I turned on National Public Radio while I was driving home late one night this week, and happened to tune in as an announcer was introducing the actress Linda Lavin to a live audience. Ms Lavin was about to read a story called “Silver Water,” written by Amy Bloom. The announcer promised that the story of a family with 2 sisters, one of whom has schizophrenia, would be a heart-wrenching combination of hilarity and sorrow. I listened – spellbound and repeatedly in tears – as I drove up the New England Thruway, transported to Texas where the story takes place. That announcer wasn’t kidding.
If you’ve practiced psychiatry for a while, you’ve probably cared for a number of patients like Rose. But if you listen to Rose’s story, as told by her sister, you’ll hear about schizophrenia from the perspective of loving, brave, patient, and stoic family members who cope with the effects of this illness every day of their lives. And you’ll hear (if you didn’t already know) how vital a good psychiatrist is to these patients and their loved ones.
Oh yes . . . the tale is fiction, but many of its elements (eg, battling with insurance companies) are all too real. Surely life for those with schizophrenia isn't this hard. . . and outcomes these days are much better than the one Ms Lavin describes so poignantly. Isn't that right?
We have permission from the Selected Shorts program to post the link to their podcast; however, Selected Shorts only posts the recording for 5 weeks. I hope you’ll get a chance to listen in. You can access the podcast by clicking this link.
PS: There are 2 wonderful stories in this podcast: to listen to Silver Water, start about at the 28:00 minute point.