I decided to read The Lonely Patient when I noticed the author had the initials M.S. Hey, it’s as good a reason as any! He doesn’t write specifically about MS patients, but I was amazed by how well he put into words some experiences I’ve had. Here’s a sample:
“When a person with chronic illness is out and about, no longer in the hospital or in bed…but shopping for groceries, passing papers on a mortgage, or drinking coffee at the office, she is carrying a secret identity…Who knows about…the terror of the upcoming surgery, about the itchy scar under the blouse? Who at work knows the inconveniences of her illness, the series of discomforts, each tolerable, but one after another allowing no rest?
She doesn’t “look” sick, so she must not be. The fact that she can pass among strangers while holding this news close, revealing nothing to them, exacerbates the loneliness of her illness. Somehow she manages the grind of daily life while illness looms over everything, shadowing, trivializing, obscuring what must be attended to.”
Michael Stein, The Lonely Patient