MAINSTAY: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill--a Moving Personal Account and a Companion Guide by Maggie Strong
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MAINSTAY: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill--a Moving Personal Account and a Companion Guide

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Raw, honest, and wrenching, a strong supportive guide for those caring for a chronically ill spouse--and an eye-opening blast for readers who haven't been there. Strong's husband has had diagnosed multiple sclerosis for ten years (for years before that, a series of disturbing symptoms was dismissed by physicians); he is incapacitated and worsening. She here alternates the story of how she has supported her family (including two children) with chapters citing others' experiences and giving practical help on survival--emotional, physical, monetary--for those struggling with similar problems. Strong minces no words, anywhere: ""Some illnesses progress slowly downward, such as emphysema or Parkinson's. . .the slowest degenerations require enormous stamina from the family: the worst always lies ahead. . . For faster-worsening courses, as with certain cancers, the family must adapt more frequently and more massively. . . The always-fatal illnesses such as AIDS and metastatic cancer offer no hope."" Strong has serious warnings on medical people who are no help, and on so-called alternative therapies (""Fighting Off the Gurus""): her conclusion--""save your time and money and what's left of your hope. . .stick with doctors you trust."" She is equally honest with her own story: ""I love Ted. He loves me. We are friends who have known each other twenty-one years. We are loyal to each other. I wouldn't want it to end, although I dread living like this, and worse, for the rest of my life. What's left of us?"" Relationships, money, child-raising, decision-making--all come under her clear-eyed gaze with helpful results. And when there's nothing left to do, Strong's companionable support is priceless. She is first to point out that her own story is not unusual. It is heartbreaking.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1988
Publisher: Little, Brown