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Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness
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Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  11 reviews
When someone is diagnosed with a serious illness, he or she is taking the first step on a challenging and confusing journey. For many, it is as if they are traveling alone to someplace entirely new, with only faded directions back to their old lives. Often, even their loved ones can only guess at what they must be experiencing. Michael Stein, M.D., uses the stories of his ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2007)
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Jessica Rae
May 05, 2010 Jessica Rae rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Illness sufferers; Anyone who loves one of them
Shelves: theory
I'm only halfway through this book, but here's what I can say at this point:

Stein's objective is to represent the experience of illness from the perspective of the sufferer. His notion of illness revolves around the common metaphor that illness is a journey into foreign territory. Stein emphasizes the importance of the patient's narrating her illness as a means of discovery, and a process by which she can find empowerment, psychic release, and (sometimes) pain-relief. Simultaneously, Stein recog
I read this book shortly after undergoing brain surgery. Although I have been chronically ill for some time, it helped me better come to terms with the fact that challenges associated with serious illness are not purely physical. Indeed, we are also often stripped of our career and social ranks, and are left desperately searching for a new identity with a perception on life that becomes almost unrecognizable. The author of this book carefully takes us through this emotional journey, breaking it ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Feb 10, 2009 Bryan Kibbe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: health care practictioners, bioethicists
Michael Stein brings a physician's insight and a storyteller's craft to this insightful account of human illness. While physiological accounts of human pain are relatively easy to come by, genuine insight into the meaning of illness and the existential suffering often associated with it is more difficult to find. The Lonely Patient offers a careful and engaging consideration of the emotions that a patient must come to terms with following a significant medical diagnosis of disease or sickness. P ...more
Stein describes four feelings experienced by ill people: betrayal, terror, loneliness and loss. He uses case stories from his own experience as a doctor and also includes the story of his brother-in-law who died of cancer. It was an interesting book for me, and Stein has such a compassionate voice. However, I think it is a book really meant for a specific audience, for those who are dealing with illness, whether as a doctor, patient or caregiver. I feel that more could have been said on how best ...more
Dec 05, 2007 Daisy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: caregivers, doctors, health-impaired
I'm not sure this book will be of any interest to most people but if the reader has any experience with a long-term, unexplained or serious illness it's right on the money. The Lonely Patient explores the universality of the illness experience but by using personal stories doesn't become pedantic. It was re-assuring to read that a doctor considered doctors to be dismissive of pain patients, frightened patients, disfigured patients and patients who don't respond as expected. If only it were requi ...more
I think all doctors should read this book. All med students and residents should pick up a copy. It's a lot cheaper than a textbook, too. Perhaps if more doctors read this book there would be more empathy for the patients who have a life-threatening or terminal or chronic illness. Sadly, I have known few who have taken the time to listen to what I am feeling about the diagnosis, emotion wise. They are all to eager to discuss physical symptoms, but let's leave the metaphorical heart out of it. So ...more
I liked it enough to read the whole thing. That being said, I don't think this book is for everyone. It has some good insights and makes interesting points that would be good for all of us to know. While insights can be good, unfortunately this book isn't practical enough to appeal to the utilitarian in me nor is it scientific or research-based in a way that appeals to the nerd in me.
To be particularly honest, I was sadly unimpressed with this book. What could have been an emotionally overflowing and moving book was written like a high school essay, including the obligatory dictionary definitions of important words and obscure quotes from books no reader would know.

Do not recommend. Apologies to my mentor, who recommended this book to me. Grrr....
Clinical Health Care Ethics Phil 472
Ok, I understand where the author is coming from,b ut I've read better books. And books that didn't assume and tell others stories from what the author thinks is their view point. As we say in CPE and chaplaincy, speak from the I perspective
Visceral account of the emotions experienced by an ill person. Telling accounts of people who face extremely difficult prognoses, how they feel defined by their illness and lack of good health, and how they deal with it. Very powerful.
it's a rambling discourse on what it's like to be a patient - betrayed, terrified, at a loss, lonely - by a doctor. flashes of insight, but a little on the touchy-feely hyper-emotional side.
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