Convalescence

After several days of procrastination,  my ‘apology’ for a real Christmas cake is finally in the oven, baking gently and moderately. That done, I can now take time to celebrate my mother’s homecoming from hospital which happened this past Saturday morning. And what a cause for celebration that is. The past few weeks have been full of pain and struggle but, at last, thanks to the loving care of my sister and brother, she is home again; home to convalesce.

To convalesce ; to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness; to spend time healing; to grow strong….no busying and  bending to a hospital routine; no poking and prodding and monitoring and measuring; no scrutiny from doctors and students and x-ray machines; only rest, deep rest,

How to rest and recuperate

How to rest and recuperate

food that pleases, gentle movement, and time, to heal the pain and weariness ; that is ‘to convalesce’, from latin, valeo, be well.

Convalescence, a forgotten way of life, perhaps, in a world that constantly sells us the idea  of eternal wellness and vigour  and exhorts us to either be healthy or healthier; that urges us to grasp ease without acknowledging dis-ease; that disallows our physical and spiritual need for times of frailty, by plying us with pills and potions and remedies for a  rapid ‘cure’.

In older times, when illness, and home-based care of it, were more commonplace, recipe  and household books often had sections  with special dishes for invalids or occupants of the sick room. It’s hard to imagine someone like Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay producing a  best seller containing  recipes for the ‘InValid’, but our best-selling New Zealand   Edmonds Cookery Book used to offer helpful hints like this…

Needing validation; here's a hint.

Needing validation; here’s a hint.

And our famous  Nurse Maude, founder of our community nursing service, suggested, in her book, oatmeal drinks and gruel for the patient’s sustenance.

I am not sure how well I would do on Nurse Maude’s diet but  I would love a tray, such as this one,  to arrive, in the early light,  at my place of convalescence. Fresh flowers from the morning garden, blackcurrants from the home bush, creamy yogurt and strawberries, to nourish the body, and  blessings and calm to nurture  the soul.

A tray for being well

A tray for being well

What more could a patient ask for..oh, just one thing….a moment of grace read to me from one of the most beautifully photographed books of my  childhood world,  A Child’s Grace by  Constance Bannister.

Grace of a Child

Grace of a Child

Amen. Amen.

© silkannthreades

Advertisements

81 thoughts on “Convalescence

  1. lagottocattleya

    How wonderful that your mother is back – and what a lovely post! You always bring out good things and lovely memories in your writings. And, a tray like that – who wouldn’t want it? I believe everybody needs convalesence and recovery. A kind of retreat to gather strength.

    Reply
  2. jaggh53163

    Gallivanta – There have been a couple of times in my life when I have had to convalesce and I must admit, I enjoyed them. Lots of time to read and do puzzles, and NAP !! That was the best part. I’m actually looking forward to getting my knees replaced so I can remove myself from the world for a spell and just take care of me !!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think I would have enjoyed my last convalescence if I hadn’t had to do the painful exercises but it’s lovely when we can concentrate on the ‘just me’.

      Reply
  3. Mrs. P

    Oh…I do prefer your way of convalescing to those in times of past. I am certain I would have brightened up right away.

    Reply
  4. Virginia Duran

    So happy to read that your mother is back now. I really hope the healing works well but you’re doing a great job, love the tray, the book and the food. Any person would just cheer up seeing so much love put into each detail. Hugs for both 🙂

    Reply
  5. tiny lessons blog

    Lovely post! It’s wonderful to hear that your mother is now convalescing at home! The hospital routine is hard work in it self, one can never truly rest. I wish her good days and better days with lots of rest and comforting trays of whatever she likes to have.

    Reply
  6. mmmarzipan

    Such a beautiful, thoughtful post! I truly hope your mother has a peaceful convalescence! Very glad she is home and has such a supportive and kind family around her.
    And I would like a tray like that on any given day 🙂

    Reply
      1. mmmarzipan

        that sounds AMAZING!!! so sweet of you! and if you ever visit Sweden you are welcome here too! we have an apartment (so not as luxurious 😉 ), but it’s warm, welcoming and in a great part of town :)… and I can make you a nice Swedish breakfast!

        Reply
  7. teamgloria

    Oh!

