this might be an interesting read, the author's blog is at: http://www.powells.com/blog/?p=25951#more-25951 Excerpt: "Suddenly, everything changed. In May 2001, I got sick with what doctors diagnosed as an acute viral infection. I have yet to recover. It has left me mostly house-bound and often bed-bound. Unexpectedly and without warning, I became part of the parallel universe of the chronically ill. Millions of people in this country suffer from chronic illnesses and other disabling conditions. This population is largely invisible to others. Before I got sick, it was invisible to me too. One reason this parallel universe is largely invisible is that many people with chronic illnesses, even those that are life-threatening, don't look sick. Let me qualify that. The people who are with us all the time know we are sick — they see those subtle differences in our demeanor when our symptoms intensify. We have a lot in common in our parallel universe. We often think it's our fault we got sick — as if it's a personal failing on our part. We feel that we've let our family and friends down (in the early years of my illness, I would sob to my husband, "I've ruined your life"). We get frustrated by people's lack of understanding about chronic illness. We share that dilemma of how to "present" to the world: Do we spruce ourselves up to try to look our best (and risk people thinking we're well enough to do anything), or do we let our physical demeanor reflect how sick we really are (and risk feeling guilty that we're not doing enough to lift our spirits)? ...Living with chronic illness can feel like a full-time job — a job for which we didn't train and often are ill-equipped to perform.... ...It took several years (and many tears) to learn how to thrive in this parallel universe. I still have rough days when I wish I could do whatever I wanted (although, in reality, who can do that?). But, on the whole, I'm content and at peace with what I can do and how I can contribute, even if from the bed." ÷ ÷ ÷ (author) Toni Bernhard received a J.D. from the School of Law at the University of California, Davis, and immediately joined the faculty where she stayed until chronic illness forced her to retire. During her twenty-two years on the faculty, she served for six years as Dean of Students. In 1992, she began to study and practice Buddhism. She lives in Davis with her husband, Tony, and their hound dog, Rusty, and can be found online at HowToBeSick.com"