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date: 10 December 2018


  1. I know the colour rose, and it is lovely,
    But not when it ripens in a tumour;
    And healing greens, leaves and grass, so springlike,
    In limbs that fester are not springlike.
    Dannie Abse 1923–2014 Welsh-born doctor and poet: ‘Pathology of Colours’ (1968)
  2. A man's illness is his private territory and, no matter how much he loves you and how close you are, you stay an outsider. You are healthy.
    Lauren Bacall 1924–2014 American actress: Lauren Bacall by Myself (1978)
  3. ‘Ye can call it influenza if ye like,’ said Mrs Machin. ‘There was no influenza in my young days. We called a cold a cold.’
    Arnold Bennett 1867–1931 English novelist: The Card (1911) ch. 8
  4. All diseases run into one, old age.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803–82 American philosopher and poet: Journals, 1840
  5. It's all about losing your brain without losing your mind.
    on his fight against Parkinson's disease
    Michael J. Fox 1961–  Canadian actor: in Times 16 September 2000
  6. When two pains occur together, but not in the same place, the more violent obscures the other.
    Hippocrates c.460–357 bc Greek physician: Aphorisms sect 2, no 46
  7. It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form.
    Jerome K. Jerome 1859–1927 English writer: Three Men in a Boat (1889) ch. 1
  8. Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.
    Marcel Proust 1871–1922 French novelist: Sodome et Gomorrhe (Cities of the Plain, 1922) vol. 1, pt. 2, ch. 1, tr. C. K. Scott-Moncrieff and S. Hudson, rev. T. Kilmartin
  9. You matter because you are you, and you matter to the last moment of your life. We will do all that we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.
    Cicely Saunders 1916–2005 English nurse and physician: quoted in Robert Twycross ‘A Tribute to Dame Cicely Saunders’, Memorial Service, 8 March 2006
  10. I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes illness worth while.
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Back to Methuselah (1921) pt. 2
  11. Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.
    Susan Sontag 1933–2004 American writer: in New York Review of Books 26 January 1978
  12. The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody.
    Mother Teresa 1910–97 Roman Catholic nun and missionary, born in what is now Macedonia of Albanian parentage: in The Observer 3 October 1971