    So many thoughts here……

    Jumble of them (it’s 6.19AM in san diego and we drove for miles from the hotel to find a diner open with hot coffee….)

    Here goes – welcome home dear mother-of-gallivanta, posy, invalid, a tray with john o’donohue (wept when he died – his voice soothed us through medical leave via audiobooks even when he had passed onto the next world), oatmeal, gruel!, quiet, latin root -etymology and meaning, cats basking in the sunlight. …

    In peace. Wishing healing in your house while the oven bakes a cake.

    *wavingfromsoutherncalifornia*

    -tg x

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Feeling the peace and the healing…and the coffee smells good. Thanks tg. If I had John O’Donohue on audiobooks I would be lost to the world forever.

      Reply
  8. womanseyeview

    I too would love to receive that tray you created, convalescing or not, it would make me feel spoiled. The bouquet, vase, book and embroidery are so intoxicatingly mixed and matched. Lovely to read an upbeat post that so clearly picks up on your lightened mood at your mother’s recovery.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It was a pleasure to arrange the tray. So many little treasures were placed upon it. Unfortunately, my mother lives too far away for me to be able to deliver it to her.

      Reply
  9. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    I love how you find meaning in the words beyond the obvious meaning. I hope your mother gets well soon. have you found a good dietician for her?
    *sending best wishes*

    Reply
  10. cindy knoke

    “Convalescence, a forgotten way of life, perhaps, in a world that constantly sells us the idea of eternal wellness and vigor.”
    This post reminds me of Thomas Mann’s, “The Magic Mountain.”
    I read it so long ago, but it has stayed with me.
    Forever.
    Remember, the fortunate/unfortunates went the the Magic Mountain for convalescence, to die really, up there in the Alps, with TB.
    I envied them somewhat.
    First they were in The Alps.
    Secondly they were there to convalesce, and people were there to help them.
    Completely foreign concepts in our day and age.
    Hugs to you and to your mother.
    I understand she ran a good school for you children in Figi.
    How cool is that?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      She was a wonderful teacher 🙂 I can’t recall reading The Magic Mountain so I expect I haven’t read it. Sounds like the sort of book that is unforgettable. I do remember reading Heidi 🙂 which was about fresh mountain air and recuperation!

      Reply
  11. ordinarygood

    What a timely post this is for me. Thank you so much. I have soaked it all up. I hope your Mum is feeling comfy and rested in her familiar surroundings as well as having some of the useful equipment items that hospitals sometimes offer – rails by the loo, a shower chair, an easy chair to get in and out of. I hope the lovely wafts of a Christmas cake a-cooking offered you some ease and comfort too? Don’t cats show us how to deeply rest and relax?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I thought it would be timely for you 🙂 So I am glad you were able to enjoy the special tray too. I think my sister’s house is bursting at the seams with all the equipment Mum has acquired; barely room now to swing a cat. In fact, my sister caught her cats testing out their claws on my Mum’s new recliner chair. My sister was not amused but I suppose the cats were only deciding what to do with this new object in their living quarters. Hope your Jazz is giving sleeping lessons on your lap 🙂

      Reply
  12. Sheryl

    It’s good to hear that your mother is out of the hospital. I always enjoy reading the “cooking for invalids” section of old cookbooks. And, I really enjoyed the warm, caring mood conveyed by your description of convalescence. If I was ill, the lovely tray you created would make me feel better.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Sheryl. And I would love to see some of those invalid sections. I am curious to know if the food and advice are much the same as that given here in the Southern Hemisphere.

      Reply
  13. Letizia

    I’m so happy to hear your mother is better! I love that in the guidelines, they insist on “the most attractive china and linen” – I wholeheartedly agree that these cheer one up and should not be used only for grand occasions.

    Reply
  14. YellowCable

    I am glad to hear your mother came home to convalesce. Your welcome home tray, the dish are and all peace items are so delightful. I hope your mother recover soon.

