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Arthritis sufferers, corraled by the author, tell how they cope. Isabel Hanson was a pianist when, five years ago, she first suffered symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis; though she has recovered from the worst of her illness, she still is unable to play. Doctors were generally unsympathetic, she found, and either non-aggressive or out of date in regard to treatment; take aspirin and learn to live with it, was the common, faulty advice. Friends and relatives were not particularly sympathetic either, which she attributes to the fact that arthritis often has no visible manifestations. The medical cold-shoulder and the paucity of personal support led her to provide these accounts--not to offer medical advice, but to explain the ""bewildering, insidious pain, the stiffness, fatigue, loss of function"" associated with arthritis, and to illustrate how arthritis of various kinds get along. The histories cover both those who have early, active arthritics and chronic sufferers whose earlier treatment was much less effective than what's available today. Some of the cases, moreover, illustrate the use of ""non-traditional"" therapies (hot tubs, special diets); and while Hanson doesn't endorse any of them, she feels they may be worth a try. There is little editorial comment, and no actual advice; but those with severe arthritis may find some comfort and long-distance support.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1980
Publisher: Creative Arts