Mainstay: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill

Maggie Strong, Author Little Brown and Company $17.95 (323p) ISBN 978-0-316-81923-7
Aptly titled, this is at once an affecting personal yet practical and specific guide for the well spouse of a chronically ill mate. The author has for the past 10 years cared for her husband, who suffers the degenerative neuromuscular disorder multiple sclerosis. Simultaneously she has raised a son and daughter; been responsible for the family's financial survival; educated herself about support groups and therapies, disability pensions, insurance policies and programs available to those in her family's situation. Strong and her husband were a Manhattan career coupleshe a freelance writer, he a book editorwhen Ted's disease was diagnosed, and the now ""downwardly mobile family'' moved to a less-costly rural area of Massachusetts. The author writes of her loneliness, oppressive responsibilities, fatigue: ``The very sick give commands just by lying paralyzed in their beds.'' Relating her own experiences, she advises the well spouse not to play Mama/Papa to an ailing mate to excess, not to be subordinated to the patient's needs, not to become the captive one. This articulate, questing spouse risks censure for such candor, but those in a similar plight will recognize Strong as a spokesperson who gives voice to their mourning, anger, valor and committed love. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-011978-7
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