    Reply
  15. Juliet

    I felt really moved, seeing the love that has gone into the setting up of the tray. If I were convalescing, seeing the tray would feed my soul. Your mother is so lucky to have this loving care. And thank you for A Child’s Grace – this was part of my childhood, but I had quite forgotten it. I loved this book.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am so thrilled to know that you read A Child’s Grace too. It was a prize or graduation gift to my mother on completion of her kindergarten training. She still has the book and I often think of it. It would be too heavy for her to hold at the moment but ,perhaps, it could be displayed in something like a cookbook holder and a page turned every day for her. I am not convalescing but I have books opened like that all over the house 🙂

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, I imagine it would be quite hard to find. I was surprised to see it was available on Amazon although I shouldn’t be surprised; Amazon seems to have everything. It would be a lovely book to share with your granddaughter, wouldn’t it?

  16. Forest So Green

    What good news that your mother is back home! I love the food advice for Invalids. And the flowers and beautiful table.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Good news indeed. One of the small things that the list doesn’t say is that often the carer is too busy to think about a nice table for the invalid. However the act of preparing the tray would probably be as beneficial to the carer as the cared-for.

      Reply
  17. Katrina Lester

    I loved this post on convalescence. It has always intrigued me that in the ‘old days’ people took to their beds sometimes for 20 years, there to languish and be looked after as ‘invalids’. What was wrong with them, I have often thought. There seems little space in our frenzied modern lives to take to our beds for long at all, even if we feel we need it. We are geared to be healthy and productive and somehow if we fall short, it is our own fault. But, inevitably, at some points in our lives we all confront disease, something wrong with our bodies, and we need to take the time to admit it and pay attention to what we need – time to convalesce. But we also need that vital person or persons to administer to those needs, do the cooking and prepare the beautifully presented tray. Not all of us have such persons to hand. It sounds as if your mother has such persons around her who will greatly contribute to a successful convalescence.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I agree; it is an intriguing issue and some of the invalids, despite their in valid state, produced some remarkable literature. Recently I read a book called ‘The Woman who went to Bed for a Year” by Sue Townsend. It is a tongue-in-cheek take on a modern woman’s overwhelming desire to go to bed and not get up again; at least for a year. It was quite amusing but, to my mind, there was no entirely satisfactory explanation for the woman’s actions. And, you are absolutely right about the need for a vital person to administer to the convalescent. I read somewhere that it takes about 5 people to fully care for one unwell person. That statistic doesn’t bode well for our ageing population.

      Reply
  18. gpcox

    Excellent advice and wonderful photos. I finally got thru the video you sent and although I thanked you on my site – I want to also do so on yours!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      So glad you saw the video. I am now wondering if ,sub-consciously, that video prompted me to think about ‘healing’ and time to heal and convalesce.

      Reply
  19. Coulda shoulda woulda

    Interesting that this basic concept is forgotten by national health services, they serve atrocious food served up like patients were in a prison instead of a hospital. I think energy and one. Ourse at at time is so simple yet so effective…I wish these simple things were implemented.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Wouldn’t it be good? One of the reasons we were anxious to get my mother home again was because she was struggling with the public hospital food. It was adequate and nutritionally correct but not enticing to her.

      Reply
  20. KerryCan

    This is wonderful news–I think just being home will boost your mom, but the sustained rest and pampering will help, too. I found your exploration of the concept of convalescing very interesting and I think we could learn a lot from cats!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Cats are great thinkers and teachers! Our little cat, from time to time, involves herself in territorial disputes and comes home with a torn ear or some similar wound. Ghastly as it looks, I leave her be; she licks her wounds and sleeps deeply in the sun or a warm, sheltered spot and she heals herself very well. Quite remarkable how she recovers. I am loathe to take her to the vet in case suddenly giving her anti-biotics in these her elderly years, reduces her natural immunity.

      Reply
  21. ladysighs

    I am glad to read about your mother. I have been in the hospital a couple of times and am always so happy to be back in my own home and in my own bed. I may not get meals on a tray with a flower in a vase…lol…but seeing familiar surroundings and hearing familiar sounds is very comforting. The sound of the furnace clicking on, the neighbor’s noisy truck, the tick of the clock and the ring of the phone can all help a recovery.

