BORROWING TIME: Growing Up with Juvenile Diabetes by Pat Covelli

BORROWING TIME: Growing Up with Juvenile Diabetes

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Pat Covelli is a 25-year-old almost-writer. He has also had diabetes since the age of ten. Juvenile onset diabetes is the more severe form of this little understood disease. To survive, patients need daily doses of insulin; current average life expectancy after onset is some 18 years. Corelli thus lives with the constant threat of death--or of blindness, impotence, stroke (or other cardiovascular complications), pain, infection, amputation. And he lives with a constant dual vi. sion: of disease-caused disruptions in his feeling and thinking; and of the deleterious effect of ordinary emotions--fear, frustration, anger--on the course of the disease. All this he describes eloquently and vividly, if sometimes repetitively (and, occasionally, with twinges of self-pity). Particularly moving are Covelli's childhood recollections: the Catholic upbringing, the death of diabetic relatives, the school and camp experiences. He also describes his attempts at denial and defiance of the disease, attempts which led to such self-destructive behavior as drinking or staying up to all hours and postponing meals. Away at Boston University, Corelli was accepted into John Cheerer's writing seminar; and now married and a father, he continues to write fiction--aware, always, of his uncertain fate. Not surprisingly, he has harsh things to say about some of the popular doctor-written books on diabetes, decrying their earnest pep-talks and blithe statements about leading a normal life. He has conveyed his feelings well and truly, and his book should be valuable to patients and their families faced not only with diabetes but with any chronic degenerative disorder.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1979
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell