Even “healthy” people need time to recover

We get so used to dealing with pain every day, it’s easy to forget what a huge effect an acute incident can have on our health.

It’s easy to see “healthy” people and assume they heal quickly and easily from every malady. I get a “cold” that knocks me on my ass for a full week, with fever, chills, congestion, and plenty of other symptoms. The friend who gave me the cold goes about their regular routine while dealing with the sniffles for a few days. So when I react poorly to a new condition, I always assume someone “healthier” would have healed quickly.

That’s why I was giving myself a hard time this week. The incident involved my own clumsiness, a chef’s knife, a visit to the emergency room, and stitches. The day of the incident was horrible. The pain was horrific. The fear was deep. The next day was much better, but still painful. The day after that I assumed I’d be fine, so I was shocked when I wasn’t. I’m used to dealing with pain, so what was the problem?

A friend reminded me that “healthy” people need time to recover from something like this, so I should give myself time, too. My uncle reminded me of having to care for my aunt (his wife) last year when she had a biopsy in a location similar to where I was cut and spent 3 weeks recovering. And her operation was planned, whereas mine was clearly more physically traumatic. Story after story reminded me that “healthy” people take a while to recover from these things, so I should give myself a break, too.

After 3 days at home, I went out briefly yesterday. It was exhausting, but it felt good to be out and around people. Today, though, I’m resting again. I’m exhausted. I’m in pain. And I know I need a break.

I don’t have to worry about rushing to a job. I have enough food to last me a few more days. Sure, I have things to do. I’d like to cook and do laundry and read and work on a few projects, but I’m giving myself a break. Because if a “healthy” person needs time to recover from something like this, then I need even longer.

How do you handle acute injuries? Do you give yourself recovery time, too?

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