The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness

Sarah Ramey. Doubleday, $27.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-385-53407-9
In this illuminating debut memoir, musician Ramey offers an account of a mysterious illness that plagued her for more than a decade, beginning when she was in college in the early 2000s. Ramey recounts years struggling with excruciating pain, at times being unable to rise from bed. She pursued multiple medical treatments, but her pain persisted; when she turned to alternative approaches such as acupuncture and positive thinking, she found some relief, but also what she felt to be a New Age tendency to blame the victim. Though this medical saga is disturbing in the many miscalculations her doctors made, Ramey’s hilarious and upbeat sense of humor lightens even the direst of circumstances (a surgeon who performed the wrong surgery on her is dubbed Dr. Oops, and others merit such glib monikers as Dr. Vulva, Dr. Paxil, and Dr. Bowels). As Ramey relentlessly researched her own ailment, she learned that millions of women with such conditions as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme disease, and other illnesses had also been ignored, mistreated, or belittled by conventional medicine. Ramey was eventually diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome, and here she argues for more compassion among doctors and better treatment, and highlights reasons why some research has trouble securing funding (vaginal diseases, for example, are “too unpalatable for any awareness campaign, too unsexy to start a blog”). Ramey’s uncanny grit and fortitude will deeply inspire the multitudes facing similar issues. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/10/2020
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-385-53408-6
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