really I am perfectly healthy. I know I am because I've had every test under the sun to work out what it is causing the cough. I've been poked and prodded, had a camera down my throat, been on elimination diets, blown into lung capacity machines, and there wasn't a really definitive answer, until I found myself at a speech therapist a few years ago. She was able to diagnose it for me, at long last.
Apparently, it's called Irritable Larynx Syndrome, and it was caused by some cold-related damage to my larynx years and years ago. The solution is relatively easy too - drink water, or cough the fit out. If I can manage it there are even some breathing exercises that I can do to try and prevent it, although they are hard get right.
But I am tired of having this damn cough. It's been over 20 years now, and enough's enough. Really.
So, if a good fairy does grant me three wishes, it would be that my children remain happy and healthy; that my mortgage disappears; and good riddance to this cough.