See my review of Falling Off Air.
As Robin Ballantyne´s older sister Lorna suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), this illness is one of the themes of the book. It is not that relevant for the plot, still it made me think.
"Lorna´s room is the most peaceful place I know. That night she had chamber music playing softly and the lights were dimmed. She glanced over as I entered, but she said nothing. She was lying on her bed. By this point in the day she is usually exhausted, but even when she sleeps the quality of her rest is poor.
´You don´t feel like joining us?´ I asked gently. She smiled and shook her head of red curls, gesturing that I should leave her plate on the table by her bed.
´Busy day,´ she said softly. Her voice was a contralto, surprisingly vibrant coming from her weary body.
Often, we would eat together. Once the most sociable of people, Lorna´s instinct was still to seek out human contact even if it drained her of the last ounce of energy, which it always did. A year earlier, when the CFS was at its worst, I´d sometimes had to carry her to bed..."
Of course I was interested, but I can´t say I identified with Lorna. First, my health is so much better that I am able to work part time. Second, I have never felt depressed because of my illness. Crisis and problems in my family may get to me, but while it keeps annoying me that there are many things I cannot do any more, I have been able to look around me, thinking "what can I do then?" [Blog, read and write crime fiction, obviously]
Generally, the description of Lorna seems credible, but it is not my impression that CFS prevents anyone from walking up and down stairs (when they are up and about, I mean). The problem is that a few trips up and down may make you feel you have tried running a marathon without training first for several days.
lørdag den 23. april 2011
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Hummm. I'm not sure this one is for me. I suppose there are degrees of CFS??
Dorte - Thanks for your perspective on this one. I'm not sure this novel is my cuppa, either, but it is really interesting to see how an author depicts something like CFS versus what it's like in real life...
Beth and Margot: but the CFS theme is just a minor thing in the very fine novel I reviewed yesterday. And there are degrees - this sister is severely handicapped while I work part-time.
Sounds like a good book to learn more about CFS.
I'm with you on the health thing. I think it would get me down.
I can relate to the fatigue problem since that's the hardest thing to cope with now that I have COPD. Still, I can't imagine being as divorced from life as this character seems to be.
Thanks for your insightful and thoughtprovoking comment. Not a condition I know a lot about but there does seem to be lots of myths surrounding it - maybes because we largely unaware of its effects?
My sister has CFS. She has to manage her time in a strict manner so she doesn't tire out easily. Having two teenagers doesn't make it easy, but she's a positive person which helps. The book sounds like a good read anyway.
I know many illnesses can present in varying degrees and I certainly don't want to minimize anyone's suffering, however... don't you think sometimes a lot depends on attitude? Or even just in management, as Rosana said.
Harvee: perhaps not so much, but I assume it will make the readers THINK about CFS.
Clarissa: it probably happens to many.
Barbara: I had to check what COPD was. I know that many CFS patients cannot work, but I agree that the woman here seems to be extremely isolated from her former life.
Tracy: you are right about myths, and that was one of the reasons why I chose to mention this side of "Falling Off Air".
Rosana: I think I have more in common with your sister than with Lorna here. Fortunately my children were almost grown-ups when I got ill.
Kelly: as I mentioned, Lorna of Falling Off Air suffers from a depression also, and of course that makes her situation far worse. But I am not suggesting that patients suffer more or less depending on attitude. Though I hope I don´t blog about it very often, I do have days when the couch is the only option so I assume I am just lucky that most of my days are better than that. It´s probably like pregnancies. My first wasn´t too bad, but the third felt like nine years for several reasons.
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