Nursing Book Club
Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour
Portrait of a difficult patient
There is an entire genre of literature about the experience of illness in which the author seeks to understand and explain the disease to themselves and to others. As a nurse who has a belief in holistic medicine, I’m always fascinated by what these writers have to say to us.
It was to that end that I read Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour. The author is critically acclaimed for her novels, short stories and essays and has been published in Elle, The New Yorker, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. She’s had a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and taught at Ivy League schools.
All this is to say that her writing has been well-received by other writers. Personally, however, I don’t know what to make of her latest book.
Khakpour’s disease, which is detailed in the book’s last chapters, is chronic, late-stage Lyme disease, which she assures the reader is a CDC-diagnosed case. If you aren’t familiar with Lyme disease, this last point is important because the clinical criteria for diagnosis are very specific. The number of people who think they have late-stage Lyme disease is considerably greater than the ones who have been formally diagnosed with it.