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Book Review: In the Kingdom of the Sick

April 1st, 2013 · No Comments

Chronic illness is hard for patients to come to terms with. Something that will not get better with a quick diagnosis and easy treatment. As well, chronic illness is hard for people in our society to understand if they haven’t been there. “The fact that you’re just not going to get better seems unbelievable to most people. There must be something you can do that you aren’t doing! Eating raw foods, forcing yourself to exercise, thinking your way out of it, trying the latest drugs…. If you’re not better, then you’re not working hard enough.”

Laurie Edwards‘ new book, In the Kingdom of the Sick, explores many facets of chronic illness. It’s a book full of facts and insightful analysis, as well as patient stories which are interesting, heartbreaking and hopeful.


Chapters include:

  • how chronic illness fits into the history of disease and medical advancement
  • how disability rights and civil rights have affected the treatment of chronic illness
  • gender and illness, focusing on diseases affecting women, such as pain
  • the (mostly) good benefits of patient advocacy and “participatory medicine’

The book has a significant focus on pain. I would highly recommend it as an informative, interesting read. Many of the people quoted in the book are my online friends and colleagues, as well as people I’ve met at pain conferences. I respect them so much for their wisdom, personal sharing and patient advocacy. As I finished the book, I had the image of Laurie as a master orchestra conductor. Laurie was able to lead all of us in creating a beautiful whole. A few notes of piano are nice, as are a violin melody. But taken together, a symphony can be moving and inspiring. That’s what Laurie’s work is too! For more, see Laurie Edwards’ website.

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