On convalescence

This is not good writing. It set out with good intentions but then I got tired. Also because I can’t sustain energy it’s been written in instalments at times when I had different things to say. Read it or don’t read it, but please don’t judge.

I rather hope that what I’m doing now can more correctly be called convalescing than anything else, although that’s based on my feelings rather than any medical opinion (medical opinion being mostly unsure as to what’s going on with me).

I apologise for being less than present in terms of commenting and responding to comments. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your well wishes, because I really do, and it doesn’t mean I’m not reading your posts, because I am. But everything is exhausting and that certainly includes navigating the quirks of a mobile interface and strong-arming a touch-screen into publishing the words I want, not the ones it thinks I might mean. (This post is bought to you by Mr S’s tablet (which is bigger than mine) and his lovely solid keyboard and case combining the two into a pseudo-laptop.)

Asides aside, to return to my point…

Society doesn’t seem to get convalescing these days. Classic novels are full of rest cures by the sea, nourishing broths and jellies and tisanes. But these days? One is expected to be either all out sick or back in the thick of things. Or possibly both.

I suppose to a certain extent there’s a socio-economic factor here; a Jane Austen heroine has no pressure to go back to work after all, and the grooms were already exercising her horses, so no pressure there either.

I suppose the niggling disquiet that’s prompting this post contains the following features

  • I have no time scale for when I will be well enough to return to my usual energetic and tiring life
  • Until someone can tell me what’s wrong I harbour the fear that someone somewhere thinks I’m a) faking it b) imagining it
  • None of my limbs are dropping off, I am not passing out and not infected or puking, so by my usual yardsticks I am not physically ill … but there is something physically wrong preventing me from being well. So there’s a hole in my logic, which always upsets me
  • Because I don’t have a diagnosis I don’t know what I should be doing. Should I try to go for a walk or is that detrimental? So I’m learning by doing and it feels like any exercise no matter how gentle is detrimental to my well being. But then I feel like I’m not trying to get well.

But on a more positive note I’m so grateful for my tablet and smartphone. Having a tiny lightweight portal to the outside world is invaluable. I have the whole of the internet at my fingertips without even having to sit up. I can draw on it without needing to locate drawing materials. I can read without having to hold up a book and keep the page open. I can while away the hours with casual gaming, such as aquarium simulators that make no demands on me, and I’ve begun to keep a health diary in it so that next time a doctor asks how long I’ve been having symptom X I’ll have some reference points.

I cannot imagine convalescing without television and portable internet access. Honestly it’s no wonder our predecessors went to the sea for a rest cure – they must have been so sick of the confines of their homes, without the view onto the outside world that our screens offer. But were I an upper class literary heroine I’d ask for blankets and a supportive chair to be taken out to the front of the house where I could watch my horses be trotted up in hand for my entertainment by my grooms. Perhaps the next day I’d have the head boy ride them in front of me to show me their paces. But you know what? I’ll settle for watching another dressage video on YouTube.

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7 thoughts on “On convalescence

  1. Oh no I am so sorry to hear that! I hope you figure out things soon and can get back to normal life. Until then, enjoy your rest time almost by the sea 😉

  2. Julie x says:

    Get well soon, but don’t rush it. You don’t want to make yourself worse. Miss you!x

  3. Liz at Libro says:

    Well done for taking it seriously and looking after yourself. And that’s an interesting point about the rest cure. I was just looking at my terrible pottery painting effort and remembering the lovely riding we did on your hen day and how that led to you ending up with Drifter! Get well soon.

  4. The Lite Rider says:

    Hoping you will be feeling better very soon. Sending good thoughts your way. We’ll be watching dressage vids on YouTube together!

  5. You have no idea how much this post speaks to me. I too am “ill” (numerous issues that just stink).
    I have good days, even weeks, when I am able to ride, although never pain free. When I read your description of how people perceive your illness as “faking or not trying hard enough to get well,” it resonates with me in a very personal way.
    Thank God for these little devices we hold in our hands that keep our souls connected to a world where our hearts are very present.
    Thank you for being so brave to share your experiences. I for one, feel so fortunate to have the privilege of learning about your journey.
    Write On my friend.
    Cheers!
    Sabrena

    • Sparrowgrass says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I think one of the great powers of the blogosphere is that whatever life is throwing at you, someone somewhere is probably writing about it and making you feel less alone about it when you discover their words. I’ve often been on the receiving end of that magic so it’s good to know you felt it too 🙂

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