Personal Views

Psoriasis—how we coped

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 22 April 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1076
  1. Susan Weingarten

    Inever knew my grandfather, who came to England from Russia at the turn of the century and settled in the east end of London, working as a doll manufacturer. My mother tells me that he was so ashamed of his psoriasis that he always covered it up with long sleeves and trousers and never exposed it to the benefits of the sun. I do not know if he ever had any treatment. He never smoked or drank any more than the regulation cup of sacramental wine on a Friday night.

    My mother was the only one of his eight children to get psoriasis, although subsequently some of her sisters' children were affected. She reports a childhood of nasty smelling ointments, which didn't work, and coal tar baths. Once she went with her siblings to a local swimming pool, where she planned to take lessons. The instructor took one look at her psoriasis: “You there. Out!” he shouted. She cannot swim to this day. As a miserable adolescent she wore long sleeves and stockings all summer, trying to hide her …

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