In the summer of 2001, I had the next 15-20 years of my life mapped out. I was happily back in the classroom at U.C. Davis School of Law after six years as its dean of students. I’d travel to visit my grown children and my new granddaughter. I’d attend Buddhist meditation retreats as I’d been doing for 10 years.
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.