    Oh and a home cooked meal instead of hospital food is a blessing too. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Funnily enough, I am remembering that the one time in recent years that I was in hospital I didn’t want to come home; the facilities in my private room were so delightful as was the view across the city and, then, there were all those nurses giving me happy pain killers and helping me about….it was luxury after months of pain. Eventually I was ‘kicked’ out and, of course, I did enjoy my own bed and the tick of the clock 🙂

      Reply
  22. angesco

    I think a cookbook for convalescents is a GREAT idea! I will take it to our Murdoch colleagues. I do remember that special section in the Edmonds Book. I have been cooking for the convalescent today – meals that can be frozen for Scott to take up so that evening prep can be a bit simpler on a few nights – assuming I haven’t made anything too spicy of course :=) It was fun to see the lemon barley water recipe in your blog, as one of the dishes I made is a lamb and barley stew. It’s quite a messy event as of course the nice stewing lamb that’s going to be tender is a little bit fatty so I ‘double dip’ the juices – pouring them off, cooling and then popping into the freezer for a bit until the fat sets so I can remove it (quite a substantial layer!) before putting the lovely jelly underneath it back into the stew pot. And as I chucked the kitchen-towel-wrapped ‘drippings’ into the bin I recalled my Dad saying what a treat that was when he was a kid – a bit of bread and dripping. Butter never come close in his book! xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I love barley; stew, soup, water. It is fortifying and satisfying. And I remember when I was young persuading Mum to let me try bread and dripping because she used to talk about eating it (and liking it) when she was young. I thought it was rather tasty 🙂 Don’t think she would want it now, convalescent or not. As you know, it’s ever so hard to tempt the appetite of the invalid or the elderly patient….there probably is scope for a beautiful, useful book on the subject.

      Reply
  23. aleafinspringtime

    Wonderful news with your mother coming home! And even better to know that she is in very good hands at home being nursed to perfect, wholesome health. I love the word and the healing imagery of convalescence. The peace, beauty and quiet rest – just the very ingredients the body needs to restore itself. And I delight in the Edmonds Cookery Book which lists tips when serving food to invalids. Such care to detail and a treat for the eyes. Oh I can see your mum will be pampered to wellness! Take care. Sending you peace and rest this season. Sharon

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I love the peace and rest you send to me. It is exactly what I need to sustain me through this Christmas season. May you have peace and rest too and lots of special time with your little boy.

      Reply
  24. Travelling Kiwi

    How lovely that your dear mama is coming home. Home is the nicest place – a place of comfort and serenity that accepts us as we are and allows us to just be ourselves. As Dorothy said “There’s no place like home”
    Your post is very timely for me, as I have been tossing up in my mind whether I am well enough to go to work tomorrow: Yes, probably; or whether I should stay home and rest, and give that cough and sore throat a chance to pack their bags and go – again: Yes, probably. After reading your wise post, I am tending to the latter, so Out, guilt – begone!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Guilt be gone. Stay home and treasure your own company and and prepare a beautiful tray as per Mr Edmonds. The bugs will soon get bored of trying to torment you as you remain calm and unruffled 🙂

      Reply
  25. Just Add Attitude

    I am pleased to hear that your mother is now home from hospital and I hope that her period of convalescence restores her spirit. It’s so true what you say about convalescence being a ‘forgotten art’ which is sad as rest is often what a body craves. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Given her age, her convalescence may be long ( and sometimes boring) but it is the only thing that will restore well being. Yes, we, somehow, no longer have time for convalescence, for sustained rest….something to do with economics/finances perhaps?

      Reply
  26. Clanmother

    You are truly a wealth of information! I learn something every time I stop by for a visit. I agree – we are surrounded by the message that if we are ill, that we have somehow neglected our responsibility to be healthy. I especially liked your thought “exhorts us to either be healthy or healthier; that urges us to grasp ease without acknowledging dis-ease;” My mother, who is in her eighties, said over coffee the other day. You can exercise, eat all the right things, take vitamins, think “happy thoughts” but our bodies, in this existence, are programmed to age. And that is quite all right, As William Shakespeare once wrote,“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your mother is wise and I am sure has the most delightful wrinkles 🙂 We are programmed to age and I think we will age a great deal faster than we ought if we forget that illness/ being unwell sometimes is a part of life. Having said that, I must admit I hate to have a cold or the flu and will do almost anything not to have them!!!!!!!!!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s