Effective Convalescence

by Eric Chaet

You may die
before you suffer illness or injury
or before you recover from your current illness or injury—
in which cases, you won’t have to master convalescence.

But in case you live a while yet
it’s likely that you’ll suffer illness or injury eventually
&, then, it’s best not to cast your convalescence
to fate or to professionals—
fate is not your enemy, but it’s not your friend, either
& professionals may or may not be very helpful.

Some are highly intelligent, some aren’t.
Some are among the most caring of people, some aren’t.
They don’t all know everything from all the courses
they took in medical school, tho they passed their tests, then—
&, besides, they’re harried by government & insurance companies
& by equally harried bosses, & families
& driven mad by flagrant & subtle advertising & other propaganda
& they have the usual sets of problems & their own problems, too
& a lot of other patients, & just so much patience.

They may find your personality unworthy of respectful attention.
You won’t have time to adjust the way you present yourself.

It’s likely you’ll need to recuperate
& it’s best to do it more effectively, not less—
you don’t want to succumb, do you?

There’s no shame in retreat—retreat isn’t surrender.
George Washington & the continental army retreated—
they avoided battle, trained, & eventually defeated their enemy.
Likewise the Russian army retreated
before Napoleon’s advancing great army—til it froze to death.

You plan your convalescence as best you can
from your position of never having gone thru it yet
& put your plan into operation.

You’ll have to make adjustments:
it’s unlikely to glide along a straight line
or smooth exponential curve
to complete recovery of health & strength—
it’s likely that your convalescence will suffer setbacks, too.

Seeking out the best information you can
from family, friends, professionals, & doing your own research
you plan & put your plan into operation.

It’s like anything else & it’s part of everything else.

You refine what you’re doing as you’re doing it
& integrate it with everything else you’re doing
& with everything else that is, & everything going on.

You integrate it with your self-care skills & routines—
you refine them, too—
& with maintenance of equipment you depend on
& you refine the maintenance, too.

Nothing from before was good enough—look where it led:
you re-evaluate relationships, assumptions, accounts—
what you thought you knew of the history of all times & places
& what’s knowable about life before history & the cosmos
& the sciences, the discoveries & the methods of finding
the patterns in the midst of what seems without pattern—
all the great ideas you’ve absorbed, are they true?—
& all the ideas & customs you’ve rejected, are they wrong?

Whatever else you don’t have, you have time, however bitter—
with pain, recurring distraction, incapacity—it’s a resource.

You integrate the convalescence, refining, planning, & execution
with the execution of what you always or recently hoped to achieve
if, now, those hopes seem realistic & high priority.
Maybe now other hopes seem more realistic, of higher priority.
It’s all part of your convalescence plan
tho the medical professionals took no courses in it
& it applies to no one else but you, exactly—
there’s no longer any doubt that you’re unique—
& to fate you’re just another living macromolecule.

So that you emerge more righteous, realistic, focused, & effective
than when you were immersed in your suffering, & blocked
from making whatever progress you would have made otherwise
at the pace you would have made it—
before re-evaluating everything, & planning
& putting your plan—always adjusting it to reality—into effect
& becoming more & more effective at convalescing